It is time to cowork

Bringing remote work in person locally.

On Monday, May 24th, I decided to do something I haven't done in quite some time.

I decided to work in person.

Two years ago, this wouldn't of sounded bold, courageous, etc.. as a matter of fact, it would've sounded rather normal.

As we all know, COVID thrashed our sense of normalcy, especially in terms of how we approach our work. Remote work thus became the new norm.

Despite the many advantages remote work has brought us, there were its obvious disadvantages as well.

Working from home, we all seemingly found a point in which there was no escape from work. It was as if tending to your relaxation, as well as work in the same place.... resulted in a continual act of juggling. Migrating from responsibilities online to responsibilities offline. Finding no room for separation from our physical realities to our online realities.

Let’s admit it: this continual act of juggling between just one more hour of work on the couch or getting too cozy (napping) during work hours is exhausting.

What is the way to create more balance in our remote work life? Especially, if we are working remotely full-time?

It is to make the personal investment in a subscription for a co-working space (if you are able to).

How would you define an investment?

Investment: an asset or item acquired with the goal of generating income.

Working back to the future?

Increasingly, we see firsthand on just how revolutionary video conferencing technologies truly are. It really is quite the wonderful thing to be able to launch a video call and eliminate commute times worldwide (except for those pesky algebraic timezone problems).

Do you recall watching the below scene from Back To The Future Part II?

I remember being absolutely mindblown by the ability to video conference with one’s coworkers from home.

I wonder how many people have gotten terminated over Zoom calls, just as future Marty McFly does in this clip? (Hopefully, not many.)

It is my belief that we would have been completely unable to fully embrace the work from home ideal, if it weren’t for the advance in remote work technologies such as: Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Slack and/or Discord.

Though these remote work technologies are great to have, they are truly lacking something: human connection.

With remote work, there is no longer an environment for those one-off conversations that some of us claim we don’t miss. Frankly, it is quite impossible to have these (at least for now) with the above mentioned technologies.

How do we create this sort of environment for one-off conversations that transform into new friendships that we have so desperately needed the past year?

By joining a local coworking space.

The future of work is coworking

So how does one engage themselves within in a local network, while simultaneously partaking in work full-time as a remote worker? My thesis is: you get a subscription to a coworking space.

As of June 1st, I started a membership with Bamboo Royal Oak, a relatively new coworking space located in the heart of Downtown Royal Oak.

Two days in, I have had more one-off conversations than I have had in the past year. This is an astonishing realization. No, these conversations did not take place around the proverbial water cooler.

They have instead taken place in the open co-working desk plan in which I have worked from. This, my friends (whether we want to believe it or not) is something we have genuinely been lacking. Human connection.

Naturally, human connections are formed in person by conversing with one another in person.

You can then discuss where you grew up, your line of work, intellectual interests, hobbies and so on.. ideally, you would then connect with your new bud by finding one another later on social media. From there, you can then delineate more and more of your commonalities. This then leads to an opportunity to collaborate, start a community together, make more connections etc…

What does this mean for remote work?

I believe the remote work movement that has been brought about by the prolific advances in technology as well as out of necessity (due to COVID).. will become the new norm.

Want to know what the best part about working remotely at a coworking space is?

You can work from home whenever you’d like, as well as go into the office whenever you’d like. I call this freedom.

Having this optionality, is ideal for the modern-day worker. It is my opinion that having the freedom to choose where you can perform your work on a daily basis, is going to be something in which future employees of your company will come to value very much.

Coworking & community

The ability to form communities online is quite the magical thing, let’s admit it for what it is.

However, the true distinguisher between online communities and offline communities is the way in which we affiliate with one another.

For our online communities, it is easier than ever to find our intellectual companions (those interested in the same niches as us). As a matter of fact, the internet continually enables us to connect with others whether it be in a particular subreddit, online forum, in the comments section, or better yet a Discord group.

For our offline communities.. it is all about putting ourselves out there to meet friends/collaborators within our locality.

Making the push to joining a coworking space if you are working remotely is a necessity to getting connected with the community in which you live offline.

Relate to those in your local offline communities by: attending local events, frequenting local restaurants/stores, becoming a part of the chamber of commerce, or by rooting for your local sports team. You never know, the people in which you meet from these groups, could actually have similar interests as you have developed due to the help of your increased time online over the past year.

This could then create the opportunity to expand on the online communities in which we have already built!

I am a firm believer that what will make individuals happy in the future with their work is by developing their passions for their niche interests online… while concurrently taking action and making connections in the offline world.

There is a point in which you have to climb out of your learning rabbit hole and start helping others dig theirs. Moving forward, you may even wind up digging the next rabbit hole with a local collaborator. Next thing you know, you may even start a business together due to finding an ideal product/market fit locationally.

Concluding Thoughts

Our present working realities have placed us in a unique spot in which remote work has become quite comfortable.

This is actually a great thing, due to the internet’s inherent ability to more easily connect us with intellectual collaborators all over the globe.

However, what about our social lives in-person while working remotely? How to better foster relationships as well as collaborations? My advice is to join a coworking space.

Ideally, from there, you can then branch out using the remote work tools that you have come to understand quite well… finding ways to connect within your community.

You could start by creating a local Discord dedicated to your favorite tv show, baseball team, or nerdy interests that you have developed while online.

It is time to take what we have learned from online communities and apply them to our offline communities.

It is time to find the ideal medium, utilizing the wonderful remote work technologies we have and fostering our offline relationships with the people in our locality.

It is time for you to invest in yourself, as well as your community and join a coworking space.

Cheers to lifelong learning,

Adam Bartley


A reminder, if you're enjoying The Freelance Graduate Student, I would really love it if you shared it with a friend or two. You can send them here to subscribe. I try my very best to put out my best ideas out each week, and I hope you have as much fun reading them, as I do creating them.

If you find anything relevant to the previous writing I have put out, or just additional links you would like to share, reply to this post and send them over.