Coworking experiences
Thread poster: Fiona Grace Peterson

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:47
Italian to English
Sep 28, 2015

A new coworking facility has just been set up in the town where I live. While I'm seriously considering the idea of using it, it has a montly cost, rightfully so.

I was wondering how many of you out there use such facilities, and what your experiences have been?

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oliver05  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:47
English to German
+ ...
Never looked back Sep 28, 2015

After 8 years of working from a home office I moved my business into a nearby coworking facility. That was two and a half years ago and I consider this as one of the smarter decisions of my career as a freelance translator.

Most importantly: my productivity has increased significantly, as there are NO distractions from work.

Additionally, separating work from life has become MUCH easier, and the occasional chat with co-workers (all self-employed) is sometimes interesting and sometimes even downright helpful.

There are also other, more personal advantages.

For me the benefits most definitely outweigh the costs (in my case, less than 100 Euros after taxes).

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:47
Member (2007)
+ ...
Great for mobility Sep 28, 2015

These facilities don't much interest me as they don't seem to offer a great deal apart from the obvious one of distancing my professional from my personal life. But that can be done in other ways that I'm working on.

But I recently went to the opening of the first in my local town, and I can see tremendous advantages for some people. I live in a holiday area with all-year-round sun and surf. Now, freelancing definitely appeals to surfer dudes, who don't on the whole seem at all like 9-5 employees. So what better than to come here for the winter, surf when the conditions are right, and work when they aren't? This place we have here is open 24/7 for its card-holders, so night owls can choose to either spend time in the many bars or spend half the night working. For globe-trotters too, these places seem ideal. Desk, chair, Internet connection, printer/scanner/fax and a few other bits of equipment, power, refreshments and rest area... all available for a modest sum. Just bring your own laptop and start earning.

I think if I had my time again I'd roam the world, staying a few months in each place and making use of coworking spaces everywhere.

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Agnes Lenkey  Identity Verified
German to Spanish
+ ...
It depends on how many (and how they) are working in the same room Oct 1, 2015

Dear Fiona,

I have used a coworking space and I think it is a very good idea, even if you have to pay for it. I loved this daily routine, the opportunity to get to know other freelancers, etc.

But I had to quit after a few months, because we were about 4-5 persons in the same room, and one of them used this space almost as a real office: talking constantly on the phone, having talks with his partner in the same room, etc. It was simply too loud for me. I had to look for a quieter place in order to be able to focus properly (for example a public library).

I would advise you to make sure in advance that there will not be too much noise around your desk.

Best regards,


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Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:47
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Beware the open-plan layout Oct 1, 2015

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:
I was wondering how many of you out there use such facilities, and what your experiences have been?

I think it would depend very much on the layout of the facilities.

I worked in open-plan offices for 20 years and whenever I needed to get any serious work done I had to plug in inner-ear earphones with custom molds and play white or pink noise (not music) to drown out the background hubbub. Otherwise I found myself subconsciously listening to the many conversations going on around me.

There's a lot of research to support my experience that people get knocked out of their flow pretty easily. Basically, interruptions from others - as Agnes found - can have a devastating effect on productivity. If you are interrupted it takes a surprising amount of time for the average person (about 15 minutes) to get back into the flow that they had before they were interrupted.

In software development, which I consider similar in terms of its cognitive requirements to translation, a lot of research has been done programmer productivity and the thinking is that people are are more productive when they have their own offices. Microsoft famously allots a private office to every developer, for example.

There's a good article summarising the problems with open-plan offices here.

On the other hand, I can certainly see the attraction in a shared work space and after having been in an intensely social and communication-rich work environment for two decades I do miss that as a freelancer. A Japanese-English translator wrote about her experience in helping set up a collective work space in Brighton in a recent ITI (was it?) magazine article and that seems to have gone well for her.

Conclusion: workspace with a private office but shared communal areas that encourage social contact is probably the best compromise for most people.


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Christina Baier  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:47
Member (2014)
French to German
+ ...
agree with Dan Oct 1, 2015

"Conclusion: workspace with a private office but shared communal areas that encourage social contact is probably the best compromise for most people." (Dan)

Yes! I agree with you.

I have been thinking about coworking because of interruptions when working at home: Friends, neighbours, family... know that you are there and they tend to interrupt you (phone calls, knocking on the door: "I don't want to interrupt you, just wanted to ask something...")

And even if they don't, the feeling that they could interrupt you at every moment can steal a bit of your concentration (like working next to a sleeping baby that CAN wake up every moment).

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