This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.
This time two years ago, when I established myself as a full-time freelance executive coach, consultant, and yoga teacher, I dropped into WeWork Charlemont Exchange to suss it out on a whim one bright and sunny Dublin afternoon.
Within 20 minutes, the very personable and efficient Darragh Roche (the local community manager) had signed me up as a hot-desker. By the next day, I had my new routine of cycling along a scenic canal each morning followed by a solid day’s work in the beautiful WeWork offices. Before long, I was also teaching a weekly yoga class for people in WeWork, which was thoroughly rewarding and provided a lovely means of getting to know some of the regular yoga enthusiasts.
Now, after 15 months of working from my spare room at home as a self-employed freelancer, or teaching yoga via Zoom from my living room, there are a number of points I have become very clear on:
- I thrive on a Monday through Friday routine. I can and did create a routine for myself working from home. However, there is nothing like having a physical commute and a separation between home and work to impose a structured work routine that allows me to enjoy both work and home more thoroughly.
- I work best surrounded by other people. Being surrounded by other people there is of course some background noise and arguably distraction. However, as long as the volume is modest and there are quiet spaces for calls, I find it immensely helpful to my productivity to work alongside others who, too, are working.
- How I work best is one thing, but how content, satisfied, and happy I feel is just as important. I love meeting new people every week, reconnecting with familiar faces every day, and making friends over time with the people I work alongside. Being a freelancer can remove these opportunities that a typical Monday to Friday job offers. And personally, after 15 months in a home office, it’s no longer an aspect of working life that I’m willing to sacrifice.
- When we interact with new, familiar, and friendly people every day, we have the opportunity to see ourselves reflected back. It gives us a daily perspective on who we are and where and how we fit into this world. It also provides the opportunity to exchange skills, ideas, and, very simply, ourselves with others.
- As per my favorite LinkedIn value, relationships matter. It has been a joy to return to WeWork this past week, to reconnect with the community here, and to see familiar and new faces around the place. For me it is healthier on so many levels to spend my days surrounded by other nervous systems, having the odd chat here and there, having a reason to cycle along the canal every day, and spending my day in a MUCH larger space than my spare room! The aesthetic and the energy of the spaces I spend my days in really matters to my creativity levels, my ability to dream big and push outside my comfort zone.
What realizations have you had regarding your home/office work setup over the past 15 months? Do you miss the daily interactions in your workplace? Or do online communities do it for you just as much as in-person contact?
I can safely say that it has done wonders for my well-being to be back in an office.
I appreciate that the WeWork offices are huge, beautifully designed, and COVID-secure, so working here currently feels like a very safe environment, whereas this may not be the case elsewhere. If you’re working from an office, you must first and foremost feel safe in doing so.
Jane Feighery is an executive coach, yoga teacher, and purpose and values consultant for business leaders. She supports ambitious leaders in clarifying, articulating, and embodying their own unique values, purpose, and vision.