What do our members do? A whole lot of awesome.

In the past we have done our best to keep you all updated on the news from Office Nomads. You’ve heard about our neighborhood campaign to start another coworking space in Seattle, when we are lucky enough to score some great press, and when we make changes to our membership offerings.

Well, that’s fun and all, but it barely scratches the surface of the great stuff that happens within the walls of our Capitol Hill coworking space. So welcome to the first of (hopefully) many posts featuring projects and happenings from our members. They are a hard-working bunch, and are usually working on something awesome:

  • New part-time member Ryan Luce launched a free, comprehensive website that helps folks with Type 2 diabetes find clinical trials that are right for them. The site helps those who are interested in clinical trials sort through the huge number of available trials with ease, and find trials that are close to home. The website is called Corengi, and it’s pretty awesome.
  • Long-time member Ariel Stallings added a new website to her Offbeat Empire called Offbeat Home. It’s the newest gem in her crown of beautiful, fun, and useful websites for folks who are looking to navigate their lives a little differently than the norm. Check out the sweet yurt drawing on the home page – it’s my favorite!
  • Matt Davis is a local salesman for Rulon, a Florida-based company that manufactures and installs stunning acoustical wooden ceilings and walls. This week Rulon began producing these beautiful ceilings for the Legacy Emanuel Children’s Hospital in Portland OR. In just 4 months, the project will be done, and will hopefully have earned either a LEED gold or platinum certification. Go Matt!

Rendering of a children's hospital in Portland OR

  • In the realm of amazing things that don’t happen every day, member George Divoky recently heard from an actor who was playing a part inspired by his arctic bird research at the National Theatre in London. Yes, you read that right. George had no idea that his life’s work had inspired a playwright to base a couple of characters off of him in a play about climate change. But apparently, they did. So off to London George went to go watch himself (as portrayed by two different actors) on stage. You can read all about it (and I’d highly recommend it) at the Adventures in Climate Change blog.

Pretty neat, eh? Stay tuned for more updates from the goings-on here at Office Nomads!

Climate Change, Transportation & Coworking

Jacob and I spent the morning today at the WBR Business Transportation Forum, put on by the Seattle Climate Partnership and several other transportation-related organizations. We heard from various business as to what they were doing to improve their transportation-related carbon footprints, as well as Mayor Mike McGinn, who wanted to talk about a new city initiative called Walk Bike Ride. We were there because we believe that coworking is a 21st century solution to addressing climate change in our city.

Really? Coworking and climate change? Allow me to start from the top: the Seattle City Council recently announced that it is working towards becoming a carbon neutral city. In order to do this, the city is going to have to address every aspect of how the city runs day to day. Transportation is the single largest contributor to Seattle’s carbon footprint and as such is the logical first place to get started on the grand path of carbon neutrality.

Making a dent in carbon emissions when it comes to transportation requires an incredible toolbox of solutions – from improving public transportation to making our urban neighborhoods pedestrian friendly to enforcing strong emissions standard, and more. The list is endless. There is a lot of work to do, and with a truly strapped city budget, the work gets tougher and tougher each year.

What is the role of coworking in this scenario? Coworking is one tool in the toolbox of solutions to transportation issues. Coworking spaces are neighborhood-based, intentional workspaces (in contrast to workspaces like coffee shops) that enable local workers to work closer to home. Whether that means they trade their longer commute for a walk to the coworking space once a week or ditch their commute completely to become 100% remote, coworking spaces allow modern workers to work closer to home without having to face the isolation, distractions, and productivity challenges of working from home.

Here at Office Nomads we know that 40% of our current members come directly from our neighborhood (Capitol Hill Seattle).  Extend that radius to 3 miles from our office, and you capture 61% of our members. Because of the close proximity of our space for most of our members, that means they tend to arrive at our space by either walking, biking, or taking the bus (we’re currently working on gathering more data on that point – stay tuned). Today’s technology allows these individuals to work for clients from all over the world, but stay in their own neighborhoods while they do it. This method of working keeps local dollars local and builds healthier communities.

Office Nomads believes that coworking enables independent workers to make their work experience better.  Beyond the work environment, we also believe that if the majority of individuals using coworking spaces are doing so because there is a coworking space convenient to where they live, more coworking spaces would allow more workers throughout the city to stay in their neighborhoods to work. That is one of the reasons we started Coworking Seattle, and why we continue to encourage the growth of more coworking spaces in our city. More individuals choosing to telecommute or work within their own neighborhoods means less time wasted commuting (the average American spends 61 minutes behind the wheel each day according to Transporation Choices Coalition), and more productive time working, living, and contributing to local commerce.

So, consider coworking a tool.  Not a one-stop solution, but a great tool to use in the journey to make an impact on our city’s carbon footprint.  Interested in helping out?  Join in the conversations happening at Coworking Seattle via our Google Group.  We’d love to talk to you!

Thanks to flickr user Robert S. Donovan for use of the above photo under the Creative Commons License.

Member Profile: George Divoky

divorky

George Divoky

Website: http://www.cooperisland.org

http://blogs.discovery.com/cooper-island/

Member Since: April 2009

Type of Member: Regular

In 1975 George started going to the northern end of the Americas to study black guillemots, an arctic seabird.  The study initially began after discovering some of their nests on Cooper Island which was a rare setting for these cavity nesters.  Excited by the find, he began spending his summers studying the birds with a focus on their breeding.  As the study continued over the years it became apparent that the habits of the birds were changing and this was happening as a result of climate change.  What used to be 200 fledglings a year is dwindling to single digits as food becomes scarce and other animals move onto Cooper looking for food and impacting guillemot eggs and chicks.  The black guillemot population is hurt most by either becoming dinner for polar bears, or getting pushed aside by encroaching puffins.  George shakes his head, “The birds are trying to raise their young.  They did it in the past, the climate is changing, and now they can’t.”  Sadly, these seabirds have become a clear indicator of climate change and as it gets worse for them, “things are getting worse and worse globally”.

George’s summers are spent tallying, weighing and compiling other necessary data.  When he returns to Seattle he comes back to us at Office Nomads where he analyzes the data, does outreach regarding climate change and works to acquire funding for his research and NGO.  After being alone for 3 months, a home office with nobody else around is incredibly unappealing.  He finds calm when surrounded by other people.  “An extended period of isolation does not give you mental peace,” George said. “It makes you uncomfortable.”  At Office Nomads George has the opportunity to be part of the constantly buzzing community here and find the inner calm he misses on the island.

George can easily snag the title of “Coolest Nomad”.  His stories of island life and of his work are rather fascinating, so much so that Darcy Frey wrote a cover story in New York Times Magazine about him.  David Letterman found him just as awesome and had George on his show to talk.  And anyone who can recommend headphones and at the same talk about chasing off polar bears with a shot gun is cooler than just about everyone else in the room.