How Coworking has Taken my Work-Life to the Next Level
By Bethany Good
I am the owner of Good Writing Co, a copywriting and digital marketing business. Most of my work is freelance, and project-based. I love the flexibility of working from home (WFH) and making my own hours. The WFH freedom is great, but it also comes with a lot of responsibility. If I have a due date for a project, I have to buckle down, free myself from all other distractions, and just get it done.
This past spring, as I was coming out of the Covid-19 fog, I was looking for a place to work away from all the distractions I had at home. As a mom of two young children, working at home while also supervising and managing virtual school was very difficult. I felt like I needed to find a space where I could work and still maintain the independence that I treasure. But after a year of isolation, I missed being around people too. At the time cafe dining rooms were closed, and so working out of the local coffee shop wasn’t an option. My husband suggested I look into coworking. And I’m so glad that I did.
What is Coworking?
As I explored the idea of coworking, I learned about its history and benefits. At its core, coworking is when folks share an office space. Coworking spaces provide small businesses, independent contractors, and other workers a space to get work done, network, and participate in their local business community. This allows you to retain your independent working style while also retaining the benefits of a group work environment. Many find meaning in the fact that they can bring their whole selves to their coworking spaces.
During my research into coworking spaces, I came across Cowork Frederick. I immediately got a good feeling about it. I loved that it was located in a historic building in downtown Frederick. On their website, I found a list of their core values (which align with the values of the coworking movement as a whole). The core value of collaboration really caught my attention. I was also intrigued by the owner’s sense of social and ecological responsibility. So I booked a day pass on their website. It was that easy.
Why Cowork Frederick?
My first experience at Cowork Frederick was a great one. The co-owners Julia, Glen, and their dog Gracie were there to greet me at the door and give me a tour. Everyone that I interacted with was very friendly and willing to answer any questions that I had. I felt like I had been welcomed into the space with open arms. The decor on the inside of the building gives it a cool, eclectic vibe.
The kitchen was stocked with snacks, and my favorite bubbly waters were in the fridge. Folks can contribute to the snack fund, bring their own food, or order lunch at one of the many awesome local restaurants. There is a sense of sharing responsibilities. Everyone is expected to clean up after themselves, so no one is left to do all of the stinky dishes at the end of the day.
Downtown Frederick is a great location for this space. You get the bustle of an urban city center, with the small-town feel that makes Frederick unique. As a writer, I can find a lot to be inspired by as I walk the streets or the Carrol Creek Canal.
Cowork Frederick is a lot different than my experiences with other office environments. Because everyone is working on different projects for a variety of different industries, there isn’t the same sense of competition you get in a normal office. In an office setting, I always felt like my creativity was stifled. I felt micromanaged and pressured. Cowork Frederick gives me a sense of support and collaboration. No one is competing for the same position.
After a few sessions at Cowork Frederick, I was ready to become a member. I found that it was a great place for me to get my writing done, while also collaborating and socializing with other like-minded people. I’ve met other freelance writers, academics, engineers, and a host of different small business owners from varying industries.
As I got to know the people at Cowork Frederick, I’ve been able to develop friendships. There’s always someone that is interested in grabbing lunch from one of the many nearby restaurants. If I need a second opinion on something I’m writing, folks are eager to help me out. There are coworking events, like ice cream socials and daily walks. Overall, it’s been a great boost to my business, my work drive, and my sense of self.