Guest Post by Michelle Abraham
I was so excited the day I could work from home. No more commuting, no more getting dressed up for work, and no more office politics: it was everything I had worked so hard for. Life was going to be bliss!
The novelty of working from home certainly was fun for a short amount of time. Sitting on the couch in my pjs, coffee in hand, working away—it was my dream. When reality set in and months passed, I realized that over time, my workdays got shorter and less productive as I found myself distracted from my work by laundry, dishes and the fridge. I was now 6 months pregnant and anything to do with the baby distracted me as well!
I started finding myself going a little stir crazy with less face-to-face connection with people. I felt a sense of loss and noticed my moods were lower then normal. I started making myself get out of the house more often for networking and taking a workout break in the middle of the day to help me through the long stretches of work time!
I really didn’t realize that not getting dressed in the morning and not interacting with people made me less productive, and I started to have less self-confidence. I wanted to feel that sense of community again, but without the boss.
I tried the coffee shop thing for a bit and I felt more social, but way less comfortable. I didn’t appreciate the glares from employees when I’d outstayed my welcome, and I especially didn’t appreciate the $300 bill when my laptop short-circuited after too many people were plugged into the same socket.
When my son was born we were so lucky. My husband took parental leave so we were both home together, which was awesome for bonding time, but terrible for trying to sneak in work during nap time. Evening work time was also tricky since I was exhausted by the time the baby was down and I could escape for a few hours.
One night at a networking event, I won a door prize for a Social Media Audit from Steph Wagner. We met a week or so later and discovered we both had the same issues working from home with babies/toddlers: no time to work and it conflicted with being the moms we wanted to be! It was a tough balancing act and we were missing that community and human connection of a work place.
Steph was talking about a concept called co-working, and how she wanted to open a space. We immediately clicked and I was onboard with her idea. “You should really do that, I love that idea. Actually, I’m going to open it with you” I said. For us, co-working wasn’t just about coming into an office and working for the day. It was about a collaborative community.
MWorklab was born and the rest is history! MWorklab is a workspace where you can Create, Collaborate and Grow your business. We are approaching our 1 year anniversary on April 1st, and it has been an amazing journey. We are all about bringing people together and connecting our members. We want nothing more than to help businesses grow and thrive in a supportive community.
We have created a place where entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, telecommuters and work-from-home moms and dads can all come in, get focused, get work done and also feel part of a community. We have so many unique businesses working here: a chiropractor, app developers, a rafting company, a business coach, an artist, a publisher, a podcaster, a nutritionist, digital marketing specialists, bloggers, a cleaning company, and many others throughout the week.
The best part of being part of this community is that when you want to come to work, you are able to come as often as you need—whether that’s every day or once a month. If you have a question or need an opinion, you have a wealth of knowledge available for you to tap into and a supportive network of business-minded people. Our members say that they are more focused and work more efficiently when they are around other motivated business owners.
I think in the next 10 years, co-working will be the way of business. Companies won’t have to be burdened with a huge overhead and employees can work at the closest co-working space to their house. With the square footage of apartments in downtown cores getting smaller and smaller, I can understand why working from home is not an option.
I would highly recommend checking out a local co-working space, since they are popping up in many communities across Canada. We belong to Co-working Canada, a website which lists all of the spaces across the country.
With a collaborative economy, flexible office space and a place to call home for my business, I am more motivated and successful—both personally and professionally—than ever before. I am more focused, more productive and my business is thriving. The best part is that I am now working less and spending more time with family, instead of spending my time with my family and stressing about when I am going to fit work in.
By Michelle Abraham
Digital Media Consultant
Co-owner of Mworklab