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Today marked the start of Laptop Monday – an idea which has been kicking around for a few years, but to which I really started paying attention a few short months ago.
I work from home, and it can be pretty isolated. Sure, I chat to people on the phone, and even Skype with clients, but that’s just not the same as interacting with people face-to-face in the same way that those who work in an open plan office get to do every day.
So, I designed & built Laptop Monday – a co-working event, to be held every 2-3 weeks at a hotel nearby, and started to promote it and invite people. I did lots of tweets, pushed the events on LinkedIn, got articles in both of the relevant local papers, advertised on Marlow FM, used the auspices of the Marlow Chamber and generally networked my socks off!
The result? There were 10 like-minded people there and, I am delighted to say, the objectives were achieved.
Sometimes there was absolute silence, with 10 work focussed people hunched over their laptops. Sometimes, only one or two were working, while the others had a group discussion about the late lamented Mr Bowie, the benefits of FSB membership or the latest resignation from nice Mr Corbyn’s shadow cabinet. Sometimes the babble was all pervading, as four or five separate conversations took place simultaneously.
Some of those conversations were most certainly within the domain of “co-working” – a range of help was given, a number of business cards were swapped, some old acquaintances were renewed and some new relationships began – as I left, the last two were in the bar discussing how they may be able to be of help to each other moving forward.
The only formal-ish part of the event was the “Lunch’n’Learn”, delivered by Sally Hindmarch of http://partnerswithyou.co.uk/, covering off “The five P’s of Presentations”, although she actually gave us six! A useful interactive workshop from which everyone in the room benefitted. As someone said afterwards, that session alone was worth the £15 for the day (which included tea & coffee all day, as well as free parking & free wifi).
So – onward! The next event is 25th January. Two places already booked. Some of those in the room today said they’d be back. 10-ish people seemed to work well, but there’s room for more – happy to have you join us for 25th Jan, or one of the other planned events.