Thursdays often find a beehive of activity in BatchBlue’s brightly colored offices at 10 Elmgrove Ave., in Providence’s Wayland Square. Each counter space typically has a laptop on it, but the people flitting from room-to-room are not all employees.
About a half-year ago BatchBlue, Providence-based Web-applications creator, moved to a bigger office space and began opening its doors on Thursdays to the public as a free co-working space. Dubbed “BatchHaüs,” it’s a place for freelancers to branch out from their home office, network, brainstorm, grab a cup of coffee or even just put their feet up.
Since its inception, BatchHaüs has been a refuge for a small number of techies, PR professionals – even a videographer – looking for something beyond the coffee shop experience. Attendees show up sporadically throughout the day, often tweeting about their plans beforehand.
“It’s pretty informal … you’re crashing on a couch. It’s like being in a coffee shop but having the same people show up every week,” said Sean Biehle, a regular attendee of BatchHaüs.
“It’s comfortable, friendly, and I can pick my own level of engagement – sometimes I work and sometimes I want to just hang out with cool people,” said Mel DuPont.
BatchBlue employees, after having worked remotely themselves for the first three years of the firm’s existence, understand the difficulties of finding a stimulating work space and embrace having new faces in their offices every week.
“It’s good for the community and good for us to meet people coming into the community for our own selfish hiring needs,” said Sean Ransom, vice president of technology for BatchBlue, noting that the company hasn’t been in a “hiring mode” since the inception of BatchHaüs but is “keeping tabs” on a few people.
Ransom knows the woes of trying to recruit local programming talent and hopes that the co-working space will contribute to the growing Providence technology scene. He notes that these spaces are particularly essential for professionals in the technology industry who can often work from home but appreciate a social space to fall back on.