Last week a group of a dozen strangers of at least 4 different nationalities ‘went to work’ in a coffee shop in Montpellier. This week a group of English speakers met in a charming B&B in a small French town to work, chat and share lunch at a local restaurant.
This is what Jelly co-working is all about – it’s informal, it’s friendly, and it’s a welcome change for people that normally work “home alone”. Anyone can set-up a Jelly and it’s not as much work as you think.
Having had the real-life experience of organising and attending Jelly events in France – here’s my brief guide to getting started in case (in the hope!) anyone else would like to arrange their own…
- Find a venue. You can use anywhere that offers enough space (at no cost) and has free wifi available. You need tables and chairs & enough space to work. Jelly venues may be hotels, coffee shops, restaurants, colleges, B&Bs, community rooms or even your own kitchen table. Availability of coffee/water is advisable but let’s remember this is France and a café/bar is rarely far away! (or people could bring their own).
- Decide a date and time. Plan your event at a time that does not inconvenience the venue and far enough in advance for you to spread the word. About 6-8 weeks ahead should be fine unless you already have a list of people you know are ready to Jelly at short notice.
- Start small. Co-working can be for 2 or more people so aim for 6-8 places and a half day Jelly and see how it goes.
- Go to http://wiki.workatjelly.com to register yourself and add your own Jelly details to the homepage and how to contact you.
- Get in touch with other Jelly organisers and let them know about your event. You will find Jelly people all share a great enthusiasm for supporting home-workers and promoting the co-working ethos. Every Jelly is different but you can still ask for advice and other useful hints and tips.
- Register with Eventbrite and add details of your event and how to contact you. Eventbrite lets you choose your URL (ie. http://myjellyname.eventbrite.com) so you have an instant (and free) Jelly ‘web site’ within minutes! (Tempting as it may be, don’t release tickets for your Jelly more than 10-14 days before the event takes place).
- Let people know. Many Jelly organisers use Twitter, Facebook and other online media to promote their Jelly events but you can also send a notification to your local paper, put a flyer in your boulangerie, send emails to your friends etc.
- Count the cost. OK it does take a bit of time to arrange the venue and let people know, but to organise your Jelly you should have spent approximately 0€.
I hope this is useful to anyone that might be interested in planning an event. The Languedoc Jelly website gives a bit more about ‘making the most of Jelly’ plus some comments from people that have taken part – see the web details listed on AngloINFO here.
People in various regions of France (most recently Normandy) are looking for new co-working spaces to hold a Jelly.
If you have a place (or know of one) that can provide a good working environment and a free wifi connection, please please add a comment to this post.
A final Jelly note: If you have followed this blog you will have noticed I have a great enthusiasm for the co-working concept . It really is something very different and if you live and work here on your own it might be just what you need from time to time. I really wanted to share the info so thank you for reading and thank you AngloINFO for letting me post it. Next blog post will not be about Jelly – I promise!