As I write this I am lightly kicking myself, because I remember a time not too long ago where I threw up my hands at my desk and thought to myself "I would've gotten so much more done today if I just worked at home!"
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR, KIDS.
Okay, I’m exaggerating, but let me explain. I am self-employed, which usually means either working from some nearby coffee shop with ample free parking and minimal grumpy parking enforcement officers, or making the long commute from my bedroom to my desk to seize the day. As a dear family friend likes to say; “I swear, all of you millennials work from home.”
You got me there!
Don’t get me wrong - I love working for myself. I love my work, I get to learn new things every day, and I have met dozens of incredible people. My boss is a fifteen-pound-rat terrier who has not once taken me out to lunch, but does seem genuinely excited each time we see each other. Really, what more could you want from a boss?
When I first started working from home it was absolute heaven. I wore sports bras all day and took conference calls while sitting on my porch. Getting rid of a commute into the heart of the city gave me back two hours each day that I could fill with client phone calls, professional development, and more! I had figured life out!
Things were all fine and dandy for the first few months. And then, quickly and without notice, I hit a wall. I couldn’t be at home anymore. After about six months of self employment, mostly spent chained to a desk in our detached garage, I realized that I missed people. I missed the act of getting ready in the mornings with somewhere to go. I missed being literally anywhere other than my home address. Working at home can make it difficult (at least for me!) to shut things off. If your home is your office, when are you not at work?
I’ve waffled on buying some sort of co-working space membership in the past, but when I’m not working at home my job takes me to all different corners of the city. Because of that, it was nearly impossible for me to settle on a co-working space that felt like the right investment. I bought a few day passes, but those can add up quickly and I wanted something a bit more official.
Thankfully, as if the stars were aligning and goddess Britney Spears heard my prayers, I got an email from Deskpass inviting me test a free trial of their subscription services. To quote them directly:
Deskpass is a monthly membership that offers as-needed access to an ever-growing network of professionally managed workspaces throughout Chicago, NYC, LA, Austin, San Francisco, Denver, Boston, Miami, DC, Seattle, Portland, Dallas, Houston and soon the world.
Through the Deskpass app I was able to pick co-working spaces based on my location, check out my calendar at a glance, and plan accordingly. When I drive around for meetings I often find myself with a lot of dead time spent sitting in my car listening to true-crime podcasts. The prospect of being able to use this time productively in a co-working space was almost too exciting to handle. Imagine the possibilities!
I love Deskpass. Even if I’m not actively interacting with them (which can be hard for my hyper-extrovert self), being around other humans has been a HUGE boost to both my mood and productivity. Having a place to go has given me much needed structure that I was missing. It’s also, obviously, harder to avoid work when you aren’t at home. At home I can walk my dog, do laundry, clean my toilets, etc., in avoidance of work. I could do those things elsewhere, I guess, but it would be really weird to clean toilets just for fun.
Deskpass can be used in a variety of ways. I’ve had days scheduled out where I’ve camped out at a co-working space for the full day (my current favorite is The Riveter on Capitol Hill) and hammered out a bunch of work projects. I’ve also used spaces for back-to-back client meetings, which is undoubtedly much more professional than hosting meetings in my dining room. I’ve also popped in to spots for 45 minutes to use the bathroom, print some things, and have a space that is not my car to decompress. It’s glorious. I feel like I have my own key to the city.