If you asked me to give you three facts about myself, I would tell you (1) I’m a evening and weekend entrepreneur, (2) when I start working on something I enjoy, I can’t put it down, and (3) I love coffee. This a formula for disaster because I have a full time job that I have to show up to by 9AM and I’m a normal human person who needs at least 6 hours of sleep.
I used to work from home or at coffeeshops. They are not the best workspaces for various reasons.
Option 1: Work At Home
For me, the main disadvantages of working at home are the loneliness and the lack of work life balance, which I think really affected my productivity.
Loneliness: When you work at home, you are alone. There’s no one else there working with you. I, and I think most people, feel more productive and get more motivated to work when surrounded by other people who are also working on their computers.
No Work Life Balance: Home is a place where you associate with relaxation. The demarcation between work time and sleep time gets blurred. I had made a habit of staying up until 3 in the morning coding on week nights when I have work the next morning because it is much easier to keep going when you are making progress on your project than to stop and go to sleep when you are in a blissful state of flow.
Option 2: Work At Coffeeshops
Coffeeshops address the problem of a loneliness and providing a separate workspace than home where you sleep and relax. However, expect to pay a lot of money for coffee and food when you work at a coffeeshop.
Expensive: I live in northwest part of Washington DC, which has a vibrant Coffee house scene. People go to coffeeshops such as Tryst, The Coup, and Potter’s House, which open until late in the evening, offer people with computers coffee, food, and a comfortable place to work. I went to coffeeshops a lot a one point - almost every day. The bills ran up to $800 a month at one point. While I still visit these coffeeshops sometimes, I can’t afford to do it everyday.
Option 3: Work At Co-Working Spaces
I got a membership to a local co-working space called Cove. There are many co-working spaces in Washington DC but Cove distinguishes itself from others like WeWork by being affordable and flexible.
Cost: Since I won’t be using a co-working space until after 5PM on weekdays or the weekend, I purchased the Nights and weekends plan for less than $80 a month from the cove. This is a significant cost savings than the alternative WeWork, which does not offer that option and charges you $220 for a hot desk (e.g., access to any open seat in the common area) at a select WeWork location. Cove has five locations all throughout the city and for $80, lets you work at any of these location. I go to the one that’s a 10 minute walk from where I live during the week and during the weekends, I visit a Cove at a different neighborhood that’s closest to where I want to go on the weekends to have fun.
Amenities: Every Cove comes with coffee. Unlimited coffee. There are also sparkling water, soda, and snacks. There are social spaces to work and talk and there are quiet spaces to work if you need to concentrate. The workspaces are very nice with plants everywhere and nice furniture. You can work at a big table, an small table, a booth, a couch, at the kitchen counter. This is exactly what I want - variety.