As some of you might know I was working at sektor5 for quite some time. I am a freelance journalist, blogger and creative writer and currently I spend some time in San Francisco. Since I couldn’t bring my coworking space with me I had to look for a new place where I am allowed to be myself, drink a lot of coffee and hug people. Turns out the hugging part is the most difficult thing but that’s ok because San Francisco has a lot of great coffee.
Surprisingly some of my favorite coffee places (yes, coffee shops count as coworking spaces over here) such as Blue Bottle at Mint Plaza or the popular Sightglass Coffee don’t have WIFI or sockets. I guess because they don’t want people like me sitting there all day long with their MacBooks.
Working at Brainwash while my laundry is getting ready in the next room
Writer’s block is something very familiar to me. So I was looking for a workspace where this happens less to me than when I’m working at home. Even though home office also has its upsides. Like: it’s already there when you wake up, you can wear your pajama all day long and you can work in bed and nobody notices.
So during the first weeks here I tried to figure out where I wanna spend my days. Here’s what I learned:
Workshop Cafe is a coffee shop but also kind of a real coworking space
During my first days here I was so busy finding a new happy place. I didn’t have any time to work anymore and it was really frustrating that I couldn’t find anything. Then I was thinking about how I found sektor5.
First it didn’t mean anything special to me even though I had already been there for different events. Then there was this one moment where I didn’t feel that good and spent a weekend for a workshop there. And then it happened. People were nice, listening and they were just there for me. I thought: I have to come back because this place makes me feel like I’m protected, like it’s a safe place for me. And so I did. And yes, this was probably the best thing I’ve ever done.
Because I’ve not only met great people to work with, good friends but also my husband there. So what I’m trying to say is that it’s only natural that it takes some time to get all that in a new city again. I am not looking for a new husband, obviously.
Since I realized that I am happy with the Workshop Cafe, other coffee shops and occasionally working at home for now I believe I will find my next coworking space when I least expect it. So I keep on going to different meetups which is a good way to check them (the coworking spaces) all out.
Find yourself a work buddy.
Working alone can be quite hard when you are a freelancer. I start to feel lonely pretty quickly. So I decided to find myself “work buddies”. Actually it’s ok if you don’t speak to them or if you don’t know them. Of course this depends on how you want to do it. I am not such a big talker myself and I don’t like small talk. So it’s fine with me to sit next to someone somewhere who looks like they’re busy with work. A MacBook buddy. This makes it much easier for me to focus for more than two seconds… oh a squirrel! Recently I went to Stanford and saw a lot of squirrels on the campus which made me wonder how the students can focus there.
Talk to people. Don’t hide (all the time).
The one thing I miss the most is that you can speak with people when you are getting yourself some coffee. No, not the small talk thing. I also miss that you can ask someone to give you feedback because they are actually sitting right next to you and they are nice. You cannot do that at a coffee shop. Coworking spaces (the nice ones) are great for that. It’s something different to talk to people in person then sending them something via email. The email thing makes it much more official. So the one thing I was doing about that so far is that I enjoy it every time one of my friends from Europe is visiting and I can hang out with them. Just sitting next to each other and then talking a little bit from time to time makes sitting in front of the laptop more fun.
Find yourself a fun project.
There are lot of opportunities to help out at a coworking space. Events are one example. So as you already know I’m a freelancer and it’s only me, I don’t have a team. But from time to time I enjoy it very much to be able to work in a team. I will be helping out at Betapitch in June and I was doing stuff for the Startup Weekend Vienna some weeks ago. So this just happens when you sit there and kind of live in your coworking space. It was now harder here to find something but I managed to apply as a social media volunteer for the local Cherry Blossom Festival.
Look for coworking spaces that let you work there for less than a month.
I love coworking spaces that mention if you can buy day tickets for their space on their website. I learned most don’t do that. It’s quite hard to figure out how everything works and if you can just stay there for some days or if you have to take the full month. Calling them is not an option (for me). That’s why I like the Workshop Cafe in the Financial District here in San Francisco. You can just walk in and pay $2 for every hour. They also have an app where you can book your seat.
Working at home is fine too for some time as long as you can’t find the perfect coworking space
Happy coworking is possible around the world when you just go with the flow, I am now sure of that. The right place will find you sooner or later!