Co-working and the Redefining of the Corporate Office

I can’t remember the first time I heard of or even saw a co-working space. The best I can remember the year was 2007 and I was working for a tech startup company and we were leasing 2 desks, a phone line, a mailbox, and a shelf in the fridge from a medical supply company in Fremont, California. I wasn’t really sure what the arrangement truly was since I was only working for the company and not running the company. But I remember talking to someone from the “other” company one day and getting a recommendation for perhaps the best Mexican cantina I’ve ever eat at. It was very cool. Here I was an independent contractor for the most part getting the benefits of a corporate environment along with the freedom of an entrepreneur. Little did I know I was not the only one taking advantage of this sort of situation. In fact, “the concept of co-working is credited to a software engineer named Brad Neuberg who in 2005 paid $300/month to rent space from a feminist collective in San Francisco. He used card tables as desks, and then put a notice on Craigslist inviting others to work alongside him at their respective professional goals. His goal is said to have been to find freedom and independence of working for himself along with the structure and community of working with others.” 1

Coworking 1

There are conflicting reports claiming nearly 1,000 co-working spaces across the United States to as many as 4,000 co-working spaces. The majority of the spaces are in urban or otherwise metropolitan areas and help small businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups find a suitable space where they can focus and enjoy the perks of a larger office space. Coupled with the growing number of business people who need to be mobile to some degree as well as as independent contractors who choose a more nomadic life the trend has grown faster than anyone initially predicted. Companies like:

offer monthly rates (or memberships), the use of a conference room, high-speed Internet, hip decor, and even game rooms. But how can a co-working space benefit the life of a tiny houser or nomad?

According to Global Workplace Analytics some 25 million Americans telecommuted in 2012 alone. This is in addition to the 2.6% of American workers who consider their home their primary workplace. With those sort of numbers it is becoming a corporate tend to work at home to some degree. However, when your home is less than 300 sq.ft. or your home is in a different location each week it can be incredibly difficult to maintain a work/life balance. For those situation co-working can be the answer. The following 3 tips will help you – a tiny housers – determine how co-working can help you professionally.

Coworking 2

ACCOUNTABILITY

Working from home has its own set of unique problems. When you have to show up at a set time at a set office location it is much more difficult to procrastinate your workday by instead walking the dog a few extra minutes, going grocery shopping before the afternoon/evening crowds, going to the gym for a morning yoga class, etc. It is also perceived as unprofessional to arrive at the office in your pajamas. So by working in a co-work space you regain that sense of professional accountability which can help you succeed professionally.

NETWORKING

By sharing a space with other professionals you can again develop both professional and personal relationships that can help you do everything from locating a reliable babysitter for your toddler to getting tips on the discounts at your local office supply store. There is still much to be said for face-to-face contact and a good ‘ol fashioned handshake.

CREATIVITY

Sometimes keeping your mind sharp, your ideas fresh, and your work creative can be exceedingly difficult when you have only yourself to consult. In a co-working space though you can oftentimes turn to your cubie neighbor or your newfound friends from down the conference table. They can offer a second or third opinion, help inspire you, or even solve seemingly impossible situations for you.

Have you participate in a co-working environment? What was your experience? Would you do it again?

1 Urbanland
Telecommuting statistics

By Andrew M. Odom for the [Tiny House Blog]

Tiny House in a Landscape

With our relocating and the making of a transition to a new area  I have gotten out of  rhythm with a lot of blog related items.  One of the items being the Tiny House in a Landscape feature. This is one of my favorite features that John Chapman of New Zealand got me started with several years ago. I am hoping to get back into this feature starting today.

Yesterday, my wife and son and I were visiting Sisters, Oregon a little tourist town about twenty miles outside of Bend. We decided to have some soup at a little place called The Open Door. They are a mix of a gallery and a restaurant. We chose to eat outside and at the entrance was this cute little building being used as a mini gallery. The interior space is only around eight foot by ten feet but the detail and design really enthralled me. I shared this on my Instagram account and everyone loved it so I thought I would share it here too. Though not a tiny house per say it is real inspiration for one in my humble opinion!

tiny gallery

How to Simplify Your Kitchen in your Tiny House

Guest post by Mariah Coz of www.cometcamper.com

As we gear up for another awesome session of my Tiny Transition and Downsizing E-Course, I wanted to share with you some of my tips for making life easier in your tiny kitchen.  As you guys know, I’m all about simplifying our needs and using less (in every aspect of our lives). I’ve downsized my life into 100 sq. ft. , and then again into just 35 square foot when my partner and I decided to live out of our custom converted Honda Element micro-camper. I’ve learned quite a few things about downsizing from making these two drastic transitions, and I have so much to share with you. If you like my tips from below, you’ll love the Tiny Transition and Downsizing E-Course. Registration is now open and class begins on August 10th, so you’ll want to save your spot by signing up here.

Mariah

I believe that occasional-use Kitchen Toys are your enemy when you’re trying to downsize and simplify your kitchen. Those things that take up a lot of space but only get used once a year? I say ditch it. Living in a tiny space is all about NOT planning for the “what ifs” and “every possible scenario”. You don’t need anything in your kitchen that serves only one purpose, unless you’re a total foodie and baking is your life (in which case do whatever you want!).

And if you’re trying to go off-grid with your tiny house, you’ll thank me for lessening your electric load!

simplify your kitchen

The Kitchen Toys:
What you don’t need (unless you can convince me otherwise):

  • Ice cream maker
  • electric pop corn popper
  • Microwave
  • Fancy food processors that take a long time to come apart and are hard to clean
  • Fancy China
  • Real Silverware in a velvet-lined case (from your wedding)
  • Specialized Glassware: An assortment of wine glasses, Martini glasses, and beer mugs in every shape and 8 of each? You need as many vessels as there are people in your household, and no more!
  • Cheap Mixers – just use a spoon and a bowl, no need for an electrical appliance here.
  • Toaster – grilled toast tastes better!
  • Bundt cake form
  • any type of special cake form
  • fancy baking supplies for frosting and cupcake making
  • “holiday” anything – if it has a “theme” like thanksgiving or christmas, get rid of it. Just get one nice set of dishes that can be used for every single day.
  • a block of 12 knives. You only need one or two really nice knives, and a sharpener.
  • Anything “As Seen On TV” that was meant to make your life better but got pushed to the back of the drawer.
  • Cookbooks. Any recipe can be found online, there is no need to keep a bunch of cookbooks (unless it was your great great grandmothers or something very special!).

If you haven’t used it in the last 2 months, you really don’t need it. You need the right tools, not more of the useless gadgets you see at the kitchen stores!

Mariah's Comet Camper

My Tiny Kitchen Essentials Inventory:
This is the stuff I use on a regular basis, things that you should definitely include in your kitchen!

  • One medium sized cast iron pan (I love cast iron!)
  • One small saucepan
  • 2 plate-bowls from Ikea – these are the only vessels I will ever need. It’s like a plate and a bowl combined. Genius.
  • 2 sets of silverware
  • one French Press
  • 2 coffee mugs
  • 1 tea strainer for loose leaf
  • 1 Tea pot
  • 1 set of various plastic containers for leftovers – no plastic wrap.
  • Citrus juicer (hand powered, of course)
  • 1 cutting board
  • 1 Pyrex or other baking pan (not 5 or 10 or one in every single size, just one).
  • 1 colander
  • 1 nice knife
  • 1 spatula
  • 1 multi-purpose measuring cup, not a “set” of nesting ones.
  • 1 can opener
  • 1 whisk
  • 1 mixing bowl

The One-Bowl Method:
My partner Matt and I found one single plate-bowl (it’s a wide, medium shallow bowl from Ikea) that we love enough to use exclusively every day. You can eat almost anything out of it, except maybe a steak (for cutting reasons). Breakfast, lunch, or dinner – we really only need one multi-purpose vessel!

Simplifying the Fridge:
In your small home you will most likely have a small fridge. The good news is that it’s hard to stash lots of unused and unhealthy stuff in a tiny fridge. Fermented foods are a great way to have healthy, probiotic foods that don’t require refrigeration. Your fridge should only be home to the essentials. Here is a list of items that don’t need refrigeration so that you can declutter that icebox!

  • Eggs – don’t need refrigeration unless they have always been refrigerated. If you buy eggs that are cold from a fridge section, let them come to room temperature overnight. This will cause a small amount of condensation and moisture to form on the eggs, just wipe it off with a towel so they are dry and they will be fine.
  • Ghee (clarified butter – so good!)
  • Most fresh fruits and vegetables – It drives me nuts when my mom puts tomatoes in the fridge! That’s not good! It makes the vegetable actually go bad faster.
  • Bread – Maybe it’s just my mom, but she puts bread in the fridge too! Makes it go bad faster.
  • Potatoes
  • Honey
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Peanut Butter
  • Bread
  • Bananas
  • Baked Goods
  • Oils
  • Apples

And that’s it! Those are my most essential strategies for simplifying and downsizing your kitchen. Most people have out of control kitchen situations, and feel pretty bad for giving away expensive kitchen gadgets. I give you permission to ditch the crap you don’t use and make room for a simpler, de-cluttered life!

Tiny Transition E-Course 800 Button

If you want to join me and a class full of motivated tiny-hopefuls like yourself for an intense journey to simplified homes, lives, closets, and minds, come hang out in the next session of the Tiny Transition and Downsizing E-Course. You’ll have access to a private class forum so you can meet and connect with like-minded people, make new friends, and find motivation and support. If you’re curious about what you’ll get from taking the course, I’ll let some of the past members tell you:

“This class has single-handedly changed my thinking and life. The email course is rocking my world with the “how” to do this, the access to the associated Google group is invaluable. You could lurk and never post with this group and it’ll change your thinking and life. Even if you just want to tread more softly on this beautiful jewel of a planet we live on, you will benefit from this course.
I’ve found my true fun self since I’ve been taking this course. My stuff was burying my life, and I had no idea that I’d done that to myself. The e-course, the readings, and the Google Group together make for a powerful inspiration to keep going. The class is already paid for itself in less stress, less stuff, and heck, I’ve even lost weight! All because I’m realizing that I just don’t NEED a lot of things. While we may or may not move into an actual Tiny House, our house of 1,100 square feet is starting to look huge. We have SO MUCH SPACE NOW! I’m looking forward to a smaller house (and a smaller or NONEXISTENT mortgage soon). ” – Andrea

“This class is changing my entire life. For the good, too. So glad I made the decision to spend the money to take this course!” – Becky R.

“Thanks for a terrific course, Mariah! You have taught us “life” and (mental) “survival skills”. The process you have used to redirect our thinking while burdened by the overwhelming voice of “how will I ever manage this?”…has really been spot on.” – J.

“This was a fantastic class- I am so thankful I took it!!! I’m seeing great results. Your other “life” stuff that you suggested we look at and employ minimization on is also being whittled down. I’m not stopping until it’s all done- I’m already feeling “lighter” and loving it! This was and continues to be a life changing class for me. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, experiences & skills with me & so many others.” – B.

The next session of the Comet Camper Tiny Transition and Downsizing E-Course begins on August 10th, so sign up now to save your spot! I look forward to supporting you through this journey and seeing you in the class! Click Here!

Mariah lives in a 1960s vintage trailer that she renovated to be eco-awesome and off-the-grid. She blogs about vintage trailer life, tiny houses, and sustainable living over at her blog www.cometcamper.com.