I am not sure about all of you, but my career in the travel industry started with an office job. I was doing the 9-5 thing. And then I sold my retail locations in 2005 and shifted. I worked from home with several independent contractors across the country doing the same thing. Technology, at that time, enabled us to work anywhere there was an Internet connection and a place to plop down your laptop. Today, we don’t even need that with the smart phones. Starbucks (and any other local coffee shop) became the de-facto “office” for many. And for me, today, Starbucks is just not cutting it any longer.
The advent of public Wifi was the scissor that cut the Internet cord for me. It allowed me to work remotely which was a boon—it got me out of the house, it kept my mind fresh with a change of scenery, and there usually was a steady stream of caffeine available to keep me moving forward. It also allowed me a place to meet local clients.
By having a place to meet a local client, I was not divulging my address to a person that was not a friend so there was some security there. But, if I had to be honest, it simply meant that I could put off (or avoid altogether) cleaning my home and my office to make it presentable. I mean who wants to do business with Pig Pen, right?
A few months go a new business opened in town called The Commons. It is a shared workspace. Now I had heard of office condos, where you rent an office and there is a communal conference room, a receptionist, etc. Usually they are located in office complexes and to be honest, quite expensive for what they are. Enter the shared-workspace.
There are a few differences; the condos are relatively long term. The shared workspace is relatively short term. The condos tend to be very corporate. The shared workspace tends to be very…well Starbucksy. Couches, comfortable chairs, a Keurig machine, maybe a wine cooler, and some hip artwork on the walls. And they are affordable. And I took the plunge!
Now lets be honest, I DO like working from home and there is nothing better than rolling into work in your pajamas. So I did not need (or want) a permanent home. I was not looking to get out of my house—just to supplement it.
The Commons, has three types of arrangements. A month-to month private office—lockable, with a desk and all furnished, a month-to-month dedicated desk with your own lockable cabinet, and a month-to-month hot desk plan, which was perfect for me.
For $90 a month, I have access to the facility for 3 days. I get a “hot desk” which is one of about 12 transient desks, and access to the conference room, the technology, and comfy chairs, couches and Keurig machine!
To be honest, I am in it for the conference room. The building is an historic building with an old warehouse vibe (exposed brick walls, high ceilings, giant windows) and the conference room is perfect with a large table for about 10, a 55” flat screen monitor to use for presentations, etc. If I wanted to have an event there one evening, I can rent it out as well. If I need additional days, I can buy them for $30.
My clients like it, I do not need to clean my house, and I have an outlet to get out an interact with others on a budget.
These are popping up all over now and they do have a hipster vibe to them (hoping I do not need to grow a man-bun), but it is a win-win all around for me. I am not sure if it is a franchise or just a network, but often you can find a co-working space in a transient city that will offer reciprocity to your home base. Find yourself in LA and needing a conference room—it’s a few app clicks away.
How are you dealing with client and supplier meetings these days? Home office? Starbucks?