More than a decade after the Internet allowed millions of people to work at home, the next phase of telecommuting involves, well, not working at home.As a remote worker, I can almost understand this. There are plenty of days when I need to get out of my home office. I pack up my computer and head over to the Bauhaus, Starbucks, or another coffee shop. Sometimes that change of scenery helps me concentrate -- helps me slip into the zone of productivity.
Organized "coworking" -- the concept of working solo alongside like-minded independents -- has spread to dozens of cities.
The irony of coworking isn't lost on organizers, including Kevin Bachman, who set up a group north of Atlanta as part of an informal Web-based network called Jelly."The reason people work alone, is because they're looking for freedom," said Bachman, a 34-year-old Web developer who telecommuntes part time. "It may be ironic that you crave isolation, but you also want to be socially interactive with others like you."
But I don't do it to talk to other people. I do it to be surrounded by people going about their business and for some visual stimulation other than my desk. One of the benefits of being a remote worker is being able to work and be productive without people popping their heads into your cube every ten minutes for "just one quick thing."
But if a remote worker misses the community of the office and the friends they make at the workplace, organized coworking may be a solution.