I was mostly on distributed teams when I worked at Sun Microsystems. Sometimes it was on a multi-site team, but more often than not I was on teams where I was one of the few, if not only, members based in Colorado. As a result, I had a well appointed home office. This came in handy when I switch from full time employment to full time consulting.
The general advice when working from home is to do what you can to separate home life from work life. Have a separate room for work, have a door, teach your kids and spouse about work time, have a signal that indicate that you should not be disturbed. I was doing all of these things. My family was cooperative. It was mostly working.
But I was getting restless at home. I had started to resent the small intrusions into work life. I missed the buffer that a commute provides between both worlds. I kept gaining weight. I realized that I needed to get out of the house.
I had a few basic requirements:
- I wanted a door. Working in an open space was not really an option. I abhor open floor plans and I refuse to inflict those on me. I also have frequent meetings and conversations with my clients. Privacy is a must and I am willing to pay a premium for it.
- I wanted to be able to ride to work. I used to ride part of the way to work when I worked in Boulder and near Downtown Boulder. I really enjoyed the rides. I however have a hard time to just ride for the fun of riding. I need a destination.
- I wanted lunch options. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but having the option to step out of the office for lunch is a good thing and adds some variety.
- I really wanted a nice coffeeshop nearby. Coffee is life…
I started to consider the options available to me. Boulder was mostly out of the question due to the distance. It’s one thing to do the trek once a week to host code && coffee, but it is another one to do so on a daily basis. Downtown Denver is still pretty far, but there are many public transportation options. Another option was to look for office space in or near my neighborhood.
Most coworking spaces offer the option of having a private office or space. You pay a premium for it, but it’s the easiest way to find space for a single person private office. However, the northeast area of the Denver metro area is a wasteland when it comes to co-working spaces. Google doesn’t list a single coworking space in my area. Pivotdesk was also pretty bare. Craigslist showed some promise. There were many listing for suites in local office buildings. Most of the suites were either a 2-3 office suite, or an office with a reception area. I considered leasing of these spaces, but I wasn’t entirely comfortable with paying the rent on a 2-3 office space and trying to find other people to occupy it. However, a single office listing showed up. I contacted the lister, visited the space and I now rent my very own office.
That office covers most of my requirements. There is a door, it is within riding distance from my home. There are lunch options even if they are mostly suburban style options. There isn’t really much beyond Starbucks in the area. I set up the office with a very nice setup and I am now able to work outside of the home.
There are options outside of the usual working from home, working from coffeeshop or working from co-working space for independent professionals. You may have to look for them a little bit harder. However, you sometime find a gem that gives you the opportunity to find a quiet space where you can work.