Yesterday I took part in my first Jelly session — and I’ve got to say it was a fun and productive experience that I will be repeating in the future. Jellies are informal, free coworking events that are open to anyone. There were 10 participants at the Jelly I attended, from a range of different backgrounds although they were mainly freelancers, as you might expect. At times, particularly in the morning, the atmosphere was studious and productive, but there was also some interesting chat and opportunities to make new connections.
I always find that a change of scenery does me good, but considering that I was working in a room with 10 other people, sitting around a conference table, and occasionally getting stuck into conversation, I was surprised at the amount of work I got through (and that’s despite the speed of the Wi-Fi connection getting a little slow with 10 people working away).
If you’re feeling a bit isolated at home (or perhaps you just want to brainstorm some ideas) and would like to try out the coworking experience, but perhaps aren’t quite ready to commit to membership of a coworking space, attending a Jelly would be a good first step.
The first Jelly was started in New York back in 2006 by roommates Amit Gupta and Luke Crawford, who originally wanted to recreate some of the benefits of working from an office (without having to work from an office): brainstorming, sharing and camaraderie. So they started inviting people over to work from their house occasionally, and thus Jelly was born. It’s an idea that has spread worldwide.
The Jelly I attended was organized by CoWorkingWest and held in the nice office space of The Office, Bristol, UK, but Jellies are held in over 100 cities all over the world. (Some of them are even held weekly.) If there isn’t one near you, you can always start your own — you just need to pick a venue and get some people involved. They are often held in people’s houses, but also take place in other locations, like coffee shops and offices. As long as there is space for everyone, power and Wi-Fi, you can have a Jelly.
Have you tried working at Jelly?