Three years ago, when I started Lift Communications, I was working from my dining room table. I've had jobs in the past where working from home was an option, but I never felt that I was as productive as I could be. There were always too many distractions -- whether it was folding the laundry and doing dishes, or noodling around on the guitar or drums -- that had the potential to pull me away from my work.
It wasn't long before I set up shop in a local Starbucks, along with an assortment of other regulars with laptops. Some days I was able to focus and get a lot done, fuelled by one coffee and a trail of free samples. Other days, I ended up at a table next to say, a priest and one of his flock reminiscing about the good ol' pre-collar days, or adolescents from the local high school caught up in caffeine-driven turmoil and angst. Tough to tune out, but "Yes, I will try a salted caramel chocolate chunk scone, thank you very much!"
Then, my friend David Jorritsma of SignAgent (yes, a shameless plug for a great client) told me about the Halton HiVE, a new coworking space that had opened up in Burlington. He was the first member.
As a solopreneur, I was hesitant about paying anything for office space, but I checked it out. It's turned out to be an amazing place -- a community of technical and creative entrepreneurs and small business owners. A year and a half later, I've found I've stumbled into being part of a growing movement. That's fun.
Here are 5 things I love about working at the HiVE.
It's good to be around other people who are working. There's a buzz in the air, and for me, there's a subtle but real sense of accountability in knowing there are other people in the room.
We Canadians are a reserved people. There were lots of other people doing work at Starbucks, but there's no connection. Despite the fact you'd see each other every day, at the coffee shop it was rare anyone would show even a glint of recognition and nod hello. At the HiVE, it's easy to meet new people, whether in a social or professional context.
Along with social connections come opportunities to network professionally and learn from and collaborate with others. Recently, I participated in a "Cotivation" business accountability group facilitated by the HiVE. Eight people met once a week for five weeks to set goals and encourage each other to reach them. I'm also currently working on my fifth project for another HiVE member -- jobs I wouldn't have landed if I were working in a home office.
- No Politics.
It's great to work in an office environment that has very little office politics. Unlike companies I've worked for that have typical chains of command, HiVE members are mostly self-employed. So a lot of the posturing and other BS that happen in a corporate setting just don't happen in a coworking space.
- Whiff Whaff.
Also known as table tennis or ping pong. Okay, so coworking is not completely distraction free. We do need regular breaks to get the blood flowing. The ping pong table in the lunch room has been a great way to keep mentally and physically sharp. We even have our own paddles.
The Halton HiVE is a great place to do business, with hot desks, offices and "suite spot" space and meeting rooms available to members. Check it out or stop in for a visit if you're in the area.
901 Guelph Line