Building Fernie’s First Coworking Community
The overall Fernie community is made up of a patchwork of many smaller and vibrant, well, communities! We have an incredible snowboarding community, for example. An awesome arts community. We also have an ever-growing community of people who work remotely from home. However, these home-based workers may not necessarily feel part of that community, what with being isolated in their home offices and rarely meeting other professionals who also work remotely. Enter 2nd Edition Coworking – Fernie’s new downtown community coworking space that was opened late last year by the Fernie Chamber in the old Free Press building.
Having access to a coworking space is of particular value to people who are not bound to a traditional office, including self-employed professionals and creatives, and remote workers of larger organizations. With the impacts of COVID-19 and the normalization of working from home, I expect the value of having a coworking space here in Fernie will only increase as we recover from the pandemic. With our community being an increasingly attractive place to live and play, the addition of a collaborative workspace will also help position Fernie as an attractive place to work, particularly for those who can work from anywhere.
One of the key goals of opening 2nd Edition Coworking was to create a vibrant and entrepreneurial coworking community. By bringing together groups of people with different skillsets, abilities, and connections, coworking spaces create their own microeconomies where member tenants provide services to each other and where tenants can collaborate on larger and more lucrative projects. Therefore, a shared workspace can play an important role in local economic development and diversification, as well as community capacity-building. Coworking spaces also provide home-based workers with a more social work environment while providing a greater opportunity for collaboration. The creation of a shared skills economy where local businesses purchase more services from, and sell more services to, other local businesses is a key potential economic benefit of creating a Fernie coworking facility.
So, what drives people to join a coworking community like 2nd Edition? From the feasibility study that was completed for this coworking space project, remote workers surveyed identified the following top reasons for being part of a coworking community: