Five years ago, with the launch of Groundwork coworking space, the South Coast got a taste of big city coworking in our tiny part of the world. I welcomed this with open arms considering the 15+ years as a remote worker I’ve always wanted to have a space to turn to that wasn’t my home office.
Having to sit in your house at the same desk can get to you after a while, but don’t get me wrong, it’s way better than the schlep up to Boston wasting THOUSANDS of hours in my car. The glamour of being able to work from home doesn’t always match the reality and you might need to get out of the house to get the job done — or to get dressed like a normal human being.
A gradual revolution for the remote worker
Things take time on the South Coast.
Years ago a colleague of mine had great aspirations to start a coworking space in New Bedford, even the embattled Mayor of Fall River took a few swings at the plate and struck out. Until recently, it was a concept that never stuck.
If you asked someone around these parts what coworking space was or if they were allowed to “work from home” you’d get a slightly twisted and confused look from them. But here we are, in 2019, seeing increased coworking opportunity with more remote work positions being adopted by local businesses which is a great trend to witness.
While a majority of remote work feels reserved for tech firms, small business owners are getting just as savvy. We’re seeing more owners turning away from paying high-priced office space rent while using online communication & collaboration tools that can replace or even improve communication with staff.
- Why pay crazy rent or force your employees to sit in traffic for hours on end?
- Do we really need hour-long meetings in person or can we do this over Zoom?
I’m not advocating to remove all human interaction, quite the opposite, in fact. I’m also not saying you need to replace everything with software or automation, but there are certainly huge productivity gaps that everyday business owners can make more efficient.
I hope to see more companies create the opportunity for remote positions or even hybrid working models for their employees.
How coworking paves a path to community
The long-term benefit of coworking isn’t just a desk to rent or a meeting room to book, but the opportunity for a community that realizes itself over time.
Had Sarah & Dena not started Groundwork, I would have never met the team at EforAll or started the local WordPress meetup. Countless friendships have been forged and business opportunities have cropped up. With Dena now leading the Co-Creative, artists, and creatives have a place to call home as well.
From community functions, to art galleries, to educational events — coworking spaces provide great benefits to the local community and aspiring business builder.
Coworking is big business; shop local
Shopping local bears as much weight on the “digital & tech” space as it does your local corner store or craft maker.
Let’s take popular coworking brand WeWork for instance. If you haven’t been following that madness, you might have missed that they tried to IPO at a $47 BILLION dollar valuation until someone actually read their S-1 registration statement only to find out like most unicorn tech disruptors, there is barely a business model in place to sustain the business.
Speaking from the local tech scene: hire and buy local.
If you need a web designer or developer, don’t simply turn to marketplace websites to get the cheapest price. Hire local, create opportunities in our area, support organizations that desire to provide great service — not just a billion-dollar IPO.
Coworking spaces on (or near) the South Coast
New Bedford, Ma
We are the South Coast’s only coworking space & community for remote professionals, entrepreneurs, and non-profits. Work, learn, and meet people here.
New Bedford, Ma
The Co-Creative Center is the thriving heart of creative enterprise in historic, downtown New Bedford, MA.
Fall River, Ma
The Business Innovation Center is a nonprofit membership-driven organization located at 385 Columbia Street in the Historic Cultural Corridor of Fall River MA. We offer coworking office suites, meeting space, classrooms, creative labs and maker space to students, small businesses, artisans and entrepreneurs.
Sprout CoWorking offers flexible workspace, dedicated desks, a local address, shared office, private offices and eight meeting rooms—the best of coworking for an innovative and creative environment.
We’ve transformed a historic school building in the heart of Newport, R.I. into a hub for the region’s growing innovation economy. Our newly renovated 33,000-square foot Class A coworking, private office, and meeting space is designed to spark innovation and build community.
5 Tips for coworking & remote work
Here are a few pointers that I’ve found helpful if you find yourself remote working:
- Balance your environment — I work in mixed mode, some from home, some from coffee shops, some from co-working spaces. It might be in my DNA, but I can’t commit to one space for long lengths of time. I’ve found success in splitting my location based on the type of work I need to get done. Writing a post, like this one, is best served from a coffee shop. Meetings and busywork, do it from a co-working space. Podcast and video production, home office.
- Find a tribe — I mentioned earlier that Groundwork introduced me to EforAll which built a whole new tribe for me to interact with. I love spending time with other entrepreneurs and talking shop. For you it might be other creatives, artists, or writers — find your people.
- Uncover opportunity — I’ve been able to spread the word out about this podcast and my podcasting services by getting out from behind my desk at home and interacting with other human beings. It sounds so obvious, but as a remote worker, I can’t count the times I’ve never left the house at weeks on end.
- Software and automation — Embrace technology, but don’t let it consume you. If you’re looking to stay connected and organized, there are tons of options, here’s a few I’ve used:
- Invest in great headphones — I know this one probably sounds foolish, but trust me, when you put on a good set of noise-canceling headphones it’s a whole new world. I use a pair of Sony Bluetooth headphones that shut out all of the coffee shops or noisy neighbor chatter.
Share your remote work stories
Are you a local entrepreneur building a business remotely? Have you found a new co-working space that I don’t have listed? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you.
I hope you found this post on remote work useful. Please consider sharing this on your favorite social media platform and subscribe to the show!