Tuesday, February 17, 2009

thoughts on co-working

Coffeeshops with change in its social norm
You are probably familiar with people gathered in Star Bucks or local coffee shops with their lap tops. I've even walked into a coffee shop in Williamsburg where it is dead quiet except for the sound of espresso machine and typing keyboards, all seats occupied by people with their lap tops, the energy is focused and says don't disturb me. I was there to chat (not with IM) with my freind and found ourselves whispering not to disturb these cafe workeres. We got our drinks and found the only table that was available in the coffeeshop. Guess why it wasn't occupied. It had a little sign saying "No computer on this table. Reseraved for conversations." I found it quiet funny. Since when you whisper at coffee shops? Aren't they made for conversations? It makes me think of a highschool principal with authoritative voice saying "Kids, play. No study allowed!"

The laptop friendly coffeeshops
It is everywhere. Coffeeshops filled with people with their Mac Pro or rather bigger Dell lap tops.
Since I started working away from my home office in Columbus, OH until I left them recently, I searched for the perfect coffeeshops to work out of. I just simply couldn't work from home. It is just too distracting with my cat Bil
constantly sitting on my keyboards to get my attention. And if I think about it I've never done homeworks at home while I was in school. I maybe wrote love letters. The criteria has been...

  • sunlight
  • good music
  • good coffee drinks and inexpensive sandwiches
  • restroom
  • WiFi (this is the key - but I found it interesting when the system breaks down and peopel are forced to chat with others : ) )
  • atmosphere that doesn't make you feel a total looser for spending more than 4 hours at your seat.

I've found about 3 to 4 good places that fits this criteria "Eat records and Champion in Greenpoint and Phoebe's cafe in Williamsburg. Although I've got all these I wanted I felt irritating when I had to be on the phone because coffeeshops can be loud. I also wanted more human contacts. I went to Williamsburg coworking space that my co-worker Dan found for me on google prior to my move to NYC.

Escape coffeeshops and go coworking

I've joined a coworking group last summer when I moved from Columbus Ohio to Brooklyn, New York. There are this co-working communities where people gather and work together out of home or an office all over the world. This group I joined is located in a Williamsburg gallery called the change you wanna see (http://thechangeyouwanttosee.com/) and it is ran by an art activist group called not an alternative (www.notanalternative.net). Since I have a lot of people looking confused when I say what it is I will explain it here.

the fun part
I got to participate in several fun events in the last few months held by the gallery organizers.
- Guantanamo sewing project, twitter vote report, election day party...and more.
- One of our coworkers said it right - water fountain talk minus politics
- Stay up to date with multiple industries -I've got great exposure to IT world and non profit sectors as I am constantly around people in the industry

I recommend full time office workers and freelancers working from home office to step out of their office and spend a couple of days a week and expose yourself to the world of co-workers. There are open house events. Go look it up here at Jelly. http://wiki.workatjelly.com/

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