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Ask HN: Do you enjoy working in a coworking space?
148 points by optimmal 22 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 158 comments
Coworkings are still on the rise and people from startups, freelancers, and corporates are moving in.

To all my fellow coworkers - do you actually like working there? Why/ why not?

I've been a solo dev for about 7 years now, these are my findings:

# 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 think your specific situation has a HUGE impact on how much you'll enjoy working from home.

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.

@emilcantin that really depends. I know many people who want to go to an office just to be around other people than just their SO and kids.

My biggest problem is getting interrupted by my spouse and kids, but that happened before with my coworkers, so I consider this an upgrade. Sometimes interruptions are welcome, sometimes they're not.

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.

I'm in the same situation. Renting small office, alone. When I need to work, I'm going to the office. Can't work from home - kids don't distinguish work hours from family hours. Having separate place for work is mental healthy.

I guess it's a matter of education. My kids know when I'm at work; I close my door. Doesn't mean they never bother me, but it's not too bad. When they do, I simply tell them no. My youngest still has a hard time with this, but she's only ~15 months old.

You have to be consistent with it, though.

I've heard of people making a name tag so their kids know when they're working, even if they're not in the office (e.g. taking a small break).

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.

I was going to come here and say this, but you beat me to it. I work from home, and also have children.

They won't LET me get my priorities out of whack. :)

So we complained about open offices back in the day, but compared to isolation, most people end up going back to a big open space with humans talking? :)

We still complain about open offices, the GP even said he has to use noise cancelling headphones.

He likes the coworking space because he is lonely and want's a social aspect in his office space.

Agreed, I think there are benefits to either or both... I prefer to have people around, but use noise cancelling headphones when head-down coding (so to speak) and don't want interruptions.

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.

All one or the other is bad. When you work at home, you can choose when you go to the office vs staying 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.

Nah, I just work from home, you don't need a lot of space.

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".
This is simply a failure on behalf of the person working to just say no. Nobody treats me as if I'm "at home".

I've worked from home for 11 years. Wife and I established from the beginning that we cannot treat it as if I'm "at home". I now have 7 children. Occasionally there are some disruptions, but generally speaking, if you layout the ground rules early, it doesn't have to be a problem. Routine trips to the grocery store, helping with the homeschooling, and brief tickle sessions help to not be isolated in my case.

Yep, my Mom worked from home fairly often when my sister and I were growing up, and it was actually a really positive experience overall. We learned early on how to respect her boundaries (ie, keep noise levels reasonable, pass notes if we need something when she's on the phone and wait patiently for her to write back) and she communicated to us frequently, ie - letting us know when she was going to have a particularly long call or when she was planning on finishing up so we could help her get ready for dinner. We weren't home schooled though, so it was just typically afternoons after the bus dropped us off (3PM - 6PM) or during the summer / school holidays, so that probably made it more bearable.

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.

> Routine trips to the grocery store, helping with the homeschooling, and brief tickle sessions help to not be isolated in my case.

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.

As a father of 5, I see these as the exceptions that prove the rule. Aside from these moments, there are few interruptions, so he gets to pick them or manages them, just as those of us at the office also know when an impromptu visit to the store or call with family will not disrupts our work or that of others on our team. We're not robots, after all, we need to be human/parents/children once in a while during our 8 hours service.

This right here. On the occasion I go out of town to meet up with coworkers, we break to play foosball or just take a 10 minute walk outside. That doesn't mean that all we do is break. Same thing goes for family at home. With clear communication even my 2 and 3 year olds get it. Daddy is working and every once in a while he comes out to see how everyone is doing, talk for a few minutes and then back at it.

I've grown very accustomed to being the only person in the house during normal working hours. This is a really keen insight and puts it in to perspective for me. Thanks for that.

I like working from home too. When I absolutely need some fresh air and a change of scenery, I walk to the library through a wooded park behind my neighborhood.

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.

>> This is simply a failure on behalf of the person working to just say no. Nobody treats me as if I'm "at home".

Yeah. Worked from home for ~2 years for a company and not once did I ever feel like I was being treated differently.

I believe the grandparent comment was in regards to people in your home treating you as if you were "at home". This means your kids/spouse would ask you to do something for them that they wouldn't do if you were "at work". I can agree with him though, that if you're working from home, you need to be able to tell people that no, you can't unload the dishwasher, you're "at work".

One of my parents did this for years, so going purely from experience it's a matter of good communication: When I'm in my study, I am at work. Do not go in there or disturb me unless the house is on fire. Problem solved.

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.
Simple enough:

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.

I feel like if the interruption amounts to "Are you free right now?" -- "No.", it's not that concerning. It shouldn't be that difficult to build the expectation that if you're in the study, no one should expect you to be free, and if you're out of it, eg taking a break, then they can.

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.

Yeah, from personal experience, I spent two years working remotely from home, then a year in a co-working space with colleagues. It wasn't until I then went back to remote working that my wife finally started to 'get' these boundaries - mostly when I started musing about renting a co-working space!

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.

> "I would get so much more done if I wasn't constantly interrupted"

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.

This is my problem with the idea of working from home at the moment. While we do have a spare room I could use, I think the possiblity for distraction would be too significant.

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.

Ahh thank you - yes, I did have a bit of that problem but my wife did help out a lot to shield me from kids etc.

That sounds mega depressing and lonely though.

Then it might not be for you, and that's fine. We're all different. And you may manage it differently to make it not as negative for you.

Very true. I didn’t mean to sound negative. I tried it for a while and it really wasn’t for me.

I've tried these 3 things:

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
   people over.

2) Working from home:

   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.

3) Working in a coworking space:

   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.

I do work from home and am father of two small kids (3 and 1 years), both kids and my wife are stayign at home.

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.

Same. It's good to set up certain rituals - a hug, kiss on the cheek. Whenever 'leaving' for work and 'coming home'. It helps when drawing the line on some gray area things, like going to the bathroom and grabbing a sandwich.

How do you get around the problem of not leaving the house? I find that the biggest reason I go back to co-working is that it gives me an excuse to walk to the metro station and just be in the open air.

I always had hobies: I used to be into live music A LOT: I went out to gigs like 5 or 6 times a week, then there was always some friends around, wine tastings, mountain hiking or random trips on weekends. I have small kids now, so I dont go out very often but there is always hiking on weekends and I spend one day a week on my wine farm.

This is great advice. How long have you had this arrangement?

Since our first kid was born, so for them it is just natural way of life.

Some people prefer working completely alone, some people have the discipline to avoid all the distractions at home, but for those who don't, coworking spaces are a pretty good compromise.

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.

> My experience with working from home: suddenly you're doing all those household chores that you're always putting off.

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.

People aren't that rational. Lots of people are very good at finding excuses to put off work. Find reasons to put off household chores, or use household chores as an opportunity to put off something else they should be doing.

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.

Coworking spaces aren't about work. As a small business owner who uses a coworking space, my perspective is that it's about signaling that you are a real business with a business address. Working from home may work for freelancers or online only businesses, but the second you start signing contracts or having meetings, you need a professional space to be taken seriously.

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.

That reminds me that one of the co-working space I worked at in Brooklyn had a really cheap plan where you could receive mail there and do a couple other things but not even have a desk. Perhaps look into an option like that?

At that point why not rent a small office? I don't know where you are, but small offices are usually pretty cheap. The thing that gets me about co-working space is that they are pretty expensive compared to normal office rents. The equivalent of studio apartment as an office in a building can be the same price as a co-working space.

Some coworking spaces, especially away from the city center, can be had for the cost of a cheap utility, like $30/month. That's one reason. But these are also privately run and maybe offer a step or two above a public library in terms of services. So there's a spectrum of places to get with features to match.

If all you need is a business address, you are paying for a lot of things you don't need if you are renting a coworking space.

That might depend on your business and/or location.

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.

Sounds like you need to find a better coworking space.

Many accountancies (at least in the UK) will, for a small fee let you use their address as your registered company address, and some will either receive mail on your behalf that you can, or forward it onto you.

I was searching for a new coworking space, and in the process learned that a very large library with gigabit internet existed near me. I love going to this library to work! It has cool water features that mask the noise and they even have dedicated sound proof study rooms I can rent for calls. Check out the awesome funky 70s style architecture: https://www.google.com/search?q=huntington+beach+central+lib...

Yes! There are a few others that are also good, like the one on Santa Monica. I think overall these tend to be better than co-working spaces.

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.

That accountability doesn't work for everybody, of course.

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 also do all my working from the local university library. I have a very hard time concentrating from my home office because being in the house can become too distracting. I never have a hard time motivating myself to get up in the morning and go to the library, it is really nice to walk the mile there each day.

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!

Wow, that's better than a coworking space. You're fortunate!

Wow. I work from home in Van Nuys - that's worth driving over sometime.

Yes, it’s a destination in itself! This article sheds some more light on the unique architecture: http://modernistarchitecture.blogspot.com/2016/07/neutras-br...

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).

I am enjoying reading this thread. There are many pain points here that need to be solved. And I would love one day to run a decent sized makerspace / cafe myself ;)

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!

No. I work remote, and I tried all four co-working spaces in my current city after I moved here a few months ago, and didn't like any of them. I decided on just buying a desk and chair.

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.

I've tried and failed to picture myself in an open plan. I realize in my cube when I'm debugging something hairy I talk to myself, swearing at the hardware and my mistakes and life. For my own sake and those around me I really need to be in either an office, a soundproofed cubical with tolerant cow-workers, or an asylum.

I dislike coworking spaces. For a solo developer, they offer a lot of distraction. You're stuck in one place which defeats the purpose of getting out of the house for inspiration. For a team, it becomes very hard to create company culture. It feels like you're an empire without a fortress. I'd rent an apartment over a coworking any day for the team.

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.

>> 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.

Because coworking spaces are full of employees of other companies, while working cafes are usually solo people working in super focussed fashion. There's no foosball table. No startup kool-aid. It's the same with private members clubs. Usually it is the founders, investors, lawyers, reasonably successful people in whatever field they work in. The networking opportunity is immense, and it's usually a better atmosphere.

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.

Your posts are very black-and-white. Not all coworking spaces are kool-aid-foosball, nor are all cafes filled with successful people just longing to network with you.

Not just that but sounds like a completely different world from my experience. I travel around and work from coworking spaces a lot, I have seen more than ~20 different ones but have never seen any coworking space with a ping pong table, foosball table, big TVs with playstations or a large amount of people working for a specific company.

I don't really enjoy working anywhere.

I currently work in an open-floor office in a Wework. Yes, it is distracting at times, especially since I know other people in the Wework and we often have spontaneous conversations.

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.

I'm with you on #2 and #3. But I guess I've just learned to embrace it. Yeah...my day no longer has a defined start/stop, but I'm OK with that. Sometimes I just like doing laundry on a Thursday at 2PM :)

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"

> 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

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...

Here’s my not coworking solution which has the advantage of letting you sing along with Bon Jovi at the top of your voice.

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.

If anyone wants to see the kinds of offices and studios other people have built this way, do a search for "Shedquarters".

Might wanna try getting heated table top

I recently (11 months ago) moved to a large city - Buenos Aires - from an almost-a-town city (100K people). We moved from a 140 square meter house where I had a large room all for my own as office (also doubled as gym) to a 35 sq meter apartment. So, my wife gave me an ultimatum: there's no way in hell you're going to keep working at home. I had to search for a coworking space, I found one really close (10 minutes by bike), that also happens to be the cheapest in the city by far and started working there. Even thought I still maintain that there's no match to working from home, I find that working there has the incredible benefit of allowing for networking (Even thought the teams in this particular coworking space are rather closed), plus sets very defined boundaries between work and personal life. As a personal benefit, I'm quite the hermit, where I'd go several days without leaving the house except for grocery shopping, so being forced to actually go out is a plus.

I prefer working at a cafe. Coworkings remind me about awful jobs at office spaces. At a cafe, I feel more freedom that I can change my working place every day. If you pay for coworking, you have to go there every day. What is the difference between an office job and a freelance job? With freelancing, you can work from anywhere. Startups and corporates move in coworking because it might be cheaper to rent.

Some coworking spaces do have better atmosphere than a cafe. But those can be deep in the city, expensive, high traffic, which would also feel like an office job.

I will find a cafe with my atmosphere. BTW, I met my wife at a cafe. She was freelancing there as I was!

During my 15 years as a freelancer I've tried many things: coworking, working from coffee shops, libraries, private office, sharing office with one another freelancer and working from home (both corner in bedroom and dedicated home office).

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.

I've had a few jobs at smaller companies in WeWork's, and I'd advise staying away from them in particular. The whole thing feels like some nightmarish version of what a committee thinks millennials want in an office. It's expensive, loud, and a creepy environment for the most part. The offices we had were nice though; at least the glass partitions made it feel a bit more open, compared to other coworking spaces where an interior room had no windows at all. I have no idea if that's all of them though.

I loathe offices, coworking spaces, and cafes. I need a clean environment free of distractions to focus. It took a few years to adjust to this initially but I'll never go back. I don't feel the compulsion to have meaningless social interactions with strangers - maybe I am unique in that way.

No. I enjoy working absolutely alone. I rent a private office now. If I wanted people in my work space, I wouuldn't go full remote in the first place.

How did you bootstrap the process of working alone? Did you start working on the side while having a non-remote job?

Tried to build a startup, failed, recovered by doing consulting work.

Now I want to try the same.

I can block certain people from Facebook and Linked In, but those people are very active in coworking spaces. They're the type who love to mingle and promote themselves as experts, talk above others, completely ignoring that other people are focused on doing their own thing.

At least if you work in a company open office, your boss tries to prevent it from happening.

As a solo developer, I love it.

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).

No. It sucks but I make do with headphones.

WeWork is the noisiest fuckig shit show in existence.

I can't stand how poorly sound-isolated the conference rooms and offices are. I have literally been standing outside a conference room, waiting for my meeting to start, and overheard the details of a company shutting down. The private offices that we pay good money for aren't much better. Because they use single-paned glass (cheap) you can hear every foot step, conversation, or other random noise from any office or hallway near you.

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 think there are pretty big differences between people in terms of how much sound insulation they actually want. I find that the insulation provided by the single (floor to ceiling) pane of glass in a WeWork office is more than enough for my tastes. I usually leave the door open if I'm in the office alone.

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 really. All I want is an isolated box where I can enjoy silence and being sure nobody will ever see my screen while walking by. Sense of being watched (even occasionally) is what totally kills my productivity and silence is what helps me to concentrate. Nevertheless, as long as I'm sitting my back to the wall so nobody can see my screen and as long as there is not too much noise, friendly strangers hanging out around feel nice (kind of like a human aquarium) so I enjoy working in StarBucks during their low hours occasionally.

Not sure linking enjoyment directly to work is a good idea. Coworking spaces work better for me than home or cafes because there are fewer distractions, better internet, relatively good security at least in terms of laptops not suddenly disappearing. Sometimes it is possible to socialize and make relevant and interesting connections and sometimes the people suck and are mean and rude but that can be a useful and strengthening exercise to deal with. Coworking spaces vary hugely in their configuration and clientele.

No. I used to work as a programmer for Nokia and was with 50 people in a co-working space with different groups (administration, developer, service, etc.). I find that exhausting. Someone kept arriving to ask me questions about computer problems. Every few minutes someone comes and wants to have a cup of coffee or go for a smoke. As an Asperger, I don't like open offices and I personally prefer a single small room with a door that I can close.

Same for me. There is no type of working space that offers even minimal required functionality to perform the basics of a programming job other than a single-occupancy private office with a door that closes for privacy.

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.

Previous to working at my current company, I was at a startup working in a coworking space, and I also previously had been at a startup in its own space. Overall, the quality of the space was better in the coworking space. There were also benefits to having more "networking" opportunities (i.e., just talking to people that sit near you). We were able to share knowledge across companies, which was always very valuable.

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.

I like some co-working spaces, but it really depends on the space, and the culture around that particular space.

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 problem I have found with co-working spaces is that most people manage to work without causing disturbance to others but there are always one or two people who's sole reason for being there seems to be the exact opposite.

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.

For me, the main benefit of coworking has been the community. It's been great to chat with someone else who needs a break or to go get lunch/coffee with people. The second big benefit is that I am more productive than when at home (too many things I can use to procrastinate).

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'm shifting to a coworking space after working from home for the last 5 months. I've worked in co-working spaces and my home intermittently for the last 3 years.

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.

Yes, kind of. I really enjoy the change of the environment and someone to talk to for a while. I'm doing one day a week from the coworking space and the rest 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.

No. Its like trying to work in the middle of a prison cafeteria.

Not really. My experience so far is:

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.

Amen. I recently started at a WeWork and have had similar experiences.

* 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.)

Ah yeah, forgot about the automatic lights. Those things are an absolute pain.

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.

I echo the same sentiment as other commenters in this thread. I have tried all possible routes and here's my findings:

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).

No. I tried it and it was no different than working in an open office. So I either work from home or I work in a space I rent with three fellow consultants. $500 with all utils in a walkable city and decent food nearby.

Why would I want to deal with the same open office problems? Smelly perfume, still loud with headphone and nosy people.

I've been working out of a co-working space for the past six years. Pros:

* 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.

I work from home office. I used to live in SF in a 1-bedroom. I decided to move 30mins outside of the city get a 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom house with a backyard for nearly half as much rent. I turned one of the bedrooms into a gym. The office has its own bathroom so I never have to feel like I'm home by having to go to the bathroom downstairs.

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 work from home most of the time, because I prefer to be at home with my wife and our cat. But sometimes it's nice to sit in a cafe or a coworking space.

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 work from home most of the time and sometimes from this coworking space: https://www.instagram.com/hafven/

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!

Check out Capital One Cafe in your area.

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.

This is in response to ordinaryperson's comment but I wanted to write it as a top level answer. Working from cafes can be awesome but make sure you're not a leech. My "decent cafe' customer checklist" is the following: - Take the smallest available space (usually a table for 2 but they'll take the chair away for another table). - Buy at least 1 coffee (even the cheapest they have, espressos are usually ~2 euros) every 2 hours. - Buy lunch if possible. - Tip or write good reviews whenever you can. - Befriend workers/owner. - If they ask you to leave just leave, it's within their rights to do so.

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'.

No. I enjoy chatting and networking in a co-working space. But I don't find it the most productive of environments.

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.

I've done both working from home and now co-working. Currently, I prefer co-working, but that's because I've become more of an entrepreneur and less "just" developer.

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.

I’ve worked in both open plan and private-office coworking spaces. Both sucked in different ways.

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.

I have only been to one coworking space, so maybe it's not representative, but I would never go back there again. It costs more than buying enough coffee to get them to leave you alone at a Dunkin Donuts and somehow the chairs are worse. Like, I am literally paying for three things: chair, table and wifi. All of the chairs were awful. It was a mix of low-end IKEA chairs, estate sale dining room chairs and those hard plastic chairs that they have for watching the school play in the cafeteria in middle school.

I worked from a shared working space in Denver for six months. My partner and I both work from home and since the new year, I have moved back home to offset the cost. However, my partner is still in the space as having two people on calls is untenable. Currently, I still think the rates for coworking spaces are a bit high. Why not head to a different coffee shop daily? My opinion is still neutral. At this point, I don't see the value over working from home if you have an environment conducive to work.

I've done the 'try a different coffee shop' thing. It's cost-effective, but it's unpredictable. Let's say you arrive at 8AM; you'll face the morning rush of commuters, wait a long time to place your order, look around and realize there are no free tables.

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.

As a full-time remote developer I looked at some co-working spaces here in Richmond, VA. I can work at home just fine, but I miss seeing and talking to people. While I could afford the $250 a month. What I was getting was a noisy environment, thats about it. I much rather put the $3,000 a year in an IRA , vacation or just about anything else.

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 :-/

What's the tech scene like in Richmond? I'm curious because I got an offer from Capital One at the Richmond location, but I'm worried that there aren't many other companies in the area. I've never worked outside of large cities.

Not very good, that (Capital One) is legitimately the only place worthwhile that reached out to me, but they require a 4 year degree. With that said, Northern Virginia and the DC area is just 1.5 hours away. So not much of a move and plenty tech there.

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.

I work part time for a startup in a coworking space and I enjoy it most of the time.

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.

I work from home most of the time and go to cafes for that "people around me" feeling. I will say that working from home has definite downsides. I spend my work time in a different part of the house from my downtime, for the most part, but there's still a weird blend of professional life and domestic life, and I find myself combining activities from both all day instead of having clear separations.

That said, I think the benefits are worth it.

I've worked in and out of coworking spaces for the last ten years. I love them mostly for the ability to ride my bike to/from them. Of course, I could do this to a coffee shop, but I like the security of an office for my bike. Tip: ask if you can get a 10-day punch card. I've found some of them that'll do it; then you don't feel like you have to go in every day (if you're on a monthly agreement).

Depends which ones. I like the smaller, casual, work-focused but friendly ones. Also flexible hours and not having events / meetups / parties is important.

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).

Every open office plan or cowork office I've been in has made it almost impossible (coming from WFH) to concentrate and get things done. Having people visit to natter over things and the potential for shoulder surfing, surveillance, traffic capture drives me nuts. If you are an SA or working with private data cowork or public settings are not really an option.


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.

I enjoy co-working spaces for certain tasks. When I have work that doesn't require my 100% concentration, such as designing layouts, replying to emails and other admin, they are fine. Occasionally too noisy but fine.

If I _need to concentrate_ on something, I'll work from my office or home.

I haven't had a great experience with co-working at all, I wish there was something like Breather where I live.

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.

I enjoy working on coffee shops, especially those that are branded as "coffice" type cafes. It's not an official coworking space, but the slight "time limit" (ie you have to keep buying coffee to stay) as well as having other people working around me definitely helps me focus.

Not even considering one. Mostly because of cost, commute, and prolly my slightly autistic fear of people.

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!

I work from home 2x a week and my coworking space the other three. I like the social contact and the feeling of energy from being around other people. And the days at home I enjoy the solitude.

If you can find a good deal on a space, there is no reason you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Nope. I rarely can focus. People are on the phones, moving a lot, talking with other people. Nope.

Yes, as a remote worker (developer) I really like coworking spaces. Especially since I found one close from home (5 minutes biking).

- 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

Eh. I miss having a door I can hang a pull up bar from, walls that are not see through and are at least a little sound proof, and feeling like I have my own space. But it's a easy way to get started.

Have been in WeWork spaces and other coworking spaces.

I can focus more in a co-working space as I can't procrastinate as much.

Anybody think there is a real benefit to finding like minded/same focus freelancers or remote workers and getting together to work in a coffee spot or co working space?

> a real benefit to finding like minded/same focus freelancers or remote workers

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.

All the cons of an open office, and you have to pay to be there.

Are there cowork spaces that have "quiet" floors/areas? It seems a lot of these places could learn from a basic university library space.

I go to a co-working space once a month. I get less immediate work done that day, but the discussions we get in to are occasionally-term helpful.

I tend to prefer cafes over co-working spaces, because I get about the same value (maybe even better coffee!), but at a much lower price.

As a cafe customer however it's irritating that you're taking up space for someone who'd like to sit down and drink their coffee.

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.

Not entirely. The guys is a frequenter which means recurring revenue, and making the cafe look lively is something that gives it social proof.

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.

Limiting the power outlets used to be effective until laptops started getting USB Type C. Now everyone can just bring a power bank to charge their laptop, right?

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.

Naturally this will devolve into an argument over an apples-to-oranges comparison.

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.

Cafes like Starbucks were designed for squatting though. It's not like coffee was meant to be that expensive; it includes rent.

I completely agree with you, so what I do is to find cafes that are not very popular which is probably a win-win: I hate sitting in packed cafes and the smaller cafe sells some more coffee+snacks by doubling as my office.

Not sure I get the argument. Cafe owners seem to be looking for the types that come in regularly, spend a lot, and stay a while. Why else offer WiFi at all? Turn off public WiFi and this customer type will go elsewhere.

I often use a cafe which is focused on playing tabletop games etc. Food/drink is extremely overpriced but with the understanding that you're really buying time and they just have a "don't be a dick" rule that you really ought to be buying something ~once/hr

> buying something ~once/hr

what do you buy? 8 lattes or 8 pastries a day, every day, doesn't sound healthy...

I have heard libraries are the perfect working places for when you want to get out of the house. You don't have the pressure to keep buying stuff and they usually have plenty of space.

I have always used libraries to study at university and they would be my first approximation for working remotely, if I ever do it.

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.

I like to go to a coffee from time to time and somedays work alone at home or so, but one of the things I like on coworking spaces is that you can usually have a desk with a monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc. not being limited to work on your notebook's screen/keyboard. Another nice issue is that you also usually can use meeting rooms for video-conferences or even receive a client/partner.

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.

Hell no

The problem with co-working spaces is that there are too many techies there. Sometimes they're fascinating and you want to engage with them, which destroys concentration (in a semi-welcome way), but more often-than not they're populated by self-involved extroverted tech-bros who won't shut up.

Home-office, cafes, parks and libraries have been my offices of choice as a remote worker for the past decade.

I feel that none of the commentators actually runs a company. If you are a remote worker working from home is great. If you are a founder hate it or love it you NEED a coworking space if not for the actual space to work from then for the community, network, address, access to meeting rooms, discounts to conferences and connections.

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