Celebrating rad working communities all over the globe! In this edition of community shoutout, we chat to Rebecca Tavete Collaborative Manager of ARGO Co-working Space a coworking hub located in the coastal suburb of Christchurch, New Brighton. Argo’s unique environment and stunning beach location gives you the infrastructure to free yourself from the traditional way of working and doing business. Empower yourself with flexible, innovative and inspiring work conditions in this stunning shared office space. Build business relationships and connect with other professionals; most of all… Take control of your time and work the hours that suit your lifestyle and business.

“Your space, Your business, Your community.”

What’s the background story with Argo, how was the space founded?

I was working out of an office in Christchurch city, we were actually in the process of moving out as the building was undergoing earthquake repairs. We were given the option of moving across the road into a temporary location, or we could go and find our own workspace and then return to the office once the renovations were completed. I chose option B, I was excited about working out of new spots, working from home, cafes and visiting clients onsite. 

It was only around 6–8 months into working this way until the novelty begun to wear off, it was becoming extremely isolating and my productivity was beginning to take a hit. My motivation slowed down, it was becoming harder to manage clients without a permanent space to centralise myself. Any inspired thought process was almost nonexistent.

I’m from New Brighton, a coastal suburb around a 10–15 minutes drive out from Christchurch city centre. The area was in need of some TLC and input into the local business industry.

“So, why not start a coworking space?! The idea wasn’t just to create an awesome space but assist the existing business community.” 

It’d been 18 months since I’d had a permanent workspace, instead of looking for a space to accommodate myself and a couple of colleagues the hunt begun for a suitable building and location that could cater for an entrepreneurial community. There were a couple of shared workspaces popping up in the city at the time, I didn’t see them as competitors I saw them as motivation. It became apparent that the future of how and where we work was changing and I wanted to help pioneer it in my hometown.

What are some of the stand out learnings since opening day, what tips would you pass on to new space operators?

  • Don’t force a workplace culture, let it happen organically. It takes time but be patient; it will happen!
  • One thing I’d do differently is run my scholarship programme from the beginning, I think this would of created more momentum from the get go and lifted the atmosphere.
  • Don’t sweat the small things, put your energy into the members and help them flourish. This will help attract new faces without dedicating your time on actively looking for them. 

What are some of the processes you valued highly prior to opening your doors to the public and how did you gauge interest?

Market research was crucial! I looked into the types of professions the New Brighton area is made up of and what would benefit the area, I got the word out through local business groups and just spoke to people in the community. Before the space was fitted out and in it’s rawest of states, I hosted an opening night and invited anyone and everyone who had shown any interest in the space. I had illustrations done of my vision for the space and projected them up on to the walls which really helped people get a grasp on the concept. The evening was really useful to get get feedback about my plans to create a collaborative coworking space.

“Getting everyone involved right from the start helped foster that community prior to the space even being built, everyone could put their own ideas forward and feel apart of the whole process.”

What are Argo Kiwi’s core values?

We stand by work-life balance. For many of us who run our own business or freelance, it’s easy to get caught up in work and it can have a negative effect on our wellbeing. Argo provides an environment that helps you live and work in balance, having the beach across the road really does contribute to this being possible. Argo provides an environment to help distinguish a line between work and living, our key values are integrity, trust and just having a general respect for one another.

How many members does Argo have, and what kind of professions does the space attract?

Including our scholarship members there’s around 13 of us who use the space permanently, then we have a handful of members who use the space on a Desk Surfing basis that frequently pop in and out. The resident base ranges from software developers and designers to architects and engineers. We also have an online yoga instructor based out of Argo which is a great asset which we all love to get involved in!

“Having a smaller resident base there’s not just a strong sense of community but genuine friendships are formed. With the summer months approaching we’re looking forward to kicking back on the deck after work and enjoying one anthers company.”

What the members have to say!

“Immediately from walking through the door at Argo it just ticked all the boxes, the fact that it was just starting out was a bonus because it meant I was able to get involved, and really have a say as a founding member of the community! Being a stones throw away from the beach for me is just the best thing I could wish for, originally being from the far North I grew up at the beach and since moving to Canterbury I felt like I’d been missing out just a bit! Living rurally and remotely in Christchurch, a desk by the beach takes the cake — I’d really like to get into surfing!”

Justin McCormack co-founder of Fleetpin

What does an ideal community member look like at Argo Kiwi?

Someone with drive that’s focussed on having a positive impact on the community. It’s hard to put a label on the right person, as every one of Argo’s members is so diverse but that’s what makes the community what it is! For anyone interested in giving coworking or specifically Argo a try I’d suggest coming in and just hanging out for the day. 

Being a stones throw away from the beach is something pretty special, what else does the surrounding area have to offer?

New Brighton is really starting to come back to life, the quakes took their toll but we have some exciting new developments happening and new businesses opening up. There’s an up and coming street art scene in the area which has been awesome to witness, and it’s something I want Argo to get involved in with some custom pieces on the building. 

New Brighton Beach - Image by Delphine Ducaruge

At CoLo we believe the future of work is social, how do you envision the future of work?

There will be more freedom in the way we work. Not all of us will be working out of coworking spaces but the basic principles of coworking will become more apparent through different lines of work. I hope to see the smaller more boutique coworking spaces band together to create communities and networks outside of just one space.

Shout out to Bek for catching up with the Colo team and sharing her journey with us! Argo have recently sponsored a bunch of talented humans working on awesome projects, so stay tuned for updates on how coworking is impacting their businesses. If you’re keen to find out more about the space or fancy dropping in to meet Bek and the community drop your details below!

Work from Argo Beach or get in touch with Bek.

Be sure to check out Argo on Twitter, Facebook and the gram.

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