This is a guest post by our member Mark Newell.
In June of 2016, shortly after my wife and I got married and I accepted a position at Salesforce, we decided to trade the impractically tall hipster bicycles of Logan Square in Chicago for the impractically wide pickup trucks of Tallahassee, FL. Without the option of a Salesforce office within a commutable distance, I was quickly preparing for my new life as a husband, Southerner, and remote employee. At Salesforce, remote employees are part of a group commonly known as “Ohana @ Home.”
In the year that followed, I did the “nomad,” thing the best I could. For a relatively small city, Tallahassee does have a diverse array of coffee shops and lunch spots with wifi and electrical outlets. When I didn’t feel like leaving the house, there was always the warm embrace of the amalgam of IKEA furniture, tech apparatuses, and pop-culture ephemera that make up my home office. Frankly, even though I was planning to work remotely for the foreseeable future, I was surprised at how quickly I’d taken to the change in lifestyle.
Then, in August of 2017, our perfect little dude William was born.
After some weeks of wrapping my head around the inexplicable highs and lows of new parenthood, it became apparent very quickly that my near-constant presence in the house was actually going to be a lot more challenging than I had originally thought. It only took a few ill-fated weeks of trying to navigate our new boundaries for me to sign up for Domi Station, one of a few local coworking spaces. It completely changed the way I live and work.
If you work all day in a home office or revel in the anonymity of coffee shops, chances for a meaningful in-person conversation are hard to come by. I’ve made a lot of coworker level friends in the past year, even if they aren’t my literal coworkers...but some of them might be!
Like many Salesforce employees, my laptop is plastered with blue cloud stickers. As such, I seem to attract random attention from entrepreneurs stationed at Domi, as well as self-employed folks who have experience with Salesforce or are curious about it. Just recently, I met a fellow Salesforce employee from a completely different part of the business that found his way to the coworking space on a similar trajectory to mine. If it can happen in Tallahassee, it can happen anywhere!
Some of my favorite things about coworking include:
Access to Extracurriculars. This obviously varies from location to location, but Domi Station has a monthly happy hour for First Fridays, community breakfast once a month, and events every week for all sorts of disciplines and areas of interest. Most of my activities are “getting home ASAP to see my son.” If you have less pressing responsibilities, the potential to stumble into something awesome is always there.
The Smell of Productivity™ Personally, I’ve found the level of comfort from working in my home office to be as much of a hindrance as it is a benefit. On one hand, working in isolation in a well curated personal setting can help you focus, but for me, I often found that it gave me too much room to slouch (literally). Even though I have no way of verifying that the people around me at Domi are actually being productive, the mere implication that they are motivates me to sit up straight and embody the vibe, too.
To learn more about co-working, visit our website here!
Making the personal decision to become a mostly 9 to 5 occupant of a coworking space was one of the best decisions I could have made as a remote worker for my career, wellbeing, and relationships. With that in mind, some days I need to be home and other days I just want to sit somewhere else, and that’s ok. The true beauty of remote work is that it allows you to work on your own terms, and those terms aren’t always apparent right away. If you keep trying new things and listening to the signals that your life around you is sending, you’ll find that even though working remotely is hugely challenging, you can still flourish in this weird and wonderful remote life.
As an enthusiastic advocate for coworking, it is my sincere hope that if more people start exploring that option, maybe more companies will have a coworking specific benefit for their remote workers.