After working from home, transitioning to co-working, and then trying to work from home again, I’m certain that coworking offers a unique set of benefits that inspire creativity, increase productivity, and just plain make me feel happier.

The world probably doesn’t need anymore references to the movie Brokeback Mountain, but when I think of my coworking community, I can hear the desperate line, “I can’t quit you!” ring through my head.

I started out my freelance writing career working from home while sharing life with my husband, two teenagers, and our little dog. Between answering questions about where people could find things like tape and their own cell phones, and cleaning up random Dorito bags and fast food wrappers left on my couch, I was constantly distracted from my work. I had a home office – but all of my people knew where to find me. As hard as they tried, I was the sole keeper of proprietary information like where the scissors might be and who fed the dog last.

After a year of working from home, I took a part-time position with a nonprofit that had an office inside a coworking community. I put my freelance career aside and settled into working for someone else.

 

A Coworking Community Inspires Creativity

I had never heard of a coworking community before becoming part of one, and I’m sure every coworking community has its own culture and distinct identity. My new community, The Roost & The Hatch in Port Huron, Michigan, was a mixture of super-smart tech guys, a feisty HR consultant, a savvy charter school director, a sexy Italian-Canadian who sold robots, a rowdy group of marketing geniuses, and a small sales team for a successful lumber company. Throw in a few passionate nonprofit leaders and a constant stream of entrepreneur clients and casual members, and it made for a pretty dynamic and high-energy environment.

Being around so many people working in different industries is inspiring. Getting stuck in the rut of “The way we do things” is inevitable when everyone in your bubble uses the same lingo and approaches challenges with the limited view of their own industry, market, and education.

Having a highly-qualified database engineer available to help you understand your Donor Management System, being able to call on a HR consultant when you’re revising your Employee Handbook, and having multiple perspectives of your new flier or logo design at hand is incredibly valuable. This input will stretch you to think about your work differently, and it can inspire creativity that may not have been possible without the perspective of others.

 

A Coworking Office Outside the Home Increases Productivity

I can get work done from home. After I clean the kitchen and take out the dog and adjust the pillows in the living room and decide where I want to work from (office, living room, kitchen counter) and settle in and start and stop and decide to finally get dressed and answer my messages and take out the dog and get the mail…you get the point. I can get work done from home, but the amount of time it takes me to focus and refocus requires a lot of energy.

 

Why I Can't Quit CoworkingThere’s just something about going to work. Home is where we unwind, where we are unstructured, and where we have created an oasis of refuge for ourselves.

I enjoy what I do, so I don’t mind spending some of my time at home working (it is nice to write a blog article in my jam-jams sometimes), but home is where I relax, and I want to keep it that way.

 

 

Even though my coworking space comes with its own unpredictability (like impromptu happy hours and mid-day apple smash competitions), we are all there to work. I can get caught up in kitchen conversations with my coworkers that may prolong my bathroom break, but those interruptions to my flow are much more controlled and easier to recover from than what happens when I work from home.

 

Coworking Develops Friendships

When my work for the nonprofit came to an end, I left coworking and pursued other things. Even though I maintained relationships with most of my coworkers, it was hard to be out of the loop and be away from their energy on a daily basis.

When I started taking freelance clients again, I found myself having the same work from home struggles. Even though my house is now teenager-free and I had added yet another workspace, I was still taking longer than I should to write an article, and I felt lonely and uninspired. When I had the opportunity to rejoin my coworking community, I jumped on it.

I’ve been back for a couple of weeks now, and it truly felt like coming home. Coworking spaces are dynamic so some things have changed, but the culture is the same, and I’m excited to contribute my energy. I’ve already completed four projects (two of them I have been sitting on for months with no action), and I’ve deepened a friendship with one of my coworkers that is enriching my life.

The coworking experience fills a need for me. It gives me a chance to widen my social circle to people who work in vastly different industries than I do and who think and approach problems from fresh perspectives. It helps me get things done by providing a space that is set aside specifically for work and is free from barking dogs and a husband who wants to show me a funny Tik-Tok video. It provides a community of open-minded individuals who want to be part of an eclectic work family and do work-life with other people. Coworking fills my need to be connected to other humans. I canwork from home…but I don’t want to.