May 28, 2008
Home alone? Options for telecommuters
In self-employed circles, everyone's buzzing about coworking -- renting out community workspaces, rather than working home all by one's lonesome.
But putting on a pair of pants and fraternizing with like-minded telecommuters isn't just the domain of freelancers and small business owners. Corporate employees who telecommute one, two, or five days a week crave camaraderie too.
The beauty of coworking is that you get the companionship without the office politics. Come in at 11, and no one's going to give you a dirty look. (Chances are they're all rolling in long after 8:30 a.m. too.) What's more, it gives work-from-home types that much needed distinction between work time and down time.
But perhaps my favorite thing about coworking is that many facilities seem to have had commitmentphobes like me in mind when they designed their rate structures: you can rent a desk by the month or by the day -- usually for much less than it would cost to rent your own office. And monthly leasing often requires just a one to three month commitment.
Want to learn more about coworking? Capitol Hill's Office Nomads is having an open house to show off its digs this Friday, May 30, from 6 to 9 p.m. Free and open to all. And on Thursday, June 5, Pioneer Square's GiraffeLabs is having an informal open house from 6 to 8 p.m., during First Thursdays Open Art Studios in their Alaskan Way building.
If you're more of a downtown sort, check out the new coworking facilities at My Day Office on Elliott Avenue. If you're an east sider, see The Village Bellevue. If you're anywhere else, check out the multiple coworking spots listed on this fantastic coworking community blog.
And if you don't have the money to spare or want to keep coworking ultra-casual, try Jelly -- meeting up with a handful of other telecommuters in a cafe or someone's living room once or twice a month. There isn't a Seattle Jelly location listed on the site yet, but are there some nifty instructions on how to start a casual coworking group of your own.
If you've tried any form of coworking, I'd love to hear what you think. Has communal telecommuting worked for you? Or was it one big distraction?
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
Paul Anderson helps professionals in transition find their desired employment.
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