An empirical case of how much value I discovered in coworking:
Recently, my husband was traveling to Phoenix for a few days to attend a conference for his work. I tagged along with him as a quasi-vacation knowing I’ll still experience Phoenix albeit remotely working. As a freelancer, I was envisioning working from the hotel until he gets back each day. It sounds great, right? I could work from a hotel pool, the room itself, even from a bar in the hotel… whatever fits my mood! However…
First day. I woke up early, around 7am, meandered over to breakfast in a hotel lobby, took a coffee to go (I survive on coffee!), and hiked back to my room. I dug up the WIFI information, set up my tiny workstation, and kickstarted my day. While writing in Trello (great communication tool, by the way) for my assistant, my computer dropped the connection and I lost my last paragraph. I reconnected to the same WIFI, wrote it again and wouldn’t you know? I lost it again. I hiked downstairs to ask what’s happening with their internet. No surprise, they defaulted to “I have no idea, looks fine to me!”. Okay, sure… I went upstairs and proceeded to carefully save EVERYTHING I did lest I lose anything. While online, I would copy or save as I went. Of course, once I was ready to send a file to my client – that didn’t work at all. I switched to working on anything that didn’t need the internet for the rest of the day.
Second day. I woke up early, around 7am, went for breakfast again. This time, though, I asked for recommendations for a coffee shop around the hotel. They informed me there was Starbucks (of course) across the street. Great! I decided to work there that day – guessing, or hoping, they had better internet and bonus, a more exciting vibe. And they did! I was enjoying a latte, knocking out emails, I sent and received files, basically, getting stuff done. After about 2h I was still in the coffee shop but without a $5 coffee anymore, and I wasn’t remotely hungry or thirsty. But hey, I was still using their space and their internet! Hmmm… That’s all good, but eventually you feel uncomfortable – at least I do – so, I decided to order another coffee. Rinse. Repeat. And two hours later? Yeah, still in Starbucks, done with my drink, feeling awkward. Back to the hotel for me. And yes, their internet was slow or not working at all. Again.
Let’s just say this: The whole day I just needed to find a good place to work. Hmmm…
Third day. I went to visit Co+Hoots, a coworking, shared office space in Phoenix. The community manager gave me a tour, showed me their hot (open) seats, loaded me up with complimentary coffee, snacks, personally explained the WIFI setup, and asked me to reach out if I need anything else at all. I grabbed a steaming cup of coffee, found a comfortable seat, connected my laptop, and pounced into my work. After a couple of hours, I walked around the coworking space to stretch, and a friendly coworker started up a conversation after noticing that I am new there, to find out what I do, etc. – long story short, we are both designers, we talked about logo design resources and we exchanged our contact information. I went back to work and felt great! Internet was super-fast, I met a new person and networked, and was more productive that morning than the last two whole days! It gets better: Later, someone came to visit me asking me if I want to do push-ups… I was like “What!?”. Yes, push-ups. I said okay, tell me more – always curious! This space literally does 2min push-ups together as team building every day. Cool concept in my book, and everyone loved it! First, they force people to leave their computers, second, to meet other coworkers which I did, third, they are building the community. And the best part is that all those people there are either entrepreneurs or freelancers just like myself. Coworking was amazing!
Are you based in Austin, tired of spotty internet and endless coffee purchases, and feeling a similar call to cowork?
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