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Alternative Workspaces March 20, 2007

Posted by Stacey Swift in environment, Internet, Technology, work-family balance, Workplaces.
2 comments

The invention of the Internet made working from the home a possibility for many employees. Technology such as telephones, laptops, fax machines, and even web-cams helped to make home offices a great alternative for many people. Whether its being home with the kids or working on a different coast, people no longer need to leave their home in order to conduct business. Recently, people are discovering the advantages of “alternative work-spaces” rather than isolating yourself in a home office. Darius Roberts is a 27 year old starting a company that prefers to work out of a coffee shop rather than his apartment. Those who work at home often complain of loneliness and lack of a social network. With access to wireless and coffee and the opportunity to meet other developers he finds the coffee shop to be a productive “office.” In addition to informal work spaces such as coffee shops, more structured communal work spaces have been introduced. Roberts found a flyer for the Hat Factory, a community office space that offers a communal kitchen, a desk, private meeting room, and a lounge for just $10 a day or $170 a month. He says this encourages more meaningful connections than just a coffee shop. It is a great place for entrepreneurs to share not only resources but also ideas and network.

co-working facilities help fill the social needs people have as well—either informally, by simply bringing together a group of people with similar interests, or formally, through networking events, holiday parties, and even softball leagues.

Last week in class we discussed social networks. The use of technology has broken down many social networks, eliminating a lot of the personal interaction that used to be necessary. Do you think working from home is a good option? People do have social needs, does working from home destroy these social networks, or is being able to conference call to an office a sufficient alternative? I think as long as a certain level of personal interaction is maintained working from home can be a great alternative, especially for those with children. Additionally, for those who feel lonely at home or are just starting up a business I think the use of community offices is a great way to create social networks. People who would otherwise be working in isolation can share their ideas with others in similar situations. How much social interaction does one need to work?

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