Coworking Values Podcast
Coworking Values Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

Ivanne and David:Moving the Needle Towards Accessibility

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

For this episode, we welcome back David O'Coimin of Nook Wellness Pods and Ivanne Poussier of Ada Coworking.

We are going to be talking about moving the needle towards accessibility in coworking. Furthermore, we will also be deep-diving into neurodiversity and neuroinclusivity in the coworking industry. 

This episode is brought to you by Cobard, a leading management software for coworking spaces, offices, hubs and flexible work spaces around the world. You know, one of the best things about Kabard is that it's produced by people who use to manage a coworking space and know the INS and outs of the main problems and issues there are bugging coworking managers. So if you want more time for your coworkers and community, check out cobalt at Kabar Dot Emmy and take your coworking management to the next level. Hello, Ladies Gentlemen, and welcome to the coworking values podcast in the studio. I'm going to get right to it. Today in the studio, my luxury, like at our host studio for the this podcast, is a van and David so Ivan. What are you known for and what would you like to be known for? You know any I think I'm known from being a learning animal on the because I learn every day, but I also learn from the best. This is why I'm Hey, I'm here today, and I'd like to be known for opening the first women focused co working space in a suburban area in France. So it's to the working process. But my ambitious so who's my associates through the opening of aidaco working in pressing the suburbs of ferries, is to be not on the focused on women, female entrepreneur free oncertain and self employed, but also to be inclusive by design and address a variety of women's needs, always in the pro thank you very much, and I'm going to jump over to David. What do you do me when you're knowing for which you like to be known for? I suppose I'm best known in this community for the invention in creation of Nook, which is now intern actually certified autism resource built around introverts and a people on spectrum neural divergent individuals as a sanctuary space in the open work space environment, to provide a bit of an antidote to this huge level of disruption lack of engagement that we're experiencing in the workspace, when we eventually return to it, of course. And what would I like to be known for? I guess I'd like to be known very much as someone who is helping others to move the needle on neuro inclusivity, inclusivity around. I believe that neural diversity, which is the natural differences in people's brains is just a normal, delightful phenomenon in our species and it is just different powers and strengths and we're leaving so much on the table by not including around Neuro inclsive the specifically, and I would like to see us be more inclusive in order to overcome the challenges that this planet faces in the in the years ahead. That's huge, as I get to know anymore. And we talked more about because because I'm violently deserted, not violent. US about that. Body put it like, spectacularly dyslexic and it and it's very it's very comfortying meeting people in real life other than Richard Branson and Eddie is ared. Who are who are our dyslexic and how that actually brandson's name again? Yeah, exactly. I have the same thing. So that's the first one to pot you see. That is it, you know, if it popped into my head again, but I'm I love the way that's been, you know, just just in a really, really kind of freeing environment. And one of the points of what we're doing today is to spell out that when we talk about inclusion, diversity, accessibility and equity, is. It's more than just, you know, gender and race. Before we before we dive on I just I just wondered, because I'm looking for a just wondered if any of you know about a book that or some kind of resource that documents female own co working spaces in Europe. Do you know one of those? Oh, I think I'm...

...the author of these books and the writer of her sisters in our women subsorting, because you've co working spaces are, which is the the first survey and feed the investigation at the European scale, which alone need to analyze thirty co working spaces and create a kind of typology of them. Just you felt the cover nineteen pandemic. So it's a rare snapshot in history about the blossoming of women focused working spaces in the wake of the need to movement and some of them just created before and the less decade. And so if you are curious, who can find this brook on my website, on or on Amazon? I think this was the question you were asking. Then that's why I could I could let you go without saying that. I will link to your podcast in the show notes and we and also to the POCUS. That's a huge bit. I was holding it up. I've got it, got up my desk care as I always do, and I was holding up for people to save. Obviously it's a podcast. So so what do you do when let's dive into this first bit. What are you do working on for the idea challenging May, because that's that's part of the main thrust of a lot of us working on at the moment. Yeah, so the real focus for us here is to try and move the needle on accessibility in coworking and to help coworking themselves, using their own community and the European coworking assembly, by bringing together a private company, represented and the body by me here today, representing look, and the European coworking assembly, represented by Ivan, and bringing those components together, but also, more as a catalyst for bringing the community together to generate a really interesting project move the need on on accessibility in coworking. So I call out to our community to come and assist us to move the needle on accessibility in coworking, so accessibility physically, accessibility from the point of view of biases, in terms of gender, in terms of neuro inclusivity, etc. And to recognize that as the expression goes. You'll probably familiar with this from Bernie. Nothing about me without me. So we do this from a position of privilege ourselves and we recognize that this cannot be done without reaching out for assistance from people would lived experience to help us codesign this challenge which is coming up in May. So this is today very much a shout out to help us reach the community for assistance to grow this and build this accessibility and coworking project. It's so if and who'll be the ideal person to write in to the show walk, contact us, contact you. So so you feel free to contact us if you are a citizen, experts, something with a lived experience as an introvert, another neural divergent person, somebody with autism or any other condition. And because we stress on purpose this, but also accessibility from a physical point of view. It guess you you have a wheelchair. You don't have to disclose your condition just by the simple fact you you, you join us, you drop an email. We will be very interested in here are your opinion, your ideas, sharing with you what we are...

...working on as tools and drafting at the moment. So so so. There is not a typical check list to check. It's just that it turns out that David and I am mostly extroverts, or on the verse as for me, and so we want to reflect with variety of people who are also interested in accesibility and we are learning on the way. So I think it's also a learning process. So feel free to to join your shoe, agree to work with people who are so our Brunera bold. We are not not know it all, we are and we are making mistakes and we are learning and on the way on. It's, it's very true, intusising, intossing, if I may add to that, very and so just to say, you know, you know my philosophy around these things as always been that design with extremes in mind benefits the mean in the long run. So designing, you know, with extreme requirements, and I think extreme is a terrible word to have to use all the time, but it's a recognized once so will stick it up for now, ends up with solutions that are more beneficial for the entire community. And it's really important, I think, to sort of stress that this isn't is is about equity, but isn't only about equity. It's also about having the tools to achieve what we need to achieve in the future. You can't overcome our micro problems and our macro problems without including everybody. You leave so much on the table by not including, by not being inclusive in your environment. And that can be simple things like signage. It can be how you access information, whether on the coworking a organization's website or in the building. It can be even things like noise, in particular, if there aren't quiet spaces to go in the space in order to be able to escape from, to be busy environments, if there's nowhere where somebody who maybe has adhd and maybe expresses that through a lot of physical movement, if you don't have chairs which wobble and yoga balls. I mean, I'm being very practical now, but just giving some examples. There's very practical, simple things that you can do to be more inclusive. But if we start thinking about it from first principles, from people's lived experiences, then I think we'll be able to craft and the interesting challenge that taps into that long term need and helps us to design, because personally, I believe the coworking is very much the template for workplace off the future and we have a huge opportunity in the coworking community here across Europe to help not just our own community but to define what work looks like for the next decades. I want a chair. I want a chair. I'm it's something. Try to look. As you can tell by that lost bit. You know, I'm struggling to find the way to ask this question, but it seems that, as we know, been following this whole I'm going to call the idea as an inclusion, diversity, the equality and accessibility, because that's a lot to say. Every time there's this whole idea that you know, I read things from, you know, proctoring, gamble and spotify, and you know all their policies around every everything's covered and then when it comes to co working, there's a bit of tumble weed around the subject. So I haven't been too many places where I've been in actively in coworking spaces nonstop for eleven years now and it's kind of like...

...a people of people do the bare minimum for as we're talking on this podcast of you know, about accessibility. Source like a given that you have to have at least, at least make an attempt for wheelchair access. But when we talk about things beyond that, about neurodiversity and hidden and hidden, it is okay to say disabilities were hidding conditions. You know, it's like, Oh, you know, that's that's a surprise. But then when I've been in those communities and when I've sat next to people who are dyslexic or have a Dht, everyone, everyone at a personal level, understands it. And is it correct us a compen saints for it or or give space to it? MAKES ALLOWANCE? Yeah, makes allowance. Thank you, so diplomatic. And and so it works. But it's never really talked about unless, unless it's like a conferences. It's always like a small unconference session rather than a big thing. So it is that the immaturity of the what the infancy of our industry? Or is it just not commercially viable or people not on the hook as much in a legal way? What? What is it not working? And maybe it does. For me I think it's indeed, like you said, partly to do it the infancy of the industry, but I also think it's got to do with an anxiety. I fear if it's not something that's a lived experience for you personally, then it can feel like something that you want to stay away from fear of offending, looking like fool, not on you know, speaking out out of turn. And that's why I think it's so important to open this dialog because I think in the coworking community there is more hunger to do something about this then there resides elsewhere often. But we just need to tap into that and start the conversation because once you do, in my experience, and think in yours to somewhat, once the conversation starts, the ball really does start rolling very fast in the coworking community. I agree, and I would add that it's also maybe at an opportunity that there are less on straints in terms of accessibility to data coworking spaces. But this lack of regulation gives us not only freedom but a responsibility to build, to build new solutions, and so the potential of innovation and cool design and Co creation is huge here. So I think it's just something which about which the coworking owner and managers have to become more aware and and in a way that more accessible and inclusive and diverse coworking spaces will also be useful for all the people who are joining the coworking spaces in the in the future, years after the pandemic. So to me it's no Portunity and we have to cease to say is it now, instead of waiting for regulations to come. Because I'm French, obviously we are country of big, big, strong regulation, and I hope regilation will not come too fast in coworking spaces and that it will allow US stutist in front, to to to keep levers, to adjust, to innovate, to create and maybe become an exemplary and set an example for the real estate and office is as a whole. Another point, and I thought of all you when we were talking there, when you put me in mind of it. I think it might have something to do with the structure of co working, where your tenants are self contained entities in their own right with their own hr responsibilities to their employees. So you're you know, the people who walk around in your space might not necessarily look to the coworking...

Organization for Guidance and leadership in this regard. They look to their own employee structures within their organization, which is a tenant of the coworking and so it might not get to the coworking in the way that it would get to a HR director in a corporate organization pretty quickly through rays committees and what have you. So it might just be that we have a little obstacle to overcome in the in the structures and the management structures of co working in or to get down into the issues and figuring out an uncovering and waking up that sleeping dog and getting that conversation movie. Yeah, I was, I think you both were around a few weeks ago when I was having a little Bernie Tantrum about people saying I don't think inclusion ideas are going to call it now is is a big thing in coworking because and then, as I've been coached to reflect on that anger, it's that it's just a it's like such a huge thing to comprehend. So maybe it's so big people just don't know where to begin, so they don't do anything about how do it. So, you know, sometimes I have to go into our home and get my son to tidy his room and you know, it's just it's easy to paint the outside of the house blindfolded that it is to engage in what are we tell your bedroom so. So I avoid it and maybe that's why it's not a big thing, because I hope that work folks, but it's it's not a big thing because people don't know where to begin, so they don't talk about it unless, you know, fanatics like US show up. What do you think about that? I agree, I mean, I fully agree. I think it's an enormous part of the problem is the perception of the lack of a problem, and it but it what I will say is that it doesn't take much to peel back on the corner of that and for people to realize, even people who feel like they may be in a position where this doesn't affect them, once you start to illuminate little bit on what is it we're talking about here. We're talking about, you know, the the discrimination, intentional or otherwise, which is which occurs by creating normalized environments which exclude certain people. It doesn't take very much to peel away that that has a personal effect on the majority of people, whether it's them directly and they're it's unconscious, whether it's within their family, whether it's their colleagues, whether it's their company's bottom line, whatever it is. But we are in the infancy of this movement, if you will, but it's not the right word, but I'm going to use it for now. Really maybe in the avity of understanding what's happening here and where we're falling down and what we're leaving on the table and what we're leaving behind ethically as well, as you know, in terms of what we could be achieving and we're not at the moment because we're not being inclusive. That's still there's a long way to go in explaining that and you know, you see it yourself in terms of who turns up for certain webinars. When the subject is the varsity inclusivity, there's, you know, a drop in numbers often. But when you're very specific about a particular thing like, for example, if you have a webinar about how to make your space more dyslexia friendly, that's got a very focused, specific value and benefit. The people can imagine having an impact on their space that might lead them to try to understand a little bit more about it. So maybe sometimes the subject is just too big and people needed to be a little bit more bite size to be able to consume a piece by piece that. That's something I've learned. We've learned, sorry, through this, through this next event we're doing. So what we broadcast this, we publish this. It would be happening the last week, so you can go back and not register the event. But there has been there's been a big job because somebody, you know, we get like eighty people or SVP and we've had to fight to get forty and and and we've changed the text and and actually the the inconvenience of not many...

...people coming has highlighted exactly what both of you have mentioned in this podcast is that you know, the more specific it is. If it was kind of think of anything funny to say that you know like that, you were entitled to. We know how to have to make a more dyslexic friendly workplace. Will probably get less people than you know how to double your profits with new members. After covid you know it's a more committee group and even I know you have something to say that anyone. I don't know why we've been asking as a question. What are your thoughts on this? Where I think we we are beyond the the why and the justification of diversity and inclusion, because it's a matter of ethics, period, and and now the question is how we do this, and it's somehow paradoxical to to see in the coworking industry all these people who are enthusiastic about technology, for example. What's your it? How do you manage the people in your space with such and such software as and so and not envision accessibility, for example, as a highly technological subjects, because it's complex, because you have to find solutions which are either on the shelf or you have to do this tailor made and and you have to tap in so many disciplines. You have to pay attention to Ergonomy, to design, to matter of heals or to psychology, and so and so. So I think when you see frame it as a challenge, but very creative challenge, and where we are craftsmen and cross women trying to to shape solutions, and so first we have to shape the problem and also listen and could design. I think it's it's really threading and I agree when when David says we have to focus on the how and on addressing each its situation and reflecting on that, because we need to annoulge our horizon about about these issues, and very strong proponent of a problem solving instead of never ending consensual consensual talks about the necessity note there is an emergency and because we are in a crisis and reflecting about the future, that we have to to pray to to make it come true and prototype and prototype to gain and I think it's the best way to come with solutions and the communicate with proofs as well. Either change you want to see. We're just we're just in here. So I'm going to rudely finish up and we're going to put a link in the show notes to the idea project, which is a monthly challenge and when we're talking about in this podcast is May and and that is the way we're explaining it in the London coworking assembly is we have people come to a half hour call and they talk about the challenge. So it's like thirty minutes to do it together, and a lot of the people that come to that call are independent co working space owners and obviously, like anyone that's interested in it, can come and you go through the exercise together, because if you run, you know, if you're like a you know two partners that run a, you know, hundred person coworking space, you probably haven't got the resources or to have a dedicated inclusion and diversity department so that enables you to do that. And this is a this is an ongoing thing, because a big part of...

...what what we found in all these discussions, not just in this podcast, is people people don't know where to begin, but knowing you can turn up for half an hour have a chat about something and and like I think either this podcast or just beforehand is is take a bite out of that whole inclusion, diversity, quality and accessibility. I'm going to say elephant, because you always have to say elephant, don't you? So, folks, where can we find both of you, and we will link to everything in the show notes, obviously. Where can we find both of you and how can people get in touch to be part of the steering committee for for Maze Challenge, yes, steering commedy, or just contribute? So you're not giving a huge commitment to spend a whole bunch of time on this. You know, if you want to just show your lived experience, that's also fine, but if you'd like to help us along the road, that would be most wonderful to you can reach out to us directly. Would love to receive your emails and so I'm on David as look whatcom and I'm on a van at a dark coworkingcom and then, ladies Jan if you I'm if you sign up to the European coworking assembly website newsletter, you can just hit reply and we always will talk about the idea project in that. So if you ever want to get in touch with anyone in a podcast and you can't find them on Linkedin and we'll put their linkedin profiles in the show notes, you can do that. But thanks again both of you for your time and a commitment to the whole coworking universe and spending time today. Say Goodbye, thank you and go right. Thank you very much for any thanks. Very much everyone for listening and look forward to hearing from your take care of my bi.

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