I moved back to the Comox Valley in 2018 from Berlin, where I'd been living for the better part of a decade. When I first started working full-time out here as a remote copywriter, I thought I'd be happy working from home. I'd save on the commute, I'd have all my favourite snacks, and I'd be able to take as many breaks as my heart desired.
I quickly learned that working from home wasn't all it was cut out to be. I was bored. I got distracted too easily by laundry or phone calls or preparing dinner for the kids. I missed chatting with people, I missed wearing "office clothes," and I missed a sense of community.
So when Courtenay and Megan from Foundation Hair Salon and Academy mentioned they were looking to sublet their salon space on Simms Street after they moved to a new location on 5th Street in downtown Courtenay, I jumped at the chance to pilot a co-working experiment.
Now, two years on, I have a new partner (Steph!) and an amazing group of people to surround myself with. Here are my favourite parts about working out of a co-working space in Courtenay:
1. It's energizing.
Simply being around people is good for my mental health. Even if I'm having an introverted kind of day, I still feed off the energy of others, and it gives me the boost I need to get through a tricky project or a long list of administrative tasks.
2. I have people to bounce ideas off of.
Sometimes I need a good sparring partner, or just someone to help me find a word that's on the tip of my tongue. There's never a shortage of people to commiserate or brainstorm with at co-valley!
3. There's never a dull moment.
Steph has made it her mission to make co-valley one of the most fun places in town. She organizes Waffle Wednesday, co-worker happy hours, local lunches and lots of seasonal activities. Even outside of these social events, the space is full of good vibes and even better people.
4. We bring the world to us.
As the only co-working space in the Comox Valley (so far), we get a lot of out-of-town visitors who are familiar with the co-working concept and fit right in for a drop-in day or two. It's great to chat with them about what they're working on, why they're visiting -- and try to convince them to make the move over here ;)
5. The concept attracts like-minded people.
On a similar note to the above, co-working spaces, or this one at least, attract a certain kind of worker: not only remote workers, but those who share values of community, collaboration and work/life balance. This was particularly apparent in the recent municipal elections, where almost all of our co-workers voted. With city-wide turnout in the dismal low thirty percent range, and voter turnout among 18-40 year-olds traditionally quite low, I think this shows that the community here is fairly engaged.
I'm excited that this little co-working experiment has made a mark in the Comox Valley... there's clearly a need for the kind of community and togetherness that co-working spaces can provide.
PS: pictured above is the amazing Erin of Petals of Whimsy