Working primarily from home can be wonderful, but it can also be horrible. While I love waking up and rolling over to read my emails in my pajamas while my partner makes coffee, it’s awful to have to sit in my back room knowing that the coffee pot is sitting dirty in the sink. The coffee pot is so close, and I really should clean it, and do all the dishes for that matter, and take out the trash, and… oh no, I’ve broken the invisible barrier of work and home and become unproductive.
“And while coworkers value this autonomy, we also learned that they equally value some form of structure in their professional lives. Too much autonomy can actually cripple productivity because people lack routines. Coworkers reported that having a community to work in helps them create structures and discipline that motivates them.” – Harvard Business Review
To combat the tug of the dirty dishes, I tend to work from cafes - like the Tuckerbox or King Arthur Flour’s Bakery Cafe. However these locations also pose a challenge. For instance, I buy a coffee, and with the five dollar credit card minimum I then have to splurge on a scone. I’m racking up expenses and I haven’t even made it through breakfast. Then, the phone rings and I have to ask my neighbor at the communal table to watch my laptop while I dash outside to talk to a customer or colleague. When I return I find my laptop is low on battery, and so begins the mad search for an outlet.The icing on this scone, is that cafes can be noisy and the internet can be touch and go. I need something more conducive to work while supporting my needs as a remote employee.
I love the flexibility of my job. My position at SunCommon is focused on community outreach and education about our solar programs, but given how much time I spend on the road and in the community I sometimes have a hard time finding the right location to touch down and be productive. While I adore the brand-new net-positive SunCommon office my job is based in Windsor County, and the hour-long drive to Waterbury can be inconvenient.
So, when I heard that The Engine Room, a co-working space in the heart of downtown White River Junction, was opening up I was thrilled. As I write this piece I’m working from a standing desk in the main room of the former River Bank Church. I have fast internet (OMG), respectful co-working colleagues, and a quiet but not static workplace. Not to mention no dishes to be cleaned in sight..
Having a network of folks who do completely different things than me (Programming and IT Freelancing, Interior Decorating, Non-profit Directing, Digital Media and Film work, Entrepreneurs… just to name a few!) helps keep me on my toes and thinking outside of the box.
“Unlike a traditional office, coworking spaces consist of members who work for a range of different companies, ventures, and projects. Because there is little direct competition or internal politics, they don’t feel they have to put on a work persona to fit in. Working amidst people doing different kinds of work can also make one’s own work identity stronger.” – Harvard Business Review.
I appreciate being surrounded by creative, clever people that drive my own passion for my work. As a SunCommon Community Organizer I thrive in community. I enjoy working with people, so that’s where working from home felt incredibly isolating.
“Proximity creates a feeling of community, which only shared experiences and significant time spent together can create. Many freelancers find working from home or from cafes to be a lonely experience, and the need for social interaction quickly becomes pressing […]most people love co-working because of its soft qualities; it makes them feel part of a community and surrounds them with people they trust.” – Forbes.
For a progressive company like SunCommon, coworking spaces were a no-brainer. Happy employees are productive employees. To other Vermont businesses looking to explore their own coworking potential, I’ll leave you with this thought from the Harvard Business Review:
“Our advice to traditional companies who want to learn from coworking spaces is to give people the space and support to be their authentic best selves. The result will be employees who feel more committed to your organization, and are more likely to bring their best energy and ideas to the office each day.”
P.S. Join me for the Open House during First Friday on October 7th in downtown White River Junction at The Engine Room starting at 5PM! Come throughout the day and experience the co-working space, Friday is a special free pass day to see what it is like.
This blog is written and sponsored by Suncommon.com