When I started working at DNSimple I worked at home most of my time. For many people this is an ideal situation, there is many good reasons for doing it: avoiding commutes, taking care of your kids when your partner is working, being present if you are having a visit from the plumber…
I have a long story of doing remote working, the first company that allowed me doing remote work was in 2008, but only Mondays and Fridays were allowed with occasional exceptions, it had a handful of remote workers but most of us lived in Madrid. The next company where I worked had a more free schedule and a lot of people doing remote in a few cities in Spain and London, but still if you lived in Madrid you were expected to drop by the office once or twice a week at least. Both schedules worked for me quite well, specially because office hours were not fixed. Going full remote with DNSimple was not supposed to be a big deal since I've been already partially working remotely for two companies. I even spent a few months on full remote in a couple of summer trips to Berlin and Gijón in 2009 and 2013.
I was wrong.
Almost at the same time I joined DNSimple I fell in love with Virginia, a really talented woman that happened to live 400 kilometers far away from Madrid. Both of us started to travel a lot to see each other, we spent whole weeks together in Bilbao and many weekends in Madrid. In addition I started to travel more because our company retreats. All that led to a disconnection to my friends in Madrid, and I started to feel the weight of spending most of my weekdays working at home, eating alone (this is important in Spanish culture), not talking with anyone during the whole day, and not having a couple of hours of face to face contact with human beings for most of the week. I felt lonely and depressed most of my work days.
This needed to change, and after talking with Anthony I decided to try a co-working space, DNSimple will kindly expense the co-working. At that time my friends from Tecnilógica have just moved to a new office and Jorge, their CEO told me that they were renting a few spots to people close to the company. I thought it was a good match since I already knew a lot of people working there, was good friends with many of them and their offices were at a 15 minutes bike ride from where I lived at that time.
I started to go to Tecnilógica's two or three times a week and I slowly started to feel better, joining people for lunch or sharing 10 minutes and a couple of cups of coffee here and there made the difference. Shortly after that, Tecnilógica became DNSimple customers and I even ended up giving a talk to Tecnilógica's employees about how our company works. I enjoy a lot going there and I still keep most of the benefits of working from home when I need it.
On the other hand I found a few drawbacks, now I spend some time commuting but is a pleasant bike ride most of the days, also is easy to get distracted by your fellow co-workers, sometimes coffee breaks or lunches take more time than you would like.
Here is a more concise list of benefits and drawbacks of going to a co-working:
- Interacting with really nice people, including coffee breaks and lunches.
- A nice short bike ride in the morning and another one in the evening.
- Free coffee.
- Free concierge for mail packages, specially records.
- Awesome Internet connection.
- Stepping out from home helps focusing in some occasions.
- Having face to face relationship with a good customer.
- Commuting time, 30 minutes in total in my case.
- Coffee breaks and lunches can subtract time for "productive" work.
- Co-workers can distract you from working, just by mere talking or approaching to you.
Co-working has been beneficial to my well being and I believe it can help many remote workers to have the benefits of both of worlds, this are the key aspects from my point of view:
- Having short interactions with persons makes you feel better if you spend a lot of time on you own, lunches are sad if you eat alone.
- Working in an office sometime helps on gaining or keeping the focus in those days where you are specially distracted.
- Having direct contact with a customer provides good value and improves the relationship between companies.