Recently my lunches have got a lot more interesting. Instragram-able even. Not that I would expect people to get too excited by what I’m putting in my belly when I’m at work. However, what it does represent is something very exciting happening in the way I work.
You see, over the past few months I have been co-working out of The Transfer, a co-working space within The Old Print Works on the Moseley Road in Balsall Heath. Co-working involves pitching up in a shared office space to work for the day and paying a daily, weekly or monthly fee to do so. It can be as flexible as you need it to be, which is so important for freelancers as work shifts and changes. There there is tea and coffee included, and a variety of spaces to nestle down.
You may know The Old Print Works through one of its many tenants – the cosy community Ort Café, the Artist led exhibition space at Ort Gallery or Sundragon Pottery. Or perhaps you’ve been to one of the events here (monthly Muzikstan nights are highly recommended!). It’s a work in progress as the community of freelancers, makers and creatives try to breathe new life into an old industrial building, but this is the vision…
If you haven’t yet explored the Old Print Works, we are an eclectic and growing bunch of makers, doers, designers, artists, musicians, teachers, dreamers, builders and thinkers, sharing our skills and art and creations with the community in an even more eclectic and exciting space. The Old Print Works is full of studios, galleries, spaces and surprises – both indoors and out.
For me, it’s a small haven, a cosy place to hide away and be productive which is right on my doorstep. There are so many little hideaways here and it’s full of greenery. Tea and coffee are on tap, and the sustainable ethos of the place means that there is a mish-mash of furniture and decor, giving it a really homely feel. I’m even managing a weekly lunchtime swim across the road in Moseley Road Baths whilst I still can!
I’m not really one of the ‘doers or thinkers’ here, but I do enjoy being around people with a ‘can-do’ attitude to making the building viable and vibrant. It’s very much what Balsall Heath is about.
Which is where my lunch comes into the equation. Co-workers gather each lunchtime for a communal lunch, tucking into food prepared at home or bits and pieces grabbed from nearby shops (cheesy naan bread made in front of you in a tandoor oven at Kurdistan Mini Market anyone?). In the Summer bits of fruit, veg and herbs are picked straight out of the garden at the back of the building. Everyone contributes something and somehow the result is always greater than the sum of its parts. It’s also a chance to get to know co-workers, catch up with each other and step away from the screen properly. The upshot is that my time at the computer is far more productive, even if I feel like I’m being really indulgent by stopping for a sociable lunch.
So, given the option of staying at home trying to work, sitting in a café trying to make a Cappuccino last a few hours or coming to a dedicated, friendly and affordable co-working space I think it’s an obvious choice. Come along for a free trial and see what you think.