I love working on my own and I love working from home. However, after a year of silent conversations with inanimate objects and a sense of boredom with my home office, I was in need of a change. Coffee shops seemed to be the best option, and from my spot in the corner looking around, it was pretty obvious that I wasn’t the only person working remotely from my nomadic coffee shop office. But you can only sit for an hour or so before you feel an obligation to buy a second coffee, and too much caffeine can make for an exceptionally long, sleepless night.
I didn’t miss the not-fun parts of office life: documenting every minute of my day to justify my position, being measured on number of calls and emails made in the course of a required 8 hour period, another hallway lecture on the requirements of working within the process and accepting the red tape of corporate life – you get the idea. Yet as time went on I realized that I did miss the fun parts that I never knew I would miss: the water-cooler conversations, bouncing ideas off others, camaraderie, professional development, connectedness and a stimulating environment. But as I came to the realization that I missed these things, I never thought there would be a way to find them, engage with others and still keep the things I love about being a work-from-home kind of person.
Then I found out about coworking. It sounded too good to be true, honestly: an opportunity to work together, on my own, with others, without a boss but yet within a creative forward-thinking environment that cares about the community and values the benefits of big ideas, creativity and hard work. And it actually existed? In the Tri-Cities? And they were willing to let me try out their world! And I could afford it! After the first day I tried coworking at the library right before the transition to today’s fully-functional coworking space, chatting briefly with people whose names I now know, I was hooked.
No longer am I a loner in the economic realm of the region. I have a place I belong now, and through coworking, I am learning new things, challenging myself, sharing my knowledge and resources for the common good, and giving back to my community. Coworking at Room to Think has been such a game-changing experience for me. The lover of economic development in me believes wholeheartedly that this philosophy is the way of the future not just for individuals but for industries of all sizes and scopes. As companies realize the financial and morale-boosting benefits of telecommuting options for personnel, these smart and driven employees located where they live now as opposed to a big city sky-rise are going to still need ways to connect with others and the community.
Coworking may have been started by the tech community but it is a world for all passionate contributors and thinkers who work in new and different ways. I have no buyer’s remorse: I love coworking and believe in it, too.
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