A Productive Workspace

Contributing Editor Robert Nieminen shares in his “Trend Alert” article, that, by 2020, 40 percent of U.S. workers will be freelancers, temps, independent contractors and “solopreneurs”. I’m currently one of them. I typically work from home but you may find me working in a coffee shop, hotel restaurant, on planes or wherever else I am while on deadline. I’ve never used a co-working space—the focus of Nieminen’s article—but according to an infographic Nieminen cites, 68 percent of workers are able to focus better while in a co-working space, which is defined as an office or other working environment used by the self-employed or those working for different employers, so they can share equipment, ideas and knowledge.

To stay focused when I first moved my office equipment home back in 2005, I told myself I would have a regularly scheduled day just like I did in the office. I have stuck to that and really have never had any trouble remaining focused. I have found that having a dedicated workspace helps. I walk into the room that is my office every morning at 8 a.m. I have a scheduled lunchtime—sometimes I eat at my desk—and when I decide the day is done, I’m able to close the door on my workspace. I used to have trouble staying away from email at all hours when I didn’t have a dedicated workspace. Of course, smartphones make that difficult again, but I truly try to shut down at the end of each day. It makes for a better work-life balance, I think.

Currently, my office is in a state of flux—actually, my life is in a state of flux! I’m getting married this summer, so I’m planning a wedding, packing up my house for a move three hours away (while trying to figure out how to merge the households of two 30-somethings), and working on tight magazine deadlines. I could use a co-working space to get away from the boxes and chaos in my office right now! I definitely focus better when the space around me is organized.

In that vein, I went to my fiancé’s house—I mean our house—last week to paint my new office space and prep it for my arrival. The space I chose to work in is located in the basement, so my fiancé hired a local contractor to put in an egress window in May. The contractor promised us the egress would be installed by June 1. As I type this column, we’re more than two weeks past this date and the egress hasn’t been installed. To be fair, there has been quite a bit of rain in the Midwest the past few weeks, which has delayed the excavation to some extent. (I’m not sure this contractor knows what I do for a living. Perhaps I should threaten to print his name in my next column if the work isn’t completed!)

Although the idea of having to work in new surroundings without a dedicated space makes me a little nervous, my future home is on a lake, so I can always work on the back deck while the lake gently laps against the shore and swans, geese, squirrels, gulls and rabbits frolic. On second thought, I better look into renting that co-working space!

About the Author

Christina A. Koch
Christina A. Koch is editorial director and associate publisher of retrofit.

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