Finding Connection in Cowork

by Nov 2, 2020

Crossposted from the Herald-Times, this is Executive Director Pat East’s regular column

As the pandemic rolls on, one thing is clear: we need a cure for more than COVID itself. We need cures for our weakened economy, and we need cures for the cumulative effects of isolation. Here at The Mill, Bloomington’s nonprofit center for entrepreneurship and cowork, we’re doing our part to help.

We’re celebrating our second birthday in November, and in two short years our entrepreneurial ecosystem has grown tremendously. But what the last six months have taught us is how much energy we get from our coworking community. Here at The Mill, we’re weathering COVID together, and that makes all the difference. If you’re running out of literal and emotional bandwidth working at home, now is a great time to join The Mill and cowork with us. 

What is cowork? Coworking brings people together under one roof to share resources, ideas, and community. You bring your laptop downtown to The Mill, grab some free Hopscotch coffee, find a desk that suits your mood for the day, and get to work. And when you’re ready for a break, our smart, friendly community of members is here to give a second opinion, a referral, or just a little small talk. These daily connections go a long way toward taking the edge off of working during a pandemic—and some of those connections spark exciting new opportunities and startups, too.

This is a special space, and you feel that the minute you walk in. Our century-old building was once part of the Showers Brothers furniture complex, where men and women built the future of Bloomington. The future is still being built here, in pixels, algorithms, patents, innovations, artificial intelligence, fresh ideas, and old-fashioned ingenuity. When the City of Bloomington renovated our building, they turned a piece of shared history into the cornerstone of a new economy. The design and construction teams outdid themselves. They married the old with the new, preserving the wood floors and exposed brick, carefully selecting the materials to define the work spaces and create common areas that spark connections. It’s just plain beautiful, and we love showing it off to guests and sharing it with new members.

Not sure you’d fit in? Our members are diverse in every way. They’re creatives, freelancers, entrepreneurs, students, professors, nonprofit leaders, fledgling startups, techies, remote workers for big corporations, and small businesses. If you want an energizing place to work, with fast WiFi, good coffee, natural light, a chair that doesn’t kill your back, a printer that works, and good company, you belong at The Mill. And then you become part of the community giving back, through your membership fees that support our entrepreneurial programming, and through your unique contributions to the conversations here.

Concerned about COVID safety? The Mill is proud to be a leader in coronavirus protocols. It’s easy to spread out in our 19,000 square-foot facility. Sanitizing stations are always at hand. Special UV lights in the HVAC system bake out viruses. Best of all, our members have committed to following practices that create a safer space for all of us.

If you haven’t visited The Mill, I hope you will soon. We’re located downtown, across from Uplands: look for the iconic sawtooth roof. Visit our website,, to get a pass for a free day.