Here at Digital Lancashire we work with many members, organisations, and groups across Lancashire. Our members and supporters are the life-blood of what we are trying to achieve.
In the first of our ‘Meet the Member’ moments, we would like to shine our spotlight on Catarina King from Society1.
We recently caught up with Catarina to ask how the team has found opening up their doors as lockdown lifts and gain her insight into what the future in a post pandemic world might look like for Society1 and its patrons.
Society1 is a coworking space in the centre of Preston. We offer flexible working options for a wide variety of individuals and teams from hot desks to dedicated workspace. We offer a range of monthly membership plans starting from £10 where members can use the space in a way to suit individuals needs. We also have meeting rooms, training rooms and event space available to book by members and non members.
At the heart of what we do as a coworking space, is nurturing the community of people we have here. We run lots of support initiatives and events to support our community of over 100 businesses. Events range from socials, workshops, focused learning and online support. Our community has a wonderful spirit of collaboration which has been really apparent over the last few months. The support we offer each other through a friendly chat over a coffee (virtually or now in person) is so valuable to our businesses and wellbeing.
We also host lots of events with our local partners such as Digital Lancashire, Creative Lancashire and Boost. These events are always open to the local businesses community to attend and provide a fantastic platform for our digital and creative community within Lancashire to come together. We are looking forward to getting back to hosting these events too.
We strive to create an environment in which people and their businesses thrive. By supporting a vibrant community of businesses, encouraging collaborations and providing an inspirational space for people to work in we hope to help our community grow their projects what ever they are.
How has reopening the shared workspace been post the lifting of the lockdown restrictions?
It was amazing to be able to open our doors and welcome people back into the space. It has been like returning to school after a long summer break. Catching up and feeling excited to talk in person again and not on a screen.
We are quiet at the moment, but that is to be expected, as people slowly get back to working and start venturing out of the house again. We are hopeful that over the coming months we will return to our pre lockdown buzz. We are just so happy to have the doors open again!
We are lucky that the building is big and there is plenty of space to social distance and feel safe.
What challenges/successes have you found? Were these what you expected?
Our challenges have been similar to others I am sure. Shut down came very quickly and we had to close the doors, and with that comes loss of revenue. We have had to look at finances and do some restructuring but we will get through and we will be back as a vibrant space full of activity as we were before.
We have used the time that we were quiet in June to make some changes to our top floor. We have created two new team spaces each for four people. The look and feel great, perfect for a small team who doesn’t want to be stuck in an office on their own! One of the spaces has already been snapped up by a business who was already working out of Society1, North West Design Collective.
We are hopeful the the shift to a new way of working for many people may bring interest into coworking for some who haven’t thought about it before. It offers a great option for people working at home who would like a change or scenery or a day here or there away from the house. This isn’t just for productivity and business growth but for mental health too. Working at home can be tough and lonely at times.
What’s the mood from people coming back into using a shared workspace?
Everyone is really happy to be back at the ‘office’ and out of the house is the general feedback. Most peoples stories are similar, lockdown was tough on their businesses and was a very scary time. Most are feeling more positive now and are seeing work coming back, some are super busy which is fantastic.
On the whole I would say there is a feeling of hope and optimism that business life will slowly resume and we will find our ‘new normal’ that we so often hear spoken about.
How does Society1 serve the digital & tech community in Preston and beyond?
In the immediate sense we have a beautiful coworking space for people to come and work in an open and creative environment. We have a super fast internet with a gigabyte line to the building which provides a strong and stable connection for everyone. Coworking is more than just infrastructure though. It is about the people who work here and the connections and relationships they make. The conversations over a cup of coffee or at a social are as valuable as opportunity to come in and focus on work.
Our support initiatives such as Skills Scrums provide learning opportunities around relevant business focused topics. They are usually hosted by one of the Society1 community and are always open to non members too.
Our events such as our regular ‘Let’s Talk’ evenings we host in collaboration with Digital Lancashire and Creative Lancashire are aimed to bring the local creative and digital community together for an evening of inspirational conversation. We always have fantastic speakers to get the evening started. They are interactive, no death by power point! We encourage people to ask questions and discuss ideas around topics.
We hope through these things we offer a great platform for members and non members to interact and come together.
How do they see digital impacting Society1 in the future?
The digital economy is going to continue to play an important role in all businesses in the coming years. Businesses experience with COVID over the last few months has no doubt accelerated the focus to digital needs. It is clear that flexible working will stay with us long after we are back to life as we were before shutdown. Businesses and individuals will need to think about how they work, hopefully it will mean that more people will be able to come and experience the benefits of coworking.
For more information about Society1 and how you and your business can benefit using this coworking space contact 01772 428 048 or firstname.lastname@example.org or click below and take advantage of a free day pass – why not!