While evaluating coworking options here in Portland, Oregon, I have discovered that the coworking pricing shows an expectation of a certain momentum that I don’t have. Yeah, that’s pretty vague. I’ll explain how I work, and then how the pricing models clash with that. (Photo: Tyler Ingram)
Most of my work is pretty self-contained. Setting up a server and some software for a specific purpose, writing code as necessary. Implementing reliable operations so those servers don’t surprise anyone with downtime or excessive resource usage. Evaluating business plans and investment pitches and reporting the relevant facts and opinions. For all of these tasks, I can stare at a screen, read a little and type a little, and the work is done.
Sometimes, though, I need to build a team for a particular task, normally because the window of opportunity is shorter than I can manage alone, or the work has a broad scope and some of tasks require results of a quality that I can’t provide myself. So I hire contractors, explain the goals and give them their assignments. Sometimes they can work alone, just syncing up at a few milestones along the way. Sometimes we need to be in the same place to get the work done properly, without wasted time waiting for replies or interruptions like a ringing phone. I turn my ringer off when I need to concentrate, which prevents both interruptions and quick communication. Wouldn’t it be great if we could work in the same room‽ (Photo: Emdot)
Let’s say that I have an office with a door at Ye Olde Coworking Place. Let’s say that I share that with some people I work with occasionally, people who also want a place with a door. We either pay for the space (number of people is constrained by the space, bunk-desks not being a thing that exists, as far as I know) or we pay per person. Some places have a per-person ‘initiation fee’. How does this work when I need one more person in my space for a project that may last a couple weeks or a couple months? What if one of my ‘permanent’ office-mates is going to be travelling, freeing up the space for a different person to work in his space?
Fortunately most coworking spaces in Portland are local, and local usually means adaptable. We will be testing that soon!