How to Džem // Informal Coworking

Posted in Coworking
20/05/2016 Jennifer

Do you not have a formal coworking space in your area and getting a little envious when you hear how fantastic it is?Why not start your own coworking Džem session? Here’s how you can organize your own Džem session quickly and painlessly.

What is Džem?

Džem is a casual coworking event, where freelancers, home workers and people running small businesses meet up in order to get out of their normal space, meet some new people and work together in a social environment. Džem is a mixture of work, chat, comparing of ideas, passing on tips // help and maybe sometimes collaboration on the birth of a new project.

Džem differs from networking in that the aim is not to find new clients, pitch your business or to sell soemthing. Try that at Džem session, and you will not be popular.

Obviously the best way to get the feel for the relaxed vibe of Džem is to attend one, like the one we are hosting Friday, May 27, 2016 in Budva, Montenegro. Follow #dzemsesija to listen in and join the discussion.

Where do we Džem?

In the States, Jelly (džem) began in someone’s New York City apartment, so there is no reason why you could not start in your home. Except, one of your reasons to start Džem may be to get away from home! So if you prefer to find another venue this is what you need:

  • A central, easy to find location that won’t charge for room rental
  • Free FAST WiFi
  • Enough outlets for everyone or laptop batteries will run out before Džem is over
  • A room with table space, either several small tables or a large one everyone can sit round
  • A constant supply of drinks + food, although Džemers can always bring their own snacks or step out for them

You can consider coffee shops (but, remember that they can be noisy and may get very busy at peak times), established coworking spaces, offices, business centers or community halls. People tend to either catch on immediately, or they just don’t get it at all. Let’s hope you are talking to the enlightened. 🙂

How do we publicize Džem?

Once you have your venue arranged and a date agreed:

  • Create a Facebook event and briefly explain what Džem is, who it is for, where it will be and when you are hoping to start.
  • Spread the word among friends, colleagues, clients, anyone who might be interested or know people who would be interested. Likely prospects – anyone who works in IT, writers, editors, coaches, trainers, people whose work is portable and who need some company.
  • Share on Twitter – tweet about your forthcoming #dzemsesija and ask your followers to retweet! Do the same on Linkedin and Snapchat.

How do we make Džem?

Contact the venue a couple of days before the event to confirm time and other details. Ask a coffee shop to put “reserved” signs on the tables designated for Džem to avoid moving customers already settled there.

Arrive at the venue with plenty of time to check furniture, WiFi passwords, etc. Bring extra mugs, power strips and a flipchart to write up the day’s WiFi password where everyone can easily see it. Write up hashtags like #coworking, #dzemsesija, the venue’s Twitter name, etc. for those who will be tweeting. Get Twitter users to write their Twitter names on the flipchart when they arrive, so others can tweet about who is there and find new people to follow. 🙂

Džem is a casual event, so there is no expectation people will turn up at the start time and stay until the end. Džem only needs a light touch, so greet arrivals and if necessary introduce yourself and other Džemers. Džem will take on a life of its own, and each one is different.

We really like the fact that Džem has no organizing body and no rules – anyone with enough enthusiasm for the idea can run their own. Each Džem develops its own character depending on who runs it and who turns up. It is up to you to set the tone and decide what you do and don’t want to happen at your Džem.

We strongly believe in the power of coworking – helping freelancers and people who work-at-home get out of the house, pick up tips, advice and new ideas, and generally, get motivated to run great businesses to support themselves and their families.

We prefer to keep any kind of pitching or selling firmly out of Džem. This is one of the defining features of Džem and, after all, there are masses of networking events where you can network. Know what your position is on that question, and any others that you may feel strongly about, and how you would deal with a situation where your values were being compromised. It will probably never happen, but being prepared will help you feel confident you can deal with any eventuality.

You will find there are times during Džem when everyone is quietly working away, and then suddenly a burst of chatter will erupt! In our opinion, Džem in coffee shops tends to be more social for obvious reasons.

You might actually have to encourage people to leave once Džem is over! The venue may need their space back for a certain time, so keep an eye on the clock. Do a quick look around to make sure that you are leaving the place clean and tidy – tables clear, trash thrown away, chairs under tables, etc. Return windows, radiators, furniture, etc. to how it was when you arrived.

Now you are ready to have an awesome Džem session!



Loves REAL Food & Strong Coffee. ☕️ Finds POSH style & great entertainment. Travels the world as coworking MOM.

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