Sharing a good lunch creates a veritable bond in a coworking space. The act of eating together, according to a recent study by an Australian university, creates the bonding leading to human relations. A good meal is well ahead of a meeting in a closed office. Haha – well, in fact, not based on any Australian study; but based on certainty and experience: many experiences.
At Betacowork lunch has become a little institutionalised in the form of Betacooks. Every Friday, one or several coworkers cook for the others. Which sometimes means big tables with up to 50 people, with a weekly average of 30 – 35 people. It’s a good natured occasion where coworkers have a weekly catch-up. Some even choose to come in on Fridays just because of Betacooks. not just to eat, but to meet up and share the convivial atmosphere.
O.K, 30 – 40 people isn’t always convivial. It’s sometimes even a bit of a boreday , but somehow, it’s never all that bad. Too much conformity and organisation is never good for your health, and certainly not for Betacooks.
If you look at the photos of Betacowork, you’ll see that the photos show a real mishmash. From hot dogs to Thai curries, a basic spaghetti, couscous or a simple cheese board. For many years Betacooks has been the setting for so many menus. So much so that you might ask if people at Betacowork do anything except eat! On the contrary, look carefully again at these images and you will understand that the time spent sharing a meal provides the thread of consistent bonding and contact in the coworking space.
Betacooks has not always been the big machine that it has become. In the beginning Ramon and I would often cook, making use of ICAB’s three kitchens. We would take it in turns. Then we began to invite other people. The deal was simple: “If I cook for you today, you cook for me another day.” The principle hasn’t changed: you have to cook one day if you eat at Betacooks. Only the number participating has changed.
Obviously Betacowork is not alone in putting the sharing of a meal at the heart of building the community. In the majority of the coworking spaces I have visited since 2010, food has often been a main driver. As was the case when I visited la Cordée – Liberté Guillotière in Lyon with Jef Minsart of Leave the Bags. We had the chance to share the daily tea-time. “Each day at four o’ clock we took a dessert break” Explained Laure, our local Swiss Army Knife. “The same as at lunchtime, we gathered around the table. It’s an excellent way of building cohesion in a coworking space.”
Betacooks are dead. Long live Betacooks!
Betacooks have given birth to many collaborations; to a food truck, to a training camp for web skills. . . but also – and above all – to numerous lost afternoons, to moments of laughter, to very serious and very frivolous conversations. In the end, so many good memories and as many examples of cohesion within the community. But not withstanding, these moments of meeting have not always stood the test of time, of neglect and even pettiness. They even stopped altogether a few months ago, only to reappear. For, despite obstacles such as there’s not enough to feed everybody, there aren’t enough chairs. . . sharing a meal is an integral part of the DNA of coworking. Whatever, despite the weekly hassle on Friday, Betacooks will remain fully and deeply appreciated.
In conclusion, I’d like to quote our founder:
“Another thing that is important is that you can, and should organise things yourself. Anybody can organise a night out or a lunch (at our premises, a restaurant, the park…) any day of the week. We are a community of adults that can take care of themselves and have some initiatives.) Come on! go out, eat, drink, dance… every occasion is a good occasion to meet.”
The original post has been published by Mateusz in the French version of this blog. Translation into English by our coworker Jeremy Blezard.