My Gone Co Working Blog

Author: Joe Lostler

A benefit of being a digital nomad, freelancer, independent/remote worker, virtual CEO, whatever you want to call it, is that you don’t have to be tied down to a specific location if you feel like getting up and going on vacation somewhere. Lately I’ve been feeling less motivated and needing a change in scenery so I decided to hop on a plane and stay with a cousin in a different city for a week.

It also helped that I had some free flights from last year that I needed to use up before they expired.

Not being too busy this month, I decided to head out to Seattle for a week and then from there down to San Diego and stay with cousins who are working in both cities. It seemed like a great chance for me to shake up my surroundings, hang out with cousins, and not even miss a beat with work. Upon hearing about this, Angel, the owner of my home coworking space, mentioned I should drop by another coworking spot and connected me with the wonderful folks at Office Nomads which is in the heart of downtown Seattle on Capitol Hill. She said I could do so because of the….

The Coworking Visa Program

What?! Sounded to me like a new credit card — but it’s way better. Apparently if you’re a member of a coworking space in one city, you can drop in on select coworking spaces around the country (and the world!) while you’re traveling! As a coworker, I had no idea… although now that I think about it, it’s not something you consider: “how am I going to cowork while on vacation?”, because coworking is typically something you only do with others in your own community. But if you’re traveling, definitely check out the Coworking Visa Program to see if there’s a space that you can escape to for getting some work done and possibly connect with other independent professionals like yourself while in another city.

What to Expect

Sometimes, it can be hard to know what to expect when you’re arriving at a new space, so my approach is: expect the worst, but plan for the best. That way you are less likely to be disappointed. Remember that the coworkers you’ll be seeing are there by choice, not force like a corporate office, so they will be very approachable and likely share similar values as yourself of working independently. Just that simple commonality will help you connect with those you meet while coworking.

My Visit to Office Nomads

Immediately when I entered I was greeted by Charles. He introduced himself as a resident member who was helping out with tours, phones, and greeting drop-ins like myself. He gave a quick tour of the space and all the amenities including the kitchen, tea/coffee machine, restroom, all the desks to work at, the meeting rooms, and even showed the mid-day yoga class that was going on. (By the way, a yoga class in a coworking space is an amazing idea!).

Then Charles introduced me to both Susan and Jacob who run Office Nomads and because Wednesdays are the busiest day at the space, I took one of the only available spots on their desk.

The next few hours were filled with a burst of productivity on one of my projects, trying out a few teas in their vast collection, adding to their ingenious “What do you want to do before you die?” wall in the restroom, nerding out on the door that had at least 100 digits of e written out, admiring the collaborative collage wall that was updated live online, and conversing with a few coworkers about their work.

Overall an amazing day, and to top it off — Susan even graciously connected me to another App developer who was a resident member and I later caught up with him to discuss the App industry in which we’re both involved.

As Angel always says — or if she hasn’t said, she’s written — or if she hasn’t written, she’s thought — or if she hasn’t thought, she will at some point — that “Coworking is about spreading awesomeness”. And that’s exactly the vibe I got during my short visit to Office Nomads — a lot of awesomeness was being spread around.

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Most people think freelancing is radical (not radical cool, but radical weird).

Many people can’t even imagine what it would be like to work someplace other than a corporate office with 3 – 5 “managers” watching you like a hawk.

Even some freelancers find it hard to believe they can earn a living wage without working 60 hours a week.

Deskmag recently published an article about results of the 2011 Freelance Industry Report which found that while around one-third of the U.S. workforce is unemployed (those are 2005 stats btw), only about three percent use coworking spaces or shared offices.

Not surprisingly, the report also found that most freelancers list managing time, staying productive, and maintaining motivation throughout the work week as their biggest challenges.

Remember, you don’t have to become a 24/7 coworking evangelist to help share its solutions with your peers. Don’t inundate your fellow freelancers with articles and tweets. Instead, just let them see how happy you are. Talk about how coworking makes your more productive/connected/profitable. Talk about life before coworking, and the different path down which your business would have traveled if you didn’t find it.

Talk about benefits of coworking that have nothing to do with business or money: like how it gave you back your soul and got you showering again.

The coworking movement is growing rapidly, but there are still millions of professionals trapped in the belief that the 8-hour work day is the only way to work.

Let’s be a good community by setting the record straight. Together, we can save the world from 40 hours in a cube.

Did you know that there is a global community of people dedicated to the values of CollaborationOpennessCommunityAccessibility, and Sustainability in their workplaces?

It’s called Coworking. And people seem to think it’s swell.

  • You can usually find the pulse of coworking in the discussions held at the Coworking Google GroupIntroduce yourself today.
  • Business models, best practices, and 700+ pages of knowledge-base can be found on the Coworking WikiLearncontribute, and help garden the wiki.
  • Announcements and press find their way on to the Coworking Blog. Look for @GoneCoworking posts and suggest new content.