When you finally establish your own business, the opportunity to work wherever you want is a dream and a half.
Seriously. Once I became a full time freelancer, I can’t tell you the liberated feeling I had every Sunday night knowing I didn’t have an office overlord waiting for me the next day.
When you have to go to an office every day, you can’t see the good things. The heavy, oppressive feeling of obligation is all you feel.
Your commute feels like a military march. Your cubicle seems like a prison cell.
Once I took the leap to full-time freelancer, I enjoyed my freedom to be at HOME. I worked from my couch. Kitchen table. Sometimes I even worked right from my bed. I waged war against my previous life of wake up, commute, cubicle, repeat.
After about a year, my daily ritual was less luxurious. I no longer felt fancy-free about my working environment. I could feel myself being less productive. The TV was on more often. I wasn’t leaving the house as much as a person should. I hadn’t worn jeans in a while.
A year earlier I had looked up “coworking spaces” on Google. But the pricing seemed daunting. It didnt’ seem like a justifiable expense when I knew I could work from home or a coffee shop.
Luckily, since becoming a free agent, my business had thrived. I finally had a level of success that allowed me to explore coworking. The cost didn’t seem outlandish anymore – which was an exciting milestone for me.
After a few weeks of coworking, here are my impressions.
Coworking and the Surprising Benefits After Month One
Being around people can be motivating.
First of all, I’m an introvert. That’s why working from home and freelancing is the fit for me. BUT, there is something I do like about being around people. When I’m near others, I get a nice sense of “hey, we’re all in this together.” It’s a welcome contrast from the sometimes-isolating feeling of working from home.
I didn’t realize how much being around other people was stabilizing and calming to me.
A morning ritual makes me happy.
Another thing I didn’t realize I’d miss when I shifted to 100% remote work? My morning ritual. When I was in the fog of corporate prison, I thought everything about my morning sucked. But the truth is, it was mostly my mindset of feeling trapped that poisoned everything.
Now that I’ve begun coworking, I ride with my husband every morning. He has a set schedule so we’re out the door by 8 am. This means I wake up, make my Nespresso coffee, curl my hair, and put on my makeup.
I missed all of that!
Standing in front of the mirror, drinking coffee, and listening to a podcast is so basic. But it’s also so anchoring.
Even the resistance to waking up in the morning. Simply forcing myself to get out of bed when I’m feeling tired feels like a victory. It’s a muscle I missed.
Movement is NEAT
As a modern American, I move a lot less than say, someone in Europe. Last year I spent a month in Europe and I walked SO MUCH. When I got back I was so much more aware of how little I move.
So, when you work from home, you enter a new level of sloth status.
Even though sometimes I take two walks a day, it still doesn’t replace the amount of movement I experienced in Europe.
Now that I’m coworking, movement is back in my day. My coworking location is in the downtown area. I have to walk from a parking ramp through several skyways (it’s a Midwest thing, when it’s cold out, there are these neat walking paths inside from building to building). Anyway, coworking has me walking, walking walking.
There’s also just more NEAT happening. Neat is non-exercise-activity-thermogenesis. Basically that’s the calorie burn you get from general life activities.
From standing up to walk to the kitchen for another cup of coffee. Walking to the bathroom. All the little micro-movements that don’t seem like much? They add up.
My first days of coworking – I was so tired at the end of the day. All the NEAT was adding up because my world had expanded from an 1800 square foot house to a large fancy office building.
As a female, with a standard amount of vanity and care about my physical appearance, this added calorie burn is cool to think about.
Plus, it just feels better to move.
My Verdict On Coworking
These are my first impressions of coworking – it’s worth it. I’m more productive (which means I earn more). I’m moving more which means my endorphins are increased (yay for mental health!). I feel less isolated which has made me more creative. Feeling inspired is absolutely essential for me, as an entrepreneur. I’m definitely pro-coworking and expect that I’ll continue it, especially through the winter.