I have been based from a home-office since the early 1990s, when my then employer, SmithKline Beecham, set me up as their first full-time office based team member. I like my home office, I feel comfortable in the space I find familiar and safe. Indeed, so comfortable that I, like many of my peers, have been known to work in my pyjamas and eat cereal at my desk. This month, I started to spend one day per week at a desk-sharing space in Llandovery, called The Pod, which offers high-speed internet, a great clean and fresh working space and the chance to get un-comfortable, in the best possible way.
One of my favourite sayings about change, has to be “Change never came from a place of comfort”. It’s certainly proved to be true for me, and over the last five decades, I’ve made the bravest and most important changes when I’ve been at my most un-comfortable. That’s why I haven’t been totally surprised by the instant benefits that have come about in the first month of this new arrangement, which have included:
- Getting more done in an hour than I do in my home-office: I suspect this is partly due to the lack of distractions (the garden calls me constantly at this time of year) and partly due to the fact I know I’m paying to use the space and want to make it count (I must add it’s exceptional value for money and the speed of the internet alone is priceless to me). What ever the reasons, I have been more productive and this has been the case for every visit.
- Meeting fellow business owners and solopreneurs who live and work in my community: It’s easy to feel isolated when you’re working in a home-office, and being in a space with others who are going through similar experiences running a business can re-motivate and reassure us. I’ve been inspired by one of the younger people working here, who’s writing his first book, and his enthusiasm for his new opportunity has reignited my love of writing.
- Investing in myself: I spend money on using this space, and although it’s only a small amount, I’ve got to that point in my business where I can invest in my surroundings. I’ve given myself permission to spend some of the money I’ve earned this year on a space that motivates me. That feels like an acknowledgement of how far I’ve come in the last 12 months and I’m acknowledging that to myself which motivates me to continue to strive to grow my business.
- Connecting with the broader community: I’ve eaten in three local restaurants in the last month, here in Llandovery. I’ve eaten with new contacts, and met people they know. I’ve expanded my local network and been introduced to people who work in our town. It’s important to me that we’re part of our community, and play an active role in the growth of our town, and the best way to do this is to meet the right people. Being in The Pod has given me the chance to start building on this.
I’m sitting in The Pod as I write this blog, and I’m also aware of the things that are harder to explain or measure; things like the traffic going past which reminds me how busy our town is and that life goes on outside my tiny home-office. The coming and going of local business people, the buzz it creates to hear voices in the meeting room behind me as a group hold a team meeting, all help to banish that sense of isolation that can overwhelm us when we work from home. The invitation to join Luke, one of the team here at The Pod, to have lunch and talk about our businesses, that reminds me how much I enjoy connecting great people who can help each other.
When we sit in our comfortable, safe and familiar home-offices, we’re missing out on the many chances to get out and meet others who can have such a positive impact on our working day in the short and long-term. Consider assigning one day each week in your schedule to getting out to a local shared space and seeing how it can impact your results, your network and your enjoyment for what you do.
I’d love to see you at The Pod – let me know when you’re planning to work from here, and let’s start a conversation.