While traveling in Estonia, sitting in the lobby of my hotel, I started a conversation with a man who was working with a laptop on his knees. It turned out he had been traveling from here to there for years, and simply continued to do his work. The only thing he needed as a freelancer was his laptop and an Internet connection. This lifestyle was the most ordinary thing in the world for him. He had customers all over the world, so why shouldn’t he be able to do his work from anywhere?
My job does not tie me
It got me thinking. My job as a software engineer does not tie me to one single place either. At Decos, I can work from home any time. Why would my home be a more suitable office than a hotel lobby? The disadvantages of working from home are that distraction always lurks around the corner: I’ll need to do some laundry, or go grocery shopping, and there are many more of these kind of chores calling for my attention. This kind of distraction can be avoided in a hotel, but on the other hand, that workplace is not particularly well designed ergonomically.
The concept of coworking
I thought about how nice it would be to find some kind of compromise: work in an office environment, but located somewhere else. With other people around who are also working, but have completely different jobs. You can concentrate on your own work, but the coffee maker is always at hand. I was probably not the first one to think about this and I searched the Internet for this concept, which I was sure existed. After a great deal of searching, I discovered the prizewinning search term: “coworking”. A concept originally thought up and put into practice in San Francisco, but becoming increasingly popular around the world. It embraces the new part-time offices, where you can rent office space for short or long-term use. In addition to the social aspect, the work aspect is very appealing: you are likely to meet people who are working on fascinating projects. You can use the concepts and ideas they are working on to gain fresh insights to your own work.
To date, I have experienced coworking sites in Eindhoven, Edinburgh, Frankfurt, Lisbon and Montpellier, and all of my experiences were immensely positive. If your job allows you to work from home, why not from a place with a pleasant climate in a lively city? The exterior of my workplace in Edinburgh and the view from my workplace in Lisbon are reason enough for me to continue to cowork.