I stayed at Office Nomads late last night which gave me the opportunity to do two new things in the space, both of which you should do: Take a shower and attend a workshop hosted by Chris Haddad and Beth Yockey-Jones.
First, the shower. After my first-ever shower here, I’ve decided that the shower is an excellent ON benefit that doesn’t get enough props. Here’s why. One of things that I love about freelancing is that I can get up from my desk whenever I want and go for a run. This is really beneficial since I am training for this May’s Vancouver half marathon. But since I was already here, I didn’t want to spend the rest of the evening sweaty and I didn’t want to go home to run, shower and come back. So I brought my running clothes with me, took a shower and smelled like flowers (ok, peppermint) for the event. Yay showers at work!
After the shower and dinner was the workshop which helped me immeasurably.
I first heard about value-based pricing thanks to Chris (he likes to call himself “#1” since he is ON’s first monthly member). It’s a subject he talks to me about frequently so I know he’s got a lot to say about it and as I build my business, it’s something I’m thinking about. Last night he hosted a Biznik event in the space on value based pricing and pretty much convinced me that charging hourly rates is dumb. Charging for the value you offer your clients is where it’s at, and what I need to do from now on. Keep an eye on his Biznik profile and Web site. Word has it he’ll be hosting more of these in the future.
We talk a lot at ON about how coworking makes things so much for better those of us who work at home. Working away from your company’s (or client’s) office also helps the planet by reducing the amount of trips you have to take in your car. In fact, according to Susan, who knows about this stuff, “Trip reduction strategies are the primary way we can make an impact on climate change in our region.” For us, anything that improves the state of our environment is worth doing. On Friday, there was an excellent segment on KUOW (our local NPR station) about this kind of effort, called trip-reduction strategies, that speaks directly to one of the ways we think ON can save the world. Check it out.
If this is the kind of thing that interests you or might be the kind of argument you could use with your boss to get him or her to let you work at home (or with us) at least a few days a week, keep an eye on the blog. Susan is working hard with Seattle Department of Traffic and Seattle Climate Action Network to make ON a resource for trip-reduction strategies.
Every year The Stranger does what they call “one nice thing” when they hold an auction called Strangercrombie. During the month of December, they auction off all sorts of items from various retailers and service providers around Seattle and donate all the money raised to a local charitable organization. They also auction off various items in one issue of the paper. You can buy Savage Love, the cover, or a music review… that kind of thing.
Jacob and Susan, in their ever-present good-heartedness, bought Last Days this year, (which I think is the best part of The Stranger) and this is our week!
Today, Last Days made our inaugural visit to the Office Nomads office, where we were greeted by co-owners Jacob Sayles and Susan Evans, affable and attractive citizens with a shared passion for “individuality without isolation.” “The digital revolution gave people an incredible amount of independence in being able to get work done from home, or anywhere,” says Jacob. “But that independence can be isolating, and you see people starving for community. That’s what we offer here—full office amenities in a shared, communal setting.” “It’s about the work-life balance,” adds Susan. “Anyone who’s worked from home can tell you how blurry the boundaries can get. A coworking space can help you compartmentalize your life. Your home can be home again—someplace you go when you’re done working and ready to relax.” As someone who routinely works cross-legged on a bed until our lower extremities scream from the restricted blood flow, Last Days understands.
The rest of David Schmader’s coverage is great too. You should read the whole thing.
Thanks to The Stranger for the opportunity and for doing a good thing. (This year Strangercrombie brought in $60,000 for the good folks at Fare Start.)Thanks also to David for doing such a kick-ass job on the column this week (and always). We really appreciate you coming in, checking out the space and getting to know us and the people that work here. We hope you’ll come back.
Thank God for Mother Jones. The wise, old magazine (and now of course Web site) published a good-sized piece on coworking this week.
Personally, I find it to be one of the best I’ve read on the subject. First, it is well written and an entertaining read. But what really makes this look at the coworking movement compelling is that Kiera Butler, the author, takes a closer look than most at the idea that independent workers crave community and seeks to understand that desire rather than just accepting it.
As shocking as it may sound, we may actually need the office, despite its reputation as a soul-sucking pit of conformity and monotony. In a recent analysis of 40 years of research, Stephen Humphrey, a professor of management at Florida State University’s business school, found a strong correlation between the level of social interaction at work and job satisfaction and productivity. He also found that this correlation has strengthened over time—that now more than ever, the office has become a refuge of sorts. “It used to be that everyone could hang out around the water cooler—now we telecommute or spend two hours in our cars on the way to work,” he says. “We suddenly start to realize, we miss socializing—and we need it.”
Even better, I’m pretty sure Butler must have used the synergistic benefits of coworking at Citizen Space in San Francisco to fine tune her angle.
I wanted my share of spontaneous collaboration, too, so I announced that I had to brainstorm story ideas. I braced for a roomful of annoyed glares, but my fellow coworkers stopped what they were doing and began playfully tossing suggestions my way—as if it were a game, not work. It was very unofficelike, in a good way.
In the end, she concludes, simply: “Sometimes the least important thing about going to work is, well, work.”
Last week was a week of many events at Office Nomads.
On Monday we had two things happening in the space after normal working hours (whatever those are).
On the very unofficial side of things, Chris, Tim, Eric, and Jacob all got together to play board games and drink. I was going to go too, but came down with a really annoying cold (that has yet to pass completely). Apparently the boys had a really good time (except for an unfortunate run in with Mille Bornes which they all hate) because they were still talking about it two days later when I got back to the office.
According to a new note on our blackboard, Board Game Night is bow every first Monday of the month.
Also on Monday night, Office Nomads played host to Sustainable Capitol Hill’s monthly general meeting. Unfortunately they don’t yet have a web site so I can’t link to them. Susan is involved however and gave me a run down of the organization to share with you all. Basically, they’re working to make Capitol Hill the kind of clean, green and community-oriented neighborhood we know it can be. Oh heck, let me just quote the draft mission statement she sent:
Sustainable Capitol Hill is a network of neighbors, businesses and community groups dedicated to making Capitol Hill a sustainable community. We are working to create a vital neighborhood — one with strong connections between people, place, and the local ecosystem. Through education, organizing, and action we can make our neighborhood a model for a sustainable future.
According to Matt at 8 Block Walk, Sustainable Capitol Hill is an email list (email@example.com) and a lot of meetings. There are monthly meetings, and committee meetings. I know they’ve put on a few events in their time, including the rad-sounding Tank Tops to Totes that I wrote about on Seattlest a few weeks ago. There’s a lot more stuff they want to do from what I hear, so if you’re interested, drop a line and see what you can do.
Wednesday, Susan and Jacob hosted the first-ever Office Nomads Wednesday Lunch which promises to become a weekly event according to ye olde blackboard.
Basically, everyone who working in the office sits down in one of the conference rooms and eats together. Last week we were going to talk about the space and what we all want from it. But it really was just an opportunity to take advantage of our intentional community and eat lunch with people, not computers. Almost all of us were there and really, it was just a bunch of people eating lunch together. Mostly a lot of joking and really a lot of fun. Feel free to drop in and have lunch with us at noon on Wednesdays.
Thursday night at Office Nomads, Susan hosted a woman-only clothing swap. I’ve heard about these kinds of events before and lemme tell ya, I’d love to go if only they’d have me cause I love free clothes. No dice though so it’s back to Goodwill for me (I found some awesome t-shirts this weekend). Anyway, Susan says the women all had a great time and she is now thinking of hosting a more public clothing swap in the near future. Stay tuned.
Coming weeks hold the promise of more events in the space including the monthly Sustainable Capitol Hill meeting which all are invited to attend, possibly an art show and who knows what else. Of course, I’ll let you know when I know, but you can also check out our Events Calendar if you want to be on the cutting edge.
I came across a wide-ranging article about the coworking phenomenon on Corofolot’s Creative Seeds site today.The piece caught my interest because it addresses problems beyond the lack of office tools and distractions in coffee ships and that we independents face when making choices about where to work.
A temporary on-site cubicle, a cobbled-together home office, and a jovial but ultimately isolating coffee shop are the three most common options, and all of them lack the most important quality of the ideal creative workspace: other creative workers with whom to interact.
By the end of the article the author, who is obviously a proponent of group-work spaces, sees coworking spaces like Office Nomads and other as a one more cog in this new-style economy we’re all building and imagines coworking’s place in the evolutionary scale of work places. He calls it “a step on a continuum” and mentions groups who have formed coworking spaces organically such as Independents Hall in Philly and TENPOD in PDX.It’s amazing to me, now that I’m paying attention to it, how much we all think about where we work and how that space really affects the quality of our work (not to mention our enjoyment in doing it).