If you’re working at home, I strongly encourage you to think about a shared or "co-working" arrangement for at least part of your week.
I am bumping into a lot more people these days who are working at home or considering it. Perhaps it’s just coincidence, or maybe the people I hang out with are hitting some magic age where career change is necessary. Perhaps more of us will begin work-shifting, in addition to time-shifting?
Personally, I’ve worked from home for the last few years, with about half of that time spent jointly on a project with Katrin. It’s been fun: we get to structure our work space and work day just the way we like it, and there is a subtle luxury in the freedom to opt into "weekend activities" on weekdays. But it can also be challenging: you can get stir-crazy, lonely, burnt out due to lack of working schedule boundaries, or unproductive due to distractions. After experiencing a taste of all these things, we recently decided to rent out some part-time office space at the Centre for Social Innovation, and have begun splitting time between the two office spaces. So far, so good.
Toronto is lacking coworking options right now. Indoor Playground ran for about a year and a half and closed up shop around the end of 2007 when their landlord hiked the rents. Centre for Social Innovation offers workspace rentable by the hour or by the month, with shared access to networking, printing, a kitchen, and so on. But as their name suggests and David Crow points out, CSI’s focus is on social innovation, and they require all tenants to have that as part of their agenda.
Wayne Lee posted on TorCamp this morning about organizing a meeting to gauge interest in creating a new Toronto coworking space. Check it out:
We’re trying to gauge interest in developing a permanent dedicated coworking space in downtown Toronto. This might include shared office
space, some anchor offices, meeting and training space, and a private cafe. It could be any or all of those. Let’s have a discussion with a brief presentation to explore what it might be and why you might want to be a part of this.
Where: Epicure Cafe, 2nd fl, 502 Queen St W, between Spadina and Bathurst
When: Tue May 27, 7:00-8:30pm
Please register at http://www.eventbrite.com/event/116040079
On the more casual end of the spectrum, there are lots of cafes that tolerate laptop customers for a while, but I haven’t yet found any other than the Linux Caffe on Harbord street in Little Italy that actively encourage mobile workers. It’s an odd contrast to Seattle and San Francisco, where mobile working is de rigeur, and it’s easy to find hangout spots where you can be productive and — shock! — welcome for a few hours.
Here’s hoping the coworking trend will tick upwards in Toronto too.