To all my fellow coworkers - do you actually like working there? Why/ why not?
# Working from home ('free')
Working from home is great for about 6 months, then isolation kicks in and the divide between work and relaxing disappears. Given my situation (single, no kids) I quickly become very lonely. A separate in house office helps for a separation between work and not-work, as long as you have the discipline not to use your office space for something else. (locking your office after work hours helps).
# Renting an office (~1000 eur/month)
Can quickly become lonely as well, and can be quite expensive once you add costs for the cafeteria, internet, insurance etc. It does give you social interaction during lunch breaks, and no disturbance during work. There is also a very distinct separation of work and relax time. I did this for a couple of years, but once again I felt lonely and was craving for social interaction, a.k.a. colleagues.
# Coworking place (~300 eur/month)
This is my current setup, I rent a fixed desk in a large open space. In this space there are about ~8 fixed desks and about 10 flex spaces. We have sound insulated phone booths, so it's usually pretty quiet here. My 'coworkers' don't understand my work but that's ok. I use noise-canceling headphones when I need to concentrate. Personally I love it, it's been my favorite setup so far.
I'm married, have 4 kids, and I never feel lonely at home. I totally get how a single guy / gal with no kids would, though.
I never found any issues with dividing work / life, though. I have a dedicated office, and I believe it's a huge part of it.
I've thought about renting office space so I can have somewhere to go when I really can't be interrupted. But so far, I've been able to work it out.
You have to be consistent with it, though.
However, my biggest source of interruptions when my door is closed is my wife. I keep telling her to only bother me for "important" things, but we have very different definitions of "important". It's a work in progress and getting better everyday. I've considered renting some office space when I really need to focus, but so far I've been able to get enough done that I don't want to trade the benefits for a little more concentration.
They won't LET me get my priorities out of whack. :)
He likes the coworking space because he is lonely and want's a social aspect in his office space.
I prefer to work in an office, because for me it isn't even family at home, it's just too easy to distract myself and be away from my desk at home.
I have kids, so working at home has some downsides, so I've actually been considering renting office space (or a co-working space) to have a couple days where I'm not around my family to get serious work done. I wouldn't go there every day, just; 3 days/week at most.
The smallest room we have (about 2m x 3m), which has a desk (couple of monitors, desktop, etc), a view, a door, a small rack (nothing particularly noisy), couple of cupboards, printer, and a pull down single bed for when mother-in-law stays the night.
So much more productive than if I go into an office and try to work, or try to work from a cafe or train. About the only time I come close to the level of productivity at home is when I have a specific task to do, and I'm on a plane with a decent amount of space and power, on a day flight (say an 11AM flight from Europe to the U.S, or a 9AM flight from India to Europe, with the window up)
An old friend has an even smaller setup, he put up a plywood wall at the end of his utility room, about 1.5m by 2m, and it's great. He has a whiteboard and stuff in view of the webcam for group design sessions.
Before we had kids, working from the kitchen table was fine too -- but I agree if you've got kids running around having a dedicated room does the trick.
I've seen a couple of people saying something along the lines of:
people tend to treat you as if you are "at home" rather than "at work".
I actually think in some ways, the time I spent overhearing her interact with coworkers - especially on conference calls where she often used speakerphone, was really helpful to my professional development. I learned all about setting a professional tone, call-muting etiquette, getting people's attention, and voicing disagreements in a professional setting long before I ever stepped into an office.
Doesn't that sort of betray your point that you're "at work" and not "at home?" I'm asking earnestly. I'm about to have twins and I work full-time from home, for the past 3 years and with no intention of going back to an office or to a co-working space.
I am trying now to get all of these sorts of ground rules decided on, and listed out, so that they can be established shortly after the children arrive.
My wife and most of my family already understand the "at work" vs. "at home" distinction and do their best to respect it on the rare occasions that they're around the house during a work day.
Sometimes, I use a thing called a 'car' and drive to a coffee shop to work. That's only if I am really feeling frisky though and want to get a nice dinner before or after.
The things that really help me:
- Quality wireless headphones
- Putting phone on airplane mode
- A moleskin, Sharpie pens, post-its
- Deleting Facebook, not posting Stories anywhere.
- Only going on Reddit, HN, Twitter for breaks/stuck.
- Drinks lot of water and herbal tea, one cup of coffee.
- Meditate. Write. Breathe. Laugh. Nothing is that serious.
- Take time away for relationships. They are important. lol.
- Not eating too much food, drinking a few times a month, not smoking at all.
Yeah. Worked from home for ~2 years for a company and not once did I ever feel like I was being treated differently.
I don't really get why a lot of people feel this is an insurmountable obstacle. Surely being able to outline your boundaries and people keeping to them is a core component of a healthy relationship?
I don't really get why a lot of people
feel this is an insurmountable obstacle.
1. You start with a bright line demarcation "I work X am to Y pm in the office with no disturbances"
2. You make a change that is totally reasonable, but removes the bright line. "As long as I get my Z hours a week done, of course I can accept occasional interruptions during the day"
After all, why not help your partner with the kids, or get some exercise during the daylight? Everyone is OK with that!
3. Now nobody knows whether it's OK to interrupt you or not.
But this particular issue seems trivially resolvable, as long as you manage expectations appropriately.
In my own experience, my dad randomly worked from home (mainly when his day consisted of calls), and I just never assumed he was free; at least in the sense that I quietly asked, and naturally expected a "give me 10 minutes", and waited an hour before bugging him again.
I'm not a very assertive person. She is a very assertive person. That really doesn't help.
Some people think boundaries are for everyone else. (It didn't help that her mum has always worked from home, and rarely enforced any boundaries.) And at the time, the only desk space was in the middle of a main thoroughfare in the flat.
But yes, totally agree. Those years where there were no boundaries were some of the most stressful of my life. The usual inferiority complex, coupled with thinking "I would get so much more done if I wasn't constantly interrupted" is enough to send you crazy or end relationships.
We survived though. It still isn't always plain sailing, but mostly it's better. I have my own little office space, away from the day-to-day world. And mostly I can keep my door open, and know I'm unlikely to be disturbed.
This is exactly what I get if I try to work in an office.
That said, I do visit an office every few weeks to interrupt people -- it's amazing how much information you can get through occasionally doorstepping people you don't work directly with on a regular basis.
Once my youngest is in school in a couple of years it might become more of an option, but I'd still have the same issue during the holidays.
Basically I need a larger house to really make it work though. A friend of mine has an office-shed in his garden, which would be perfect if we had the space but sadly ours is too small for that.
1) Having my own office:
PROS: no disturbances
CONS: (even) more expensive than you might think, especially once you
factor in heating/internet/coffee. Kind of boring with absolutely
nobody to talk to and nothing going on. Can be a bit weird to invite
PROS: easy to get to work
CONS: more distractions than you might think, especially if you have a
family with small kids, because people tend to treat you as if you are
"at home" rather than "at work". You really need to have a dedicated
space in your house to even consider this. Some expenses (internet,
electricity, general upkeep) are not be tax deductible since you are
at home. Not super good for mental health since there is no real need
to leave the house for days on end, and all your stressful work stuff
becomes associated with your home.
PROS: Nice space, (some) cool people, meeting rooms, a degree of community
CONS: Easy to be "alone in the crowd". You need to make a concerted
effort to make friends, and have people to eat lunch with.
From the begining we set strict rules: my office is off place: nobody except of me can go inside, kids are taught that when I am inside I am not home and they just can't see me. I am also not going inside my office outside of my business hours.
With those rules in place it feels like having office outside with minimal commute.
My experience with working from home: suddenly you're doing all those household chores that you're always putting off. There's certainly some advantage to that, but it's funny how it works.
I don't understand this. There are certainly benefits (being in when parcels are delivered for example), but the extra hour a day of not commuting (the average US commute is tiny!) gives you time to do chores, not to mention the extra time while you cook lunch where you could empty the dishwasher or whatever, much better than queuing for an overpriced sandwich for trader joes.
Some people have the discipline to ignore such distractions and stick to their work, but not everybody does. I certainly work better when I'm near others who do similar work, so that's the work situation I look for.
That said, it's incredibly hard for me to get anything done in a noisy environment with no visual barriers and so many wantrepreneurs around. I like the coffee, camaraderie and event spaces, but for most days, working from home is sufficient.
Employees might need to share resources, for example, as was the case when I worked in a VR-related startup with a limited amount of headsets.
For your regular webdev based business or similar, I agree with your statement though.
But at the end of the day, it boils down to accountability. I realized it is actually really hard to stay focused and motivated to meet your goals when you have so much freedom.
What I mean is that by you actually paying for a co-working space, it creates accountability and the fact that you are paying it, forces you to go. It is a mind thing and that is a value you can’t ignore.
So it’s a catch-22.
I learned in school that gyms sell more memberships than their facilities have space to support. People think that by buying a membership, they're locking themselves into going and working out because they're paying for it.
Sometimes, however, people conflate paying for the gym membership as actually going to the gym, and then don't go at all.
But yes, as you said: it boils down to accountability.
I just don't see the co-working space as necessary, and since the library provides almost the exact same amount of services for free I really can't justify it. I have considered paying for a private office, but it kind of feels silly to pay for something that is halfway between and office and a library. If you really need to get a office with an address, just go all in and rent an office!
If you do plan on coming out, I suggest making a full day out of it by also visiting the Huntington Beach pier (PCH & Main Street) or the newer Pacific City (PCH & 1st). The area becomes a real scene during the summer, and becomes insane during the US Open (late July).
Can attest to fact that coworking spaces in Metro US (NYC,DC,Boston) can be very crowded. My experience is somewhat limited as I typically attend during events. But have noticed the ratio of work to non-work socializing tends to be well below parity. Terrific for networking, though.
One simple hack is if you are in proximity of your college alma mater, you can obtain alumni library privileges. Typically under $100 per annum. Some facilities are open 24/7. And going when majority of students are on break you have the whole place to yourself. Surrounded by that familiar scent of decaying tomes. And you can always seek inspiration by wandering the stacks.
My ideal space would have all the requirements of a modern software foundry, but still be steps from Nature. Colorado. Or perhaps a remote beach in Chile, with easy access to mountains and hiking and skiing. There is no better mental refreshment or rejuvenation than that!
The biggest issue is that they're all open plan and all of them have music playing all the time, both of which suck. One of them had private offices as well, but they were tiny and window-less and didn't have height-adjustable anything; as 195cm guy that's not going to work.
In general I find that after working from home for two years that I'm really struggling with a "real" office environment. I'm just so used at being able to control my environment now that going back to an office feels terribly constricting.
What I now tend to prefer are other cafes frequented by other designers and developers, or new private member clubs. These clubs offer a lot of stimulus for freelancers and you're surrounded by people of various different fields, which sparks interesting discussions.
Could you elaborate on how cafes frequented by other designers and developers, or even private member clubs, differ from coworking spaces? I'm ignorant and am unclear how coworking spaces would not also offer a lot of stimulus for freelancers and not let you be surrounded by people of various different fields, which sparks interesting discussions.
It seems like the distractions are the same, just in one locale, the distractions are attractive, while in the other locale, the distractions are not attractive, and I'm not clear why this would be the case.
I'm sure a coworking space could maybe screen their candidates and employ a deep work culture. But so far they are focussed on free coffee, big TVs with Playstations, beer on tap and ping pong tables.
However, I like it much better than working from home because I want to completely separate my work and home environments. This way, I can develop a different mindset in each environment, as opposed to a weird hybrid of always-relaxing/alway-working if I try to work from home. Also, I'm the type of person that simply can't focus at home because:
1. it's too quiet
2. there's always a couch/bed for a "quick" nap
3. there's always an excuse to do household things instead of work
On the other hand, I know the moment I get into the office, #2 and #3 aren't possible and there are other people working their butts off, and that's helped my productivity.
Granted, I think a majority of research on open-floor offices actually shows that it's detrimental to both productivity and socializing: http://find.xyz/map/effectiveness-of-open-floor-plans.
Maybe I'm just the exception (or maybe I'm just fooling myself into thinking I'm productive), but anecdotally I'd say working in a coworking space has been a net-positive for me.
It has lightened my stress significantly by accepting it. There are days that I "work" 16 hours broken into 2 hour chunks with 30 to 60 minute breaks. And there are days where I'm hyper productive and work for 5 or 6 hours straight. I like the flexibility. I always felt stressed when in an office and needing to "be productive" for 8 hours (well...6).
It definitely helps if your employer truly embraces remote work vs. just "work from home but keep your normal hours and be available for phone calls just like if I were to stop by your desk randomly"
Damn I haven't worked on a desk for months. I've even bought external monitor to improve my perf and sit more, but couch/beanbag wins me all the time...
I built a 2x3m shed/office. Windows are second hand double glazed windows from gumtree. Power and ethernet are cables tacked to house, under a path and then running over ground under hedge. I used fallen branches from a local park to make a little fence so I cant run lawnmower over cables.
Heating was tricky. I landed with a 500w electric heater and raspberry pi as a thermostat. Optical relay and temerature sensor cost about £5. I have a cron job checking the temerature every 2 minutes and turning heater on/off for a target temperature. Some old computer fans blow the hot air at my feet.
Been working out there happily for 3 years.
Coworking for me is the worst from both private world (home office or private office) and public world (like coffee shop. In coworking I am easily distracted by people walking around and am not really comfortable just talking myself loud or pacing around. Something I really like to do when designing new systems or trying to debug some complicated case.
Everybody is different, but for me and my line of work I like to work in my dedicated home office and then, maybe once a week, go out to my local coffee shop for a hour where I do planning, reading or some admin work. When I have to do a lot of thinking/planning I usually take a tram to downtown area and just spend day walking and visiting various coffee shops.
I am sure it is not for everybody and there is very little social time during my days, but I have enough social time outside of work.
At least if you work in a company open office, your boss tries to prevent it from happening.
I focus much better out of the house, I get a _lot_ of value and sanity out of the day to day social bits that I'd otherwise miss out on outside of an office environment, and I don't find it particularly distracting.
Good noise cancelling headphones especially have worked great for me - I've got Jabra Evolve 80s bought by a previous employer, and they've super effective. It helps that it's only light background chatter at worse - the culture where I am is pretty clear about not having any more than that at the desks (go get a meeting room, or go chill out in the cafe instead).
WeWork is the noisiest fuckig shit show in existence.
What's even more hilarious? Our door locks seized closed for a couple of days, and their fix was to just open all of the locks and leave the entire WeWork unlocked with a single security guard there during business hours. Ridiculous.
I have never overheard a conversation in an adjacent office. You can sometimes hear what people in the hallway are saying, which doesn't bother me at all.
Not to mention that all the research indicates this turns out to be cheaper than open plan / cubicle / pod / etc. layouts after factoring in productivity losses from those layouts.
A lot depends on the particulars of the coworking space. One space I worked in ( https://www.grandcentraltech.com/ ) was laid out not as one giant space, but rather conference rooms broke up the space so that desks were in clusters of 12-18. It was a nice balance between not paying a premium for your own room while also dealing with the noise that comes from a completely wide open space.
You do need to think about security a bit differently. Our startup was a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), and to test out our tech we had a whole bunch of phones. As much as possible, we had to keep them locked up.
The first start-up I worked for was before coworking spaces were as big a deal. The space was tolerable, but not great.
DOJO in Kuala Lumpur stands out to me as a co-working space with an excellent culture.
I don’t use them regularly however, because I think they’re quite expensive.
It’s often much better to work from a library. Libraries are usually quiet, and in many cases free to enter, very beautiful, and have no social pressure to buy things every so often.
The biggest offenders are the one-man call centres with the hipster startup crowd coming a close second.
Ironically, there is always a clause in the agreement about not causing a disturbance but, in my experience, it's never enforced.
I was fortunate once to get an office in an architect's studio in Spain for 120 euro a month, everything included. He simply had too much space and was happy for someone else just to make a contribution to monthly overheads. Although I could work behind a closed door it was nice to have the odd casual chat and to have someone to say good morning to.
Unfortunately, he owned the whole building and decided to update the lift and staircase (we were on the top floor) and after 4 months of banging a drilling with no sign of progress I simply lost patience and left.
So yeah, a private office is ideal but it isn't always the end of your problems.
Every single time someone gets up and walks around, they are in my line of sight, and the movement distracts me. When people argue or cough or speak, it is distracting. All of that takes me out of Raphael's 'sleeping while being awake' that is when I write my best code.
The alternative is to face away from everyone else, meaning my monitor is visible to everything, which causes my brain to flip out a little bit and makes me feel like I'm being watched over, which isn't good for concentration either.
At my last job, we had a room with desks set up with monitors, and I would usually hide away there -- at least on the days I didn't work from home. Unfortunately I think my manager would look around and assume that I simply was working from home. In my opinion being present at the office is an ancillary issue that is orthogonal to what the company actually wants from me, which is effective communication and well-written code and documentation with good task-execution.
Really, the only drawback is that I don't have a dedicated space because all the offices are full right now. I thrive in noisy environments and many of the drawbacks (visual barriers, wantrepreneurs, slow internet) for others don't apply in my case.
Also, I helped open this space (the only one in a city of ~100,000) and have been involved in the community from the beginning.
EDIT: I've worked in a few coworking spaces around the US and these pros/cons still generally apply for me.
I've found that working from home for too long tends to build "cabin fever" in me. I start itching to get out of the house on weekends and meet some people.
I don't like co-working spaces, especially since the ones near me don't have quiet private offices. And I still haven't gotten around to the awkwardness of the "community" meetups where everyone puffs up and exaggerates what they do.
But as for now, that's the only alternative I have to working from home.
But I also enjoy any change in general, even if the environment is objectively worse. I'm more productive in a day working from car service waiting room than on a normal day after a week at home. Or in a cafe. Or on a train/plane. Or other much weirder places. (Even if I'm using my laptop actually on my lap, in a terrible seat) I have a great, comfortable setup at home - but the occasional change really helps.
1. They're usually too noisy, meaning it's easy to hear the entire floor from any office or seating area located there. This is especially bad with loud sales teams (which quite a few startups will need).
2. The reliability of the infrastructure is poor compared to an office you yourself own/rent. Seriously, in the last WeWork I was in, we had the internet go down for hours twice, the microwave explode three times, the toilets fail or have issues on a semi regular basis and keycards stop working for people every other week or so. We also had them refuse to provide the latter for larger teams, so hey, some poor shmuck got stuck sitting in reception till someone else came in.
3. Just dealing with so many others in a small environment is annoying in of itself.
But hey, not sure whether those issues are more with coworking as a concept or certain ones being really poorly managed/maintained.
* The noise levels are crazy, and we're not even in an open office plan. We share a wall with a conference room and I swear they must be made of tissue paper because it feels like 20+ people are in my little 3 person block every other day. The isolation from the other glass offices isn't great either.
* There's a lot of little things I took for granted from my old, cubicled gig, like eating at your desk. I'm a big proponent of actually eating in the break room, but you can't here. They've got hundreds of people per floor, but only a handful of tables, which are of course being used by people working or having impromptu meetings. But you can't bring your food into your office, because anything outside of a cold mayonnaise sandwich is going to stink up your little three person fishbowl to high heaven.
* Our whole building feels weirdly cramped. The kitchen in particular, only has enough room for two folks to stand next to each other at a time. Is someone heating their food while another person gets a glass of water? Congratulation, you better sit down and crack open a book and hope the coffee's still warm when you're able to get to the other side.
* Dogs. I get, I do. I love dogs. Great, furry, lovable little fucks. I don't like having to constantly look underfoot to make sure sure I'm not accidentally stepping on a labradoodle tail that's dangling out into the hallway. I don't like dobermans begging me for food at lunch. I don't like having to fight a golden retriever because I'm trying to get some damn ice and it's real, real curious about what's inside this vibrating box. I don't like having a goddamn chihuahua walk in under my toilet stall door.
* The lighting system in ours is also a nightmare. Too bright when it's on. No memory, you can't set a permanent dim and even if you could this causes it to buzz quite audibly. But the worst part is that it turns on when it detects movement and turns off when it doesn't, with no way to shut this behavior off. I'm usually the first into the office so that first hour... code for a few minutes lights go off take a sip of water lights immediately go on* code for a few minutes lights go off etc, etc, etc.
I will admit I prefer it to exclusively working from home. We tried that and by week 3 the loneliness was overwhelming (though you definitely still feel lonely when the people around you aren't coworkers either.)
It also reminded me of another issue (which may or may not be a general WeWork issue). Lifts/elevators. I swear these things are programmed in the least useful ways possible in these buildings, since they seem to think the floor with the reception area is more important than anywhere else in the building. So you'll be on say floor 3, request a lift, notice one's at floor 4, then notice said lift goes to floor 7 first for reasons no one quite knows.
I initially started to go to a coworking space in order to get more focus than when working form home.
I got the following extra benefits by coworking:
* built a network
* made friends
* found clients
* found providers and partners
* found inspiration
I tried about a dozen spaces in different cities and countries. Experience may greatly vary from one space to the other. Find one that fits you.
1. Working from home
This is possibly the worst decision I've made because, the disconnect between work and leisure disappears and either of the two things will happen - you will either end up working 24/7 or you will relax more often than you would in a proper office environment.
If you have a large house with an office room in the ground floor and the rest of your rooms upstairs, it can work. But then, there is very little friction to stop you from moving out of that room to watch TV, play with your dog, etc.
The other thing is it's super hard to control external distractions - like guests visiting, delivery guys, etc.
I don't recommend working from home if you can avoid it. But I do understand not everyone can afford office spaces and home offices are basically free.
2. Proper office spaces
I rented out an office space with a provider for about a year. It was very expensive and on top of a city center, but the experience was amazing. I had a private room for myself with a really beautiful view of the beach nearby. There was a receptionist I hired, who would take care of and filter out all the noise. I had absolute tranquility and was very, very productive.
In my view, this is the best bang for your buck as when clients visit your office, they know you're not joking around and you have proper office space that gives them the confidence, especially if they're corporates.
3. Co-working spaces
The idea seems nice on paper, but it was really terrible. It's only terrible because I have to pay money for it. It's literally a Starbucks experience you pay $300-400 per month for. People will fight for charging ports, talk so loud, keep interrupting you for random reasons, etc.
I absolutely think co-working spaces have the least value for money. In fact the co-working space owners know this themselves, which is why you will often see them try to attract customers by saying they host events, invite investors every month, things like that. But, the value isn't there for me.
4. Coffeeshops and Public libraries
These days, I'm on constant travel and hence I usually find out the nearest public libraries and take my laptop there. Usually they have ample space, so I'm not taking away any readers' space and it's dead silent and as a bonus you get free Wi-Fi too. The next best alternative is Starbucks, but you better invest in a good noise cancellation headphone (I use a Bose).
Why would I want to deal with the same open office problems? Smelly perfume, still loud with headphone and nosy people.
* It's a physical space away from home. That helps create a mental separation which helps me focus.
* You're around people in the same grind as you. When I was working on a startup, I could share war stories with other founders.
* Leads - when I started consulting, I got my first couple leads from others in the co-working space.
* Signaling - if you're a business, it's important to signal that you run a professional establishment. Sometimes I'll book a meeting room with a new client at the space just to signal this.
* They can be noisy, especially if you are around sales folks. I've only been to open seating spaces however so my view is limited.
* They can be costly. I lucked out here - I used to pay $400/month for a dedicated desk in NYC and I pay $150/month now for a floating desk. These prices are way below the norm for the area.
All in all, worth it IMO.
My first though was before starting my startup to move out of SV somewhere cheaper, like Utah. But the idea came to me when I was searching properties online if you go 30-45mins outside of SF you gain most of the benefits of moving out of SF ie. lower rent, more open spaces, etc. and with little to no cost ie. losing proximity to SF, I'm a quick drive away, now where as if I lived in Utah I'd have to book a flight every time and probably wouldn't meet with any people, visit companies etc.
I also work late at night so that I have a lot of overlap with the US (I'm in Thailand.) There are plenty of 24 hour coworking spaces here, and it's very safe to walk around at night, but I just prefer to be at home.
I'd probably spend a lot more time there if I was single. And I might go more often if I was in Canada / US / South America. Then I could have normal working hours at a coworking space and go home in the evening. I might also try to hire some people in the US to handle support and sales for my startup during business hours, and then I could work normal hours in Thailand, and I would spend more time at coworking spaces.
I find myself more productive when working next to other people, from time to time. One of their coworking offices is for quiet working only (no talking) and it’s easy to focus. I also get in touch with a lot of interesting and motivated people, in particular from startups, which is also a motivation for me.
Edit: I think it boils down to two things: being and staying motivated and getting in touch with people. And I think the building is gorgeous!
It's new banking concept and partnership with Peet's Coffee. They provide a completely free coworking space for anyone.
And if you use your cap one card, you get 50% on all drinks.
Plus you get to network with other business owners.
Great working space.
Where I live the average price of a coworking space is 200 eur/month (hot desk). That's 10 eur/day (working days only). If you stay in the same cafe for 4-5 hours (which often is more than enough) you'll probably spend less (unless you always take a MochaPumpkinSpiceChristmasEasterChocolateCherryMatchaLatte).
It's really not that hard to be a decent customer. The only places I don't apply the checklist to are big chains (Starbucks, Costa, etc.). But they won't mind. I worked from countless cafes and never had a single complaint.
Once I worked in the same cafe for 2 months straight. After a couple of weeks the owner would literally invite me to stay as long as I wanted without even worrying about ordering anything. Regular customers really are an asset to a small business.
Plus another customer has no way of knowing how long someone was in the cafe' and he/she should be annoyed with all customers, not just the ones who have a laptop open.
TL;DR: be a decent customer and nobody will get mad at you for bootstrapping your startup from a cafe'.
That said, I've not yet tried co-working in my current city, and a mate has kicked off a co-working space there, so I'm tempted to give it a go, partly to see if the experience differs, but also just to support the venture.
Mostly though, working in isolation (from home, or in a quiet office) is the best thing for me. After reading this thread though, I should probably invest in some really good noise cancelling headphones.
Yes, the separation of work and home is nice (and I walk to work, so a beneficial commute), but the networking opportunities and ability to meet in-person that the co-working space affords is invaluable as an entrepreneur. There are so many opportunities that "just happen" when you're in a space like this that I would miss out on being at home.
The open plan one was great for networking but distracting as all hell.
The private office one had glass walls (so minimal actual privacy), but nobody met anyone so there was no sense of community and the communal spaces (like kitchens) were a shit-show.
I have little difficulty concentrating at home, so I see little advantage in a co-working space. The communal one might be nice to have an occasional membership to for those days when you’re feeling social and home is too lonely.
Or, you arrive one day and your "usual table" is taken. Or that each time you get up to use the bathroom, you risk giving up your table to someone looking for a place to sit. Or that after a week or so, the baristas know you by name and you start feeling self-conscious about your squatting.
All these things seem small but can erode away your potential productivity.
I think a meetup for remote workers once a week is probably best for me. I just haven't had the motivation to build that that :-/
Richmond as a city is good. It's a small city, but I am from Salt Lake City so that's fine by me. There is enough to do here without the hustle and bustle.
We have are usually 6-8 people in one room and it's not very noisy.
I like to have people around that work in the same field as me, but are not part of my company.
Also, we have coworking wide lunch or talks a few times per month, so you get to know the people and their startups. It's quite interesting in my opinion.
I'm also the kind of person that prefers talking in person to voice/video chat.
The coffee is also quite good there.
That said, I think the benefits are worth it.
Pricing-wise, from experience, the most expensive are rarely the best ones. Sometimes the free section of the coworking space is somewhat better than the paid section even (depends on a lot of factors, it makes it much easier to work with other people).
I work in a shared office, but sometimes I'm the only person from my company there.
So you can end up feeling like you are in someone elses office, especially if you are surrounded by larger teams. There is also very little to no interaction between teams, so when you are sitting there on your own a lot you can start to feel like the weird outsider.
If I _need to concentrate_ on something, I'll work from my office or home.
Has anyone here had experience with Breather.com?
I work from home but would really like to tap into that "private space" vibe now and then. Regus is available here but it feels like going to the "PC room" in 1999.
One nice alternative I've found is go to work to public libraries. One particular one in Auckland university has amazing ocean view and is completely free and quiet!
If you can find a good deal on a space, there is no reason you can’t have your cake and eat it too.
- Less distractions (especially when kids are home)
- Can make friends with other coworkers
- I enjoy having a (very short) commute to make a clear separation between work and not-work
Have been in WeWork spaces and other coworking spaces.
Absolutely yes, whether through chance meetings, networking events (ugh) or just common interests and meeting naturally.
Unfortunately most of the coworking spaces I've been at made bringing guests (and more than one) for more than an hour or two kind of a pain - which is fair, that seems like an abuse of the space.
I have had a lot of luck with hosting "Hack Nights" in my living room. I tell everyone to bring something to work on, and I provide food and beer/wine/tea/coffee. I've had people show up with their music synths and work on composing while someone else works on their drawing, and someone else codes. It's reasonably productive time and people who need help or opinions can easily seek them out from others at the same time.
The hack night concept works nicely because there's no pressure to work on the thing you're known for. If you're a genius programmer from 9-5, there's no reason you can't bring your scifi writing setup to work on instead. You still get to be a resource for others, while not just extending your own work day.
Or to put it another way: you're saving yourself money but (potentially) at the expense of the cafe owner who loses walk-in customers b/c his place is filled with barely-paying squatters.
If the place has such a problem, they can mitigate it ofc. For example, you can limit the chargers for example (or arrange tables in a fashion that would limit it). Then the amount of squatters would be limited.
Also, as another commenter said, you can just turn the wifi down (or limit the time). You can even charge for the wifi.
Charging for the Wi-Fi would probably have a greater effect, plus additional revenue stream, but then would this negatively impact the experience of other more casually sitting customers.
I would be curious to see the coffee purchase numbers for a working squatter vs other customers. If someone sits in a coffee shop for 6 to 10 hours a day, I can't imagine them buying only one coffee. People can get thirsty throughout the day. And if they get hungry too, well, that's additional revenue if the working squatter doesn't want to lose their spot just because they went for lunch. Or maybe they're on a roll, and can't afford to risk breaking their zone by going to a restaurant.
To determine whether the working squatter has a higher or lower sales per hour number would probably also depend on the cafe's sitting customer turnover per hour.
Some cafés are usually busy, and there is social pressure to not be taking up space for other paying customers.
Some cafés are not very busy, and having some remote workers inside will at least make it look like a functioning business, attracting other paying customers.
It’s up to the remote worker to use some discretion in assessing the situation of the café they’re frequenting.
what do you buy? 8 lattes or 8 pastries a day, every day, doesn't sound healthy...
Free, silent, no pressure for buying a coffee or having to leave your spot for other people.
Cafe owners are free to allow laptop users or ask people to stay for a short time.
A minus from coworking spaces is that your subject to its own environment, sometimes you have to much noise and so on... for instance, the place were I use to stay is excellent but they have the radio on all day, what sometimes annoys me!
Summing up, I like to have a desk on a cowork which I use most of the days but also being able to work sometimes alone at home or on a coffee and even on a client's office, together with the client/team.
Home-office, cafes, parks and libraries have been my offices of choice as a remote worker for the past decade.