Since November I rent a small part of an office 3km from home. I come there from time to time to work. Some call it coworking, some call it nomad working or tele-working or office sharing. Whatever you prefer to call it depends on what you get from it. To understand what is in it for me I need to explain what I do first.
Officially I call myself “IT Consultant” a term that can mean so much that it means nothing actually. At a closer look I am trying to do my best with outsourcing IT services and solutions from companies. Small services and small solutions. This may be software development or architecture design or systems administration. Sometimes a client may ask for my actual presence in their office and sometimes it is absolutely useless and I feel more comfortable outside so I can manage my time in the most effective way. That’s it, working at 2am or weekends is a very common case.
One could say that this is a classic case of home working and indeed I was working at home for quite a long time. But in October our family has increased by one small and pretty girl and working at home has become impossible. I’ve started to search for options. The major criteria were the price and location. The solution had to be affordable, flexible and comfortable. I needed to maintain my prices, spend less time on the road and manage my schedule the way I like.
Surprisingly, reaching all of three goals wasn’t simple, the monthly rent ranged from €150 to €1000, the services and access flexibility ranged from zero services and office hours access to all included and 24/7 access. After a day or two of googling and phoning I’ve almost lost any hope. Mostly accidentally I’ve found a recently opened OfficeTakeCare just 5 minutes from home. And it was just what I was looking for.
What did I get? A desk in a nice new office with Internet, phone, fax, printer and all the usual things you may need in the office. All that without a dozen of contracts and all the administrative mess. And most important accessible whenever I need it. All that for a really affordable price.
But what if you look at a bigger picture?
For a profile like mine when I need to minimize the costs, save time and yet be flexible, the advantages of shared office are self explanatory. But in my experience of working in big offices, most of the office population only needs a computer, Internet connection, a phone and a coffee machine most of the time to do what they are hired for. The rest is being spent for meetings. Some of them spend an hour or even two to reach the office and come back home. Wouldn’t it be better for them to spend less time for travel? Wouldn’t it be easier for an employer to find the adequate personnel? Wouldn’t it be a cleaner environment without traffic jams every morning? There is nothing new in these arguments, these are old news of tele-working.
Coworking is an emerging trend for a new pattern for working. Typically work-at-home professionals or independent contractors or people who travel frequently end up working in relative isolation. Coworking is the social gathering of a group of people, who are still working independently, but who share values and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with talented people in the same space.
When you come into the office of a company you work for or into your office or your client’s office you see the same people, you talk the same things and that narrows your horizons. Sure you can still have small talks about different stuff, but professionally you are limited to the same topics. Engineers talk about technologies, accountants about taxes and designers about colors. Working in a Coworking environment lets you meet different people who are professionals in different areas. And that is a real push for your creativity and a base for fresh ideas. If you need these.
The idea of Coworking is so attractive that people are trying to create networks of such places where you can just come and work. Similar to Internet Caffe but more targeted to nomad workers. Hopefully it will grow into a recognized brand and a franchilizng- like business. I will be able to take my Coworking member card and find a working place in any city I visit for work or vacation.
Via Madonnina, 18
20021 BOLLATE (MI)
Coworking project by Monkey Business srl
Coworking Wiki: http://wiki.coworking.info/