September 25, 2013
Working remotely doesn't have to mean being isolated
Telecommuting sounds great in theory. While a lot of professionals crave the independence of working at home, for many it pales after a few years. It's amazing how frequently I hear from candidates who are interested in returning to the corporate world after a hiatus, consulting or working from home.
They come from a variety of industries and professions -- software engineering, marketing, graphic design, business intelligence, human resources -- but many of them share the same sentiments: "I miss working in a team," "I'm looking for something collaborative and where I can learn from others," or "There aren't any real career-growth options working remotely."
When I worked remotely, I spent a significant amount of time trying to get in touch with team members across time zones for feedback and collaboration. The ability to self-manage and self-direct is important for being a successful telecommuter, but there still needs to be some structure in place, especially to make sure remote workers are connected.
Many people end up going to coffee shops or libraries to work, just for the bustle of humanity around them. But for remote workers who crave more structure, coworking locations are a major niche that is exploding.
In coworking facilities, professionals rent space for an inexpensive amount, usually on a fixed schedule. Offerings can also include virtual services such as a permanent mail address, a receptionist and a virtual customer-service center. Here are a few local options to explore:
• The Seattle Collaborative Space Alliance is an organization that supports coworking, including startups, consultants and businesses that don't need a full-time bricks-and-mortar lease.
• Thinkspace has a cool new location in Fremont after finding success in Redmond.
• Capitol Hill's Office Nomads is one of the more established organizations in Seattle.
• The White Board in Issaquah stresses collaboration and interaction.
• OfficeXpats on Bainbridge Island was introduced to me by a friend who attended workshops there when she was transitioning back to full-time work after her children started school.
• The Coworking Wiki for Seattle lists more sites around the Puget Sound area.
Working independently no longer has to mean you are isolated, and coworking can offer an opportunity to forge professional relationships with other independent, yet collaborative workers and businesses.
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.
Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.
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."
- career profile (173)
- cool jobs (83)
- education and training (69)
- entry level (72)
- etiquette (116)
- events (72)
- featured (489)
- finding your passion (99)
- health care (78)
- HR (63)
- interviewing (97)
- job fairs (67)
- management (108)
- market trends (92)
- networking (293)
- resumes (106)
- salary (91)
- social media (98)
- technology (123)
- work/life balance (98)