The Changing Workplace (And Why I Love It!) by Noelle Daley
It goes without saying that the workplace is changing. This is partially due to mobile technology and the Internet, which free us from the constraints of a typical nine-to-five. Instead of commuting to an office, some of us have the option of working from home, or in a plane, or anywhere else with Internet access. Terms like “laptop entrepreneur” are emerging to describe the growing number of entrepreneurs who work almost entirely online. This phenomenon is by no means destroying the traditional workspace, although it is is certainly transforming it into something more flexible and creative.
I’ve been in environments like this for about six years now. It started during my years at High Tech High International, a public charter school focused on project-based, interdisciplinary learning over traditional “textbook” methods. We did much of our school work online, which is how I first discovered the luxury of working at WiFi enabled coffee shops. Then, about a year ago I started working for a software company in San Francisco. Their office looked anything but traditional; they had couches, free coffee, exercise balls, and a whiskey bar. When I returned to school, I began working from home, which I’ve since been doing for nine months. Now that I’m also working with Civinomics, I spend a great deal of time in the Cruzio building, which has given me some valuable insight into the world of coworking.
This changing, mobile environment certainly isn’t for everyone, but I’ve found it works wonderfully for me. Here’s why:
1. It’s convenient
This aspect seems like a no-brainer. I’d pick the 5 second commute from my bed to my desk over an hour long trip on crowded buses and trains any day. Don’t get me wrong, I love public transportation, but it’s just not as cozy as being able to work in my pajamas in the comfort of my own home. Furthermore, coworking spaces (like Cruzio, for instance) provide an affordable office space to use by the day, month, or year. This is especially useful for traveling entrepreneurs, who might need a business space in San Francisco for a few days, and one in Chicago a few days later. Essentially, the lack of spacial limitations allows your work environment to match your lifestyle.
2. It’s collaborative
Coworking especially is social by nature. You’ve got a bunch of different people, each working on a variety of projects, sharing a common space. Conversations spark up as people are curious about others’ work. Not only is this great for networking, but also for collaborating. By bringing together thinkers, designers, writers, engineers, and freelancers, coworking creates an excellent arena for producing innovative ideas.
3. It’s fun
I love being able to work where I want. Some days I prefer loud, lively coffee shops where the constant chatter keeps me alert and energized, while other days I prefer to work alone in the library. For the most part though, I thrive in the open, inventive, and often playful atmosphere of coworking. Either way, having the option of working where I choose recognizes that I know the environment where I work in best.