Re: Work From Wherever

1

Ooh, I hope Yggy's commenters figure out a way to troll this one.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 11:22 AM
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You could commute there by pony.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 11:31 AM
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companies offering greater flexibility???


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 11:37 AM
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Perhaps my Googling skills suck, but I've been trying to locate just such a place in the LA area. Our apartment is small and full of distractions. I'd rather not go to a coffee house where I feel obligated to eat and drink only their food. Frankly, I'd be willing to pay $20-25 for the privilege of having a quiet carrel with guaranteed internet, and doing so without feeling like I was being antisocial, in what should be a social environment.


Posted by: Moira | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 11:46 AM
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4: Is there a public library geared toward researchers in LA?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 11:49 AM
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Any plan that requires a company to trust its employees and not nickel-and-dime them is unlikely to work.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 11:49 AM
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The great drawback to not having an office: There is nowhere quiet in the city to make a phone call. The ambient traffic from Boundary Street is too loud for me to make a quiet call from the living room, parlor, or bedroom. Plus, the fucking dogs. Cafes are no good for making calls because idiots insist on "coffee" drinks made by blenders. Just drink some goddamned drip, I'm trying to work here.

I'm vastly impressed by the woman I see frequently at my favorite cafe who composes sheet music. You'd think that a composer's office would require, like, a piano, or at least an environment that doesn't include an indie rock soundtrack.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 11:52 AM
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1: "No one uses coffee-shops as his or her office. And if anyone ever does, you shouldn't object to it -- just take it as a compliment, that you have good taste in retail outlets, and that you choose to shop in the Classy Joints that people use to conduct their business."


Posted by: arthegall | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 12:03 PM
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7: When I used to do a lot of homework and the occasional day of work-from-home at the local Starbucks (sadly there was no local indie coffeehouse), I was always impressed at the couple people who were contructing mixes or building songs from samples. The place didn't seem super-conducive to creating new music, but it was still fun to watch them for a bit.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 12:10 PM
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I'm vastly impressed by the woman I see frequently at my favorite cafe who composes sheet music. You'd think that a composer's office would require, like, a piano, or at least an environment that doesn't include an indie rock soundtrack.

I can attempt to compose fabulous sheet music in loud noisy environments.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 12:13 PM
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I know that some of the edge cities around LA had centers like the one mentioned. There used to be one in Ontario and one in Orange. But the model they were using was not stable, i.e. like a restaurant, they had no idea how many people are going to show up on any given day. Companies were unwilling to support a flat fee arrangement without some kind of data to suport usage estimates, plus the guy who owned the buildings got a better offer. All this was before wifi, so the numbers might be different now. I can tell you that depending on the services provided $25 per day would be cheap in most markets.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 12:16 PM
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Blurgh!

BTW, there is a coffee shop in SF that I would use fairly frequently. They're odd in that they actually enabled the plugging in of laptops beyond mere outlets. They had installed POWER strips under the seats. They wrote the name of their SSID next to the cash register. Genius.

But the upside was its downside: the place felt like a library when you walked in, to the point where it was impossible to make a phone call without 15 people listening in. I can't even recall if they played music, the place seemed so quiet. Sure, I got work done, but it felt oddly antisocial and sad. Whereas, had I been in a rental office, I wouldn't have felt so pathetic.


Posted by: Moira | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 12:24 PM
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I would think that airline and train VIP clubs offer a potential data source for usage rates. Amtrak must know how many people are in their special club area, using phone/data connections, etc., right?

My experience of working-outside-of-the-office flexibility is that bosses tend to project almost entirely from their own personalities. If they think they wouldn't be productive from home, they won't trust that you will be, regardless of empirical evidence. And vice versa.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 12:26 PM
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Wifi+laptops have really changed the whole business of co-presence in caf├ęs. There's this place nearby where I get coffee in the mornings. It's not unusual to see literally every customer sitting, in silence, using a laptop.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 12:29 PM
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Moira, have you tried this place?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 12:36 PM
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Also, I know a writer who's giving up a $500/month office in Hollywood.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 12:37 PM
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Re: 4. Make your passenger seat your office.

Whenever I flip through this catalogue on a plane and contemplate the poor schlubs who are its target market, I get an intense "There but for the grace of God go I" feeling.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 12:41 PM
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Pasadena public library is quiet as a sepulcher. And nicely air conditioned. We went there some times this summer, to escape the heat.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 12:53 PM
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Hmm, I'll have to check that out. A bit far from WeHo, but then again, the sense of 'commuting' might actually be a boon. Something to consider during hiatus.


Posted by: Moira | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 12:56 PM
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Well, I'll bet that you could find a similar library in Glendale or Eagle Rock.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 12:57 PM
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17: Funny, I saw that on the plane and thought the exact same thing.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 12:57 PM
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Might also try the Beverly Hills Public Library. Something tells me it will be more sepulchral than the WeHo library or the various LA branches.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 1:02 PM
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Rockville, MD's new library is great. Free wifi throughout. Architecture that allows talking in most areas. There are both quiet and non-quiet rooms. And it's a part of the the town center with restaurants, stores, etc. A great office who live in the area (which I do not).


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 1:19 PM
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Last sentence- ...for those who live...


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 1:21 PM
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I really liked that pool in Montgomery County MD.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 1:35 PM
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Rockville, MD's new library is great

Yeah, it is. That whole area has really gotten built up.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 1:42 PM
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I've accepted a short contract for a doc review project, working from home. The pay's ok and I want to do it, but I'd vastly prefer to get up and go somewhere, and interact with others.

And I know what I've got to do now: make a space here in the house just for the job, and make routines just as if I were going to an office. I have the space but I'll have to clear it. I need to assemble a machine and hook it to my network which will be dedicated to this job. And work during business hours.

Would I use a space like the one described in the post? Sure, particularly if I knew who else would be there and we had reasonable rapport and knew each other's boundaries. It would be worth it for certain.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 1:50 PM
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I'm leaving my current job in November for one where I'll be working remotely from home, and I'm kind of nervous about the lack of human contact. Maybe I'll go try to get work done at the local sports bar! And drink Budweiser while I code!


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 2:16 PM
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The Pasadena 9th Circuit library is even nicer. You'd have a lovely view of the suicide bridge.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 2:17 PM
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One of Yglesias' commenters mentioned how shady *some* of the people who use coffee shops as their offices are. I'm thinking of the people who do job interviews there.

I was in an Au Bon Pain where someone was trying to get someone in on some sort of Ponzi scheme: "If you sign up for this, it's a huge opportunity. You can wait and go for security, but with this you can make it big, only you need to sign up now." I really wanted to interrupt and tell the poor schlub to run away. I've wondered whether I should report the woman to the management.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 2:30 PM
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30: I've actually witnessed something like that too, although it sounded like the guy making the pitch was trying to get the other guy to put his retirement money into the scheme. So maybe that's even more horrifying. I kept wondering why he was saying this in a public place.

Maybe it's a Boston thing...


Posted by: arthegall | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 2:51 PM
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Timeshares. In my neck of the woods the Starbucks office people are always selling timeshares. Oh, and the one guy who is doing some sort of multilevel vitamin scheme.


Posted by: profgrrrrl | Link to this comment | 10- 4-07 6:55 PM
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Currently having a laptop cafe day; the reason, btw, is because of the CLANK CLANK BURGH HOOT REV BANG! BEYONCE! CLANK OOG VURT FART that inevitably starts up as soon as one's skype session/conference call/conversation begins.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 10- 5-07 6:57 AM
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I've been telecommuting full time for over six years. For 2.5 years, I rented a cube in an office for $400 a month; that covered the cube, internet connection, and sundries like the shared kitchen, conference room access, receptionist, mail room, and so on. The space wasn't originally intended for that; it was an ad agency that had fallen on hard times and was trying to make up their real estate investment. Most of the people there were in small, 3-6 person companies; I was one of a few singletons.

I went there because I was tired of working from home, after a year; I was in a roommate situation with five other people, and not having a separate space to call an "office" was really getting to me, particularly in terms of separating my work from the rest of my life.

The particular work I do involves having physical access to a bunch of pretty specialized hardware, so actual cafe-working has never been an option for me.

For the last three years, I've been working from home with dedicated home-office space. It's not obviously better than paying $400/month for a cube. I don't interact with other people during the day as much (even if they aren't my coworkers), and the work/home separation is pretty bad, even with a different room. This is what got me in the habit of putting on a nice button-down shirt to go to work in the home office; I can take it off at the end of the day and let that be my signal. Also, it's worth noting that $400/month is significantly cheaper than an additional bedroom on an apartment in this area.



Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 10- 5-07 8:23 PM
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