With the economy in a long, slow recovery, with many people still looking for work, some have created their own jobs. Others have found that working for someone else is frustrating, unfulfilling, or just doesn't fit their personalities (I'm a part of the latter group). For whatever reason, more people than ever before are working for themselves. About a year and a half ago, I chose to join the growing group of American workers who are independent workers, and while it has been a tough climb to financial stability (and I still don't have health insurance), I'm making it work — and I love it.
The advantages are numerous; working for yourself means you set your own hours and work when it suits you best — I like to meditate and work out in the mornings, and then eat a big, homemade breakfast, so I don't get to my desk until 11 a.m., but I work until 7 or 8 most evenings. This schedule takes advantage of the time that I'm most productive. Other advantages include being able to work while traveling, and taking weekdays off when I feel like it (and working on a Sunday instead). And yes, sometimes I work in my pajamas, and in any case, am always wearing something comfortable and in a relaxed, healthy environment with lots of fresh air and quiet (no water cooler chit-chat or random pointless conversations with coworkers to distract me — one of the things that drove me really insane working in an office).
But if you work at home, you know the cons. Sometimes it can feel isolating, or a bit lonely. Receiving all your business mail at your home means you are giving your home address out to anyone who asks, and separating work from home life is a challenge.
Enter coworking offices. I have recently begun working at one part-time in NYC called Green Spaces (the same owners have a similar office in Denver, too). It is lively and dynamic, but not loud or distracting, filled with other eco- and socially involved entrepreneurs and independent workers. While I'm working in an environment that's definitely not lonely or isolating, there are other advantages, too. It is inherently more economically sustainable, and shared resources means that it's more eco-friendly. Green Spaces is even greener by providing compost and recycling, a dishwasher for reusing dishes and glassware, as well as recycled paper in the shared printer, and other healthy aspects, including the use of green cleaners (so I can literally breathe easier). I can also take advantage of conference rooms to do interviews or conduct meetings and network at weekly lunches to crowdsource opinions, ideas and feedback about my work from people who do different, but related types of work.
As a part-time coworker at Green Spaces, I just bring my laptop and set up in the laptop lounge, which is so much better than fighting for space at a coffee shop and feeling the need to leave after a couple of hours. But if you are in need of a real desk, a dedicated phone line, and storage space, Green Spaces offers that as well. Check out the company's virtual tour for more details.
Coworking is growing in popularity across the U.S. and Europe, and I think it's the future of how we work — near, but not always in our homes, coworking offices like Green Spaces allow us to get out and about without the distractions of a typical office. And it gives us independent workers a place to go and an excuse to get out of our pajamas every day.
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