Over the last eight years I have had the privilege of working from my home. No commute, relaxed atmosphere, flexible hours, lunch at home, what’s not to like? Actually, there is much not to like. The relaxed atmosphere becomes a little too relaxed, flexible hours become never really leaving work, lunch at home becomes snacking all day, no commute becomes social and professional isolation.
The coffee shop and public library both provide for an occasional escape– but the non-professional atmosphere can be too much of a distraction. Renting a traditional office is much too expensive.
There must be something better. Turns out… there is: CoWorking.
About a year ago I ran across this article in World Magazine describing the relatively new concept of shared work spaces called CoWorking. As I read through the article I knew CoWorking would be a perfect fit for my situation.
What is CoWorking? Wikipedia defines it as…
…a style of work that involves a shared working environment, often an office, and independent activity. Unlike in a typical office environment, those coworking are usually not employed by the same organization. Typically it is attractive to work-at-home professionals, independent contractors, or people who travel frequently who end up working in relative isolation. Coworking is also the social gathering of a group of people who are still working independently, but who share values, and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with like-minded talented people in the same space.
Great idea, but would there be a coworking space in my area? A simple Google search quickly gave me the answer, yes! After visiting the space, CoWork155, with my wife during an open house style “free coworking day” I decided to join as a ‘part time’ member.
CoWorking spaces typically offer varying levels membership. The differing levels of membership allow for differing level of access to the space itself and to the business amenities offered.
My part time membership provides me with 8 days of access monthly with full access to the amenities. The shared amenities include shared high speed internet, printer, copier, private conference room, kitchen, lounge area, paper cutter, tape, stapler, etc., etc. All I do is show up with my laptop and cell phone.
Being in full time ministry and working from home I found that I was becoming isolated from the world. It was getting to the point where I hardly even knew someone who was not a believer. Such isolation from the world is not simply spiritually unhealthy… it is disobedience!
The New Testament teaches believers are in the world, but not of the world. Unfortunately we all too often focus on the “not of” part and ignore the “in” part.
Our Lord Jesus Christ prayed to His Father regarding His followers:
I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. John 17:14-19
Did you catch that? Jesus prayed, “As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world”.
Wow. To retreat from the world is disobedience! To isolate myself from the world is to disobey the One who has sent me into the world!
I have found coworking to be an excellent alternative my home office. Not only has it helped me to become more productive in my work, coworking has put me back in the world– right where the Lord Jesus Christ has sent me to be!
To learn more about coworking or to find a coworking space near you check out the coworking wiki.