I’ve settled into a new work routine this summer at a co-working place. But after working at home for over 15 years, spending time with family and enjoying a flexible schedule, I’m not going to completely throw that out for a daily commute. Also, despite trying several options for parking or taking the train, I seem unable to shake the extra cost of just being downtown.
For 2-3 days a week, it’s worth it. Whether half days or all day, this time away from the house lets me focus uninterrupted. It doesn’t hurt that they have cold-brew coffee on tap, either.
The right balance of working from home or out of the house is different for everyone. James Glazebrook, writing for Basecamp, says that co-working doesn’t work for him, but that it might for you:
“If this doesn’t describe you, by all means — consider coworking. Everyone is different and each person works differently. Maybe your job is isolating and you’re craving human interaction. Perhaps your projects would benefit from an outsider’s ideas or their complementary skills. You might not have space at home to dedicate to an office, or the desire to own a printer-scanner-fax. Or you just want to get out of the house more.”
I’d add to his list: you might have kids at home who open your office door whenever they want. My home office is currently shared with anyone who wants to use the extra iMac or printer, and the kids often need rides to appointments, camps, and friends. For me, summer is the most important time to get a more formal schedule.
Focusing in that way actually frees up the rest of the week, letting me spend time away from work without the nagging stress that I’m not being productive enough. It’s widely understand that no programmer can be productive 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Instead, limited runs of about 4 hours of work are perfect for me, and it doesn’t have to be every day. Co-working is just solid time that I can count on to move my projects forward.