By: Connor Finnigan, Entrepreneur
Being a self-employed entrepreneur, for years I worked from home and various coffee shops. Countless times I remember thinking, ‘surely there must be a better way,’ and then I discovered co-working, something I wish I had discovered a lot sooner. For a few months now I have been an extremely satisfied co-worker (or ‘Rancher’ as we call ourselves) here at Tech Ranch, and I would like to share a few noticeable differences in the co-working environment vs a makeshift coffee shop office:
- No guarantee that you will find an open seat, table, or couch.
- The open seat, table, or couch may not always be ideal or comfortable for a productive workspace.
- Power outlets may already be in use or too far away from where you are sitting.
- Noise caused by others: Background noise can sometimes be good, but there is no predicting the noise level at a coffee shop on a given day and certainly no way to control or escape it.
- Noise caused by Starbucks: We certainly can’t fault them for just doing their jobs, but whether it’s a barista shouting “Venti Skim Latte for Mark” or the overhead music, coffee shop operations can be noisy.
- Noise caused by you: Whether it’s a loud or quiet day, Starbucks may not be the most ideal place for a 30-minute conference call. You may find yourself shouting, whispering, or struggling to hear the people on your call, any of which may result in glares from your Starbucks neighbors who are quietly reading.
- Over-caffeinating: There’s just something about using a coffee shop as an office that causes one to consume more coffee than they might otherwise. Maybe it’s a sense of owing them for the use of their space. Or maybe it’s just because we love coffee and they’ve got plenty. Either way, there is a tendency to overindulge on coffee while using Starbucks for a workspace, to the point that you’re so wired you can barely sit still or focus on anything.
- Public wireless: It’s just a fact that public wi-fi is sometimes less secure.
Just to be clear, I love Starbucks and coffee shops, and in many cases they are the most ideal setting to work or have a meeting, but for me the atmosphere wasn’t compatible as an everyday workspace. Co-working on the other hand…
- No need to worry about finding a seat: There are always open seats in the general co-working areas, and for extra, you can also rent a dedicated desk.
- No need to worry about feeling cramped: This environment was designed with working in mind, so that you can comfortably stretch your legs out and spread out your materials and devices.
- It’s good to have choices: Depending on what you’re in the mood for, there are tables, comfy chairs, couches, quiet areas, noisy areas, areas with people, areas without people, etc.
- Power outlets: Every working space at Tech Ranch has two power outlets that are all yours.
- Meeting and interacting with other people: This is crucial to my happiness and incredibly easy to do in a co-working environment.
- Opportunities to help others: You may overhear something that a neighbor is trying to figure out and you may have the answer. Co-working encourages this type of community and collaboration.
- Opportunities for new business and special offers: Whether through interaction with others, the kitchen bulletin board, or email distribution lists, it’s nice to be in the loop on opportunities for more work and good deals.
- Exposure to different businesses and industries: With co-working, you can learn a lot about professions outside your own. For example, I’m not in the video game profession, but there is a video game company here at Tech Ranch and I always enjoy eavesdropping on their meetings that they have out in the open here.
- Events and programs: It’s always a good time to network, learn, and grow.
- Conference rooms: Whether you need to have an in-person meeting or a conference call, there are two conference rooms available at Tech Ranch to book through a simple online system.
These are just a few reasons why I enjoy co-working. After years of working from home or coffee shops, there is no comparison. With co-working, I find consistency, not only in the work environment itself but definitely in my own productivity, and in doing so, I always look forward to going “to the office” to co-work at Tech Ranch.