It’s not an office…

People have been talking about telecommuting for quite a long time. For a lot of people, I can see how it makes sense to work from home using helpful information technology like the Internet and the phone to stay in touch. I’ve often thought, though, that I like getting out of the house and interacting with people, or at least being in their company. That’s why I found this article about “work clubs” pretty interesting.

The idea is simple: Telecommuters get to …get out of the house to work. Not in the office, heaven forfend, but at a swank and stylish “work club” that’s kind of like a dance club, but with spreadsheets instead of dancing. Here’s what the Quote Monkey came back with:

The goal of Gate-3 Workclub in Emeryville, Calif., is to create a new kind of community where neighborhood people can “work and network and hang out with friends,” founder Neil Goldberg says.

…The 40 or so members of the Wi-Fi-equipped club drop in for a few hours a week. They rove around, spending time in the common areas or cafe, a few hours working in a hush zone, or meeting with a colleague or client in a conference area. They make private phone calls in a “cone of silence,” (aka phone booth), have support staff make copies, overnight a package or get a laptop repaired. Members can bring in their dog (if he’s quiet and passes an interview), and bring the baby (and they’ll deal with any crying).

That’s just so …bizarre, and sounds exactly like something you’d expect from the city (San Francisco) that gave us so much of the Internet boom. You don’t work in an office, but you pay to work at a “work club”. It’s like being in the office, but you don’t have to deal with that obnoxious guy two cubes over. Instead, I’m guessing you’ll have to deal with some other obnoxious, latte-swilling yuppie. And she with you.

I’m not convinced that this would work unless they limit membership by requiring credentials or making it prohibitively expensive for most people. And at that point, it really becomes irrelevant to most of the world.

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3 thoughts on “It’s not an office…

  1. What an interesting concept. I’ve been a contractor for Activision now for three years, telecommuting from my house. About 10 months or so after I started doing that, I found that I absolutely had to get out of my house for a few hours once a week just to get some new scenery, since working and living in the same small apartment was giving me cabin fever.
    To treat that, I’ll occasionally grab the laptop and go down to Starbucks and work from a wireless hotspot while I have some coffee. But the problem is that it’s a coffee shop. So if I have to make or take business calls, I’ve got music playing in the background and my phone calls are punctuated with the occasional “I’VE GOT A HALF-CAF DOUBLE MOCHA TRIPLE LATTE EXTRA HOT WITH DOUBLE FOAM FOR BRAD”.
    So the idea of a work club that’s got the good parts of that environment — the coffee, the socialization, the new scenery — and can eliminate the bad — gives you quiet areas for phone calls, provides access to things like a fax or a copier — is really appealing to me. I wonder if there’s anything like that in the Irvine area?

  2. That’s how they keep the riffraff out. 🙂
    $135 isn’t much for most companies for a certain level of employees (managers, directors, execs). My employer maintains multiple offices in LA and San Diego for a lot of folks. I wonder at what point something like this would make more sense for the people who only travel one a week?
    But it is kind of expensive for small business owners or contractors. Also probably not going to be used for many of the positions that are a good fit with telecommuting –data entry operators, sales, clerical, administrative, etc.

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