A Place to Rest Your Laptop

In some dream world, working from home is easy.

Get up early in the morning, park on the sofa, sip cup of coffee after cup of coffee, pound stories into the faithful laptop, wear wool socks and an afghan. The sun pours in the window so that it’s appreciated but not a hindrance to vision. Cookies are baked during brain breaks, and a load of separated laundry is thrown in the wash. Next, taxes are done. Then, a run and 50 pushups before finishing six stories and making dinner.

Okay, that’s my dream world.

The reality is, as Selene Vakharia says, when working from home the tendency is to watch Netflix. If a person is working in public, however, she is less likely to watch Netflix. It’s still possible, but there’s something about a public space that holds those who “work from home” to account.

And that is one of the impetuses behind the move to start a co-working space in Whitehorse.

Co-working spaces aren’t new; they’re big around North America.

The idea to start one in Whitehorse was born, in a way, out of the success of Yukonstruct. Vakharia says people, like Ben Sanders, have been throwing the idea around to start a space like Yukonstruct — except for freelancers, consultants, or entrepreneurs — people who need only an Internet connection and phone to work.

Vakharia says Horwoods Mall is developing office space on its second floor to be used. There have been discussions around ownership of the space; it could be taken over by a not-for-profit entity and used by office-orphan workers who pay a fee.

Vakharia says much like who would own and operate the future space, ideas for its uses are also raw and under discussion. Ben Sanders is in Vancouver, so she’s spreading the word for him — there will be an open house on June 24 in the potential office space.

Lighthouse Labs will be there. It’s a computer-programming company out of Vancouver that has a satellite in the Yukon. Students who completed programs with the company will talk about their experiences; they will demonstrate projects that were incubated in a co-working environment.

Whoever wants to use the coworking space, and how they want to use it, will shape what it will become.

Vakharia says other shared workspaces have etiquette rules. For example, one ear bud in means “I don’t want to talk”. She says there are lots of options for use. Maybe talking isn’t allowed in some offi ces but brainstorming and phone interviews are allowed in others. There may be a kitchenette and sofas. Maybe there will be all night access.

The most exciting thing about the co-working space, according to Vakharia, is the potential for new ideas and partnerships to mushroom. In Toronto, she says there are profession-specific spaces, but in the Yukon it will be any professional who needs a space to rest his laptop. Instead of watching an episode on Netflix, people can procrastinate by talking about projects and their work.

Who knows what partnerships will form.

The pre-launch party/open house for Yukon’s new co-working space is on June 24 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. It’s on the second floor of Horwoods Mall. Vakharia says there might be wine. Come with ideas.

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