“Just having another person there, and not even talking—though you can occasionally look up and say something—I get way more work done when there’s someone else there, I don’t know why.”
For better or worse, the world of work is changing fast. With the increase in freelance and contract work and the advent of telecommuting, more and more people have paying work that doesn’t come with office space. Working for yourself can be liberating, and working from home can be convenient, but both can also get lonely and isolating in the long run. People are trying all kinds of strategies and setups to get around that: co-working spaces, working in cafes, teleconferencing. What’s the best way to be with people while working independently?
When Ange had a job in a library, she would look at people working in coffee shops with longing and envy. Now she is one of those people, when she’s not in a studio, co-working space, or her own living room. Jessica is fascinated by offices and co-working spaces from an anthropological perspective, but finds that folks at her current co-working space don’t tend to come out to social events, even for free ice cream. Can meeting or working with people digitally—i.e., via videoconferencing—sometimes be as good as having co-workers? Do you want the people you work with to be your friends, or is it enough just to get along with them? And what would the perfect work setup look like?
Ange Friesen is a writer and creative strategist who describes her work as brand therapy for beautiful ideas and their people. Ange combines her background in marketing and copywriting with her training as a psychotherapist, helping creative people and companies figure out who they are and how to share their ideas with the world. Ange lives in Toronto and works everywhere.
Jessica Taylor followed her wife to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is currently a Research Associate at Harvard. As of her move, she now belongs to three book clubs and one reading challenge.
The Centre for Social Innovation is one of Toronto’s oldest and best known co-working communities.
Make Lemonade is a women’s co-working space in Toronto.