With the nights getting longer and Christmas drawing nearer it's already been two incredible weeks since we moved into our beautiful new home. For those of you who haven't visited us already or aren't familiar with the world of the co-working I thought I would give you an insight into the experience inside Hull's new golden digital hub. Background
To begin with I'll start with a little bit about myself; I graduated from university last year and now work as a member in C4DI's team. Soon after graduating it became apparent to me that I really wanted to launch my own startup in the tech sector. As a philosophy graduate - I have had a lot to learn about business (and am still learning!). After doing a lot of research it became apparent to me that digital hubs were the place to be since they offered an environment most conducive for rapid learning, discovery, support and ultimately (hopefully), success.
Not knowing about C4DI at this point however, I was prepared to move back home, to London, in a bid to save up to fund a venture into California's digital startup scene. A few weeks before packing up my bags I was offered a job in marketing which landed me in C4DI Beta. Initially unknown to me the co-working space promised to offer me everything I was planning to move across continents to get.
Fast forward to today and I'm happy to say I'm still in Hull. So what's it been like? Firstly, let's tackle getting here. We all know for the freelancer battling the urge to stay in bed, or the half-dead office worker struggling to find excitement in 9-5 routine getting into work can be a drag. Fortunately, for me, I can say arriving to work with scenes like this...
... workplace morning slog? = Not so much! Culture
Aside from the view it has been a joy to work in such a varied, welcoming, creative environment. I find working alongside individuals from a broad array of professions really catalyses new ideas since even the most casual statement, from one of our members, can represent years of experience and a novel perspective that would have taken years of research to come by. Being around businesses at various points in their journeys also has tremendous benefits. The opportunity for running an idea by someone who's already 'been there and done it' is priceless.
Recently, I've had direct experience of this - working closely with some of the members on my own startup ideas is helping them undergo rapid development that in any other environment would simply be hugely costly and time-consuming.
Whether you're a startup, making an app or even looking for a new idea entirely I have found that the culture of sharing and collaboration in C4DI really helps move things along.
The physical design and talented community in the co-working space combine to make a tremendously inspiring ecosystem where the huge opportunities to learn, network and work on projects help drive you forward.
The whole experience, from coffee to workplace culture, has meant that not only do you feel more productive, but being at work is more relaxing - and since you can be just as productive having a quick chat over coffee as you can doing research at your desk I would say this is definitely a double win for co-working members.
Building on the foundations of C4DI's Beta space the new building has been specifically designed to really cultivate the collaborative culture that is so essential to the success of co-working spaces. The dedicated zones of our new home really help optimise the different workflows digital professionals find themselves going through.
A silent area allows you to focus on complex, attention demanding tasks whereas the more relaxed and colourful collaborative work space is ideal for working on projects and sharing ideas.
With three dedicated meeting rooms and an open cafe-styled seating area the meeting zone is the perfect place to catch up with a client over coffee or to make use of the 80" TV screen in the board room to pitch an idea to investors.
A state of the art studio space comes equipped with a full A/V setup including a hd projector, 5.1 surround sound and a wireless microphone along with a capacity for 50 guests. It has already seen extensive use whether hosting events for the public or lunch time learning talks for members.
The high-speed 1Gbps symmetric internet connection per desk has worked so well that you take it almost entirely for granted - web pages just appear, uploads just happen and skype conferences just work.
Little details like private phone-call booths, a virtual receptionist, free coffee and even instant hot water taps help transform your working experience. All the features blend away so seamlessly you can focus on doing what you do, just better.
I've found that the environment helps you generate ideas and innovate faster since instead of staying at a stagnant desk, only raising an eyebrow to your nearest neighbour, you move around and get exposed to new ideas every day.
The C4DI hosts great events, meet ups and lunch time learning talks offer tremendous learning and networking opportunities. What's more, over time, more events will be added to the calendar so the perks of being a co-working member, in Hull's digital hub, continue to grow.
From January, when our cafe Nibble opens everything from catering for events and meetings, healthy smoothies, naughty nibbles and even gluten free food will be available on site. We will have everything we need to work effectively, at our finger tips.
All in all I'm thoroughly glad I stayed in Hull. A combination of C4DI's highly supportive community, the resources and opportunities offered to members in addition to being at the centre of Hull's closely knit business community offer a level of support and access for members that simply can't be provided by the other, relatively anonymous, spaces found in bigger cities.
Everything offered to our members, when combined with the affordable cost of living make Hull's C4DI a very attractive proposition for anyone looking to work in the digital industry.
Whether you are a freelancer, startup or company the list of benefits members benefit are huge. I certainly feel that we are a strong contender to other hubs like those found in London or California.
If you would like a tour to see our beautiful new home you can book one here.