"Weekends lose a bit of luster when you work at home."

Gruber Twitters about Coworking...without realizing it

Its true. You heard it here second, because it was said first (at least today) by John Gruber of Daring Fireball. John is a Philadelphia resident, and if my networking has served me as well as I think it has, he lives (or at least hangs out) fairly close to my ‘hood. He might even frequent the Starbucks that my girlfriend works at.

And yet, despite a couple of fairly innocuous attempts to contact on my part, he hasn’t returned my notes. C’mon John, it’s just a friendly outreach to find out who my neighbors are. I don’t want to be a creepy stalker-type, so its not like I’m gonna start tossing pebbles at windows and wait for you to answer the door. But you’re a public persona, like it or not. You make money from the fact that people like what you say, and how you say it. I’m just one of those people who happens to be your neighbor. WAVES HI

That’s the end of my “John Gruber won’t answer my emails” rant, and on to my real point: John is right. Working from home totally destroys nights and weekends. It’s hard enough, in this industry, to “turn off” at the end of the day. It’s downright impossible when your work is sitting across the room from you, staring you in the face, waiting for you. “I have an idea right now, no, this can’t wait until monday”, you rationalize with yourself. “I know I should be spending time with my wife/girlfriend/kids, but if I just get this idea out right now…”, you tell yourself. But it’s not healthy, at least not socially, to work from home all the time.

So where do people like us (I’m talking about me and John Gruber, a freelance developer and a freelance writer, but the message applies to anyone who’s a freelance creative of some sort) go? We work from Starbucks. Or some other local cafe. We spend $50/week on lattes, over-caffeinating for the sake of a comfy chair that ISN’T in our house. But we don’t get to really interact with the other patrons…why should they care about what I’m working on? And what should I have to do with their coffee break? Nothing. Coffee shop culture is great when it comes to the work-at-home crowd, but it only serves a single functional purpose: get out of the house (ok, two functional purposes, if you count that cup of coffee).

Enter coworking. Coffee shop culture, bohemian creativity, and migrant work-patterns…meet some of the structure and collaboration of an office-like setting. It’s beautiful, really. Not only are you paying for a space at a desk (rather than paying for overpriced coffee with the hopes of having one of the comfy chairs by the window), but you’re paying for exposure, you’re paying for opportunity, you’re paying for networking. You’re paying for utilities that you don’t have in your house (most likely)…I’m talking about conference space with projectors, white boards, and conference phones. You’re paying for some other cool “community” style resources that really benefit the indie community. Maybe group discounted health insurance. Maybe discounted car-share memberships. Maybe premium or early registration for local indie-run events. These are just a touch on the ideas for what kinds of services that could be offered to an organized, but still independent, group of creatives. And, you’re also put in touch with coworkers around the country…and around the world. It’s like being part of a company that has an office anywhere you travel to, but still having the flexibility of being a freelancer.

So, John Gruber…you’re right. Weekends lose a bit of luster when you work at home. So come work at Independents Hall. Get a chance to turn off at the end of the day. Start appreciating your nights and weekends more. Benefit from the resources that we can offer once we have a solid group of members. We’d love to have someone like John Gruber behind our initiative here. We’d love to have someone like John Gruber supporting the idea of organizing Philly independent talent.

I’d love to get an email from John Gruber saying, “thanks for helping me get my weekends back”.

But this isn’t about John Gruber, believe it or not. It’s about you. Are your weekends worth getting back? Drop in to our meetup on Monday at Independence Brew Pub and see what’s up. I’m pretty sure you’ll like what you see.

[tags]John Gruber, Independents Hall, Philadelphia, Philly, Coworking, coffee shop culture, weekends[/tags]

  • http://www.jbiljr.com johnny

    The coworking philosophy is a fantastic movement for creatives, and developers. We all have wanted to work in a place where free ideas are not shot down by corporate numbers, and bottom lines. Independents Hall looks like the answer to that.

    You will see me there bro, with open mind and “little-boy” excitement!

    Great post by the way!!

  • http://www.jbiljr.com johnny

    The coworking philosophy is a fantastic movement for creatives, and developers. We all have wanted to work in a place where free ideas are not shot down by corporate numbers, and bottom lines. Independents Hall looks like the answer to that.

    You will see me there bro, with open mind and “little-boy” excitement!

    Great post by the way!!

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  • http://www.mindonstatic.com Ryan Richards

    Very good article! I also work from home and it does reduce the ‘shine’ of weekending and evenings (when im not working that is). I have even looked in my local area for these ‘coworking’ centers of which we have zero. So I started thinking why not have a virtual collaboration center? I would pay money just to HEAR chatter from an office environment. I am a developer but im also a people-person and find many times how i miss the workspace chatter with others. I was amazed however to find that there are no virtual collab groups that exist.

  • http://www.mindonstatic.com Ryan Richards

    Very good article! I also work from home and it does reduce the ‘shine’ of weekending and evenings (when im not working that is). I have even looked in my local area for these ‘coworking’ centers of which we have zero. So I started thinking why not have a virtual collaboration center? I would pay money just to HEAR chatter from an office environment. I am a developer but im also a people-person and find many times how i miss the workspace chatter with others. I was amazed however to find that there are no virtual collab groups that exist.

  • http://www.dangerouslyawesome.com Alex Hillman

    @Ryan Virtual chatter…you mean twitter, right? I kid, somewhat, but I totally understand what you mean. Sort of like running an industry back-channel via a website or IRC (or some combo of both). The application that I’m involved with building has some ideas to include a back-channel into its model, though it’s early on enough in the planning stages of development that we can be open to ideas as to how to make that feature useful (and valuable) to virtual workers. Connectedness is absolutely key, and maintaining a level of persistence to that connectivity is crucial to creating it’s value.

    Cheers…keep your eyes peeled here for more.

    Also..you never said where you were from that coworking didn’t exist. Why not start your own space, or work on getting some other local folks to do so?

  • http://www.dangerouslyawesome.com Alex Hillman

    @Ryan Virtual chatter…you mean twitter, right? I kid, somewhat, but I totally understand what you mean. Sort of like running an industry back-channel via a website or IRC (or some combo of both). The application that I’m involved with building has some ideas to include a back-channel into its model, though it’s early on enough in the planning stages of development that we can be open to ideas as to how to make that feature useful (and valuable) to virtual workers. Connectedness is absolutely key, and maintaining a level of persistence to that connectivity is crucial to creating it’s value.

    Cheers…keep your eyes peeled here for more.

    Also..you never said where you were from that coworking didn’t exist. Why not start your own space, or work on getting some other local folks to do so?

  • http://www.mindonstatic.com Ryan Richards

    Alex:

    thanks for the comments. I’ve worked in eXtreme Programming type environments where all the developers sit around a huge table and code. I’ve also worked in more traditional atmospheres. In both it’s very motivating to me to see and hear others doing the same things.

  • http://www.mindonstatic.com Ryan Richards

    Alex:

    thanks for the comments. I’ve worked in eXtreme Programming type environments where all the developers sit around a huge table and code. I’ve also worked in more traditional atmospheres. In both it’s very motivating to me to see and hear others doing the same things.

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  • http://myhomewindowblinds.com Di

    Love the post! I agree that working from home can take on a different shine but after working in a traditional office would never go back. Networking with like-minded people often helps to get the creative juices flowing again. Don’t know about the rest of you but since I work a ton of weekends I usually don’t have any time leftover to meet with new people and new ideas….??!!

    How about the rest of you?

  • http://myhomewindowblinds.com Di

    Love the post! I agree that working from home can take on a different shine but after working in a traditional office would never go back. Networking with like-minded people often helps to get the creative juices flowing again. Don’t know about the rest of you but since I work a ton of weekends I usually don’t have any time leftover to meet with new people and new ideas….??!!

    How about the rest of you?

  • http://www.aaworkathome.com Ed

    Seems like we all have the same sentiment about working from home. I don’t wear a watch or even know what day it is sometimes. Week ends and days of the week are all blurred together. Life working at home has no clocks.

    But when I do decide to take a little time off with the family espcially going to the ocean. I make sure I a day I would least likely find the smallest crowds.

    Work from home does have some advantages.

  • http://www.aaworkathome.com Ed

    Seems like we all have the same sentiment about working from home. I don’t wear a watch or even know what day it is sometimes. Week ends and days of the week are all blurred together. Life working at home has no clocks.

    But when I do decide to take a little time off with the family espcially going to the ocean. I make sure I a day I would least likely find the smallest crowds.

    Work from home does have some advantages.

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