I normally work at home. There are a lot of advantages. The main one being there is no commute to the office. There is a lot of freedom. I can work when I want. I could do a couple of hours in the morning, the go off and do something else and then come back and finish off in the evening.
But there are also downsides to working at home. It requires discipline. It is very easy take the focus off the job hand get distracted by other things.
Sometimes it feels like I'm on an island. Nobody quite gets what I do. If I start talking about SASS, PHP or MySQL queries at home, people's eyes understandably glaze over.
I miss having other people working around me. People to bounce ideas off. People to give me ideas and inspiration.
I've recently taken the step of signing up to a co working plan at WesternBACE.
WesternBACE is located in Melton in a new sub division of a rapidly growing suburb on the outskirts of Melbourne. In the 70's Melton was designated as a satellite city. The idea was to have a place offering country living within an easy commute to the city.
People still largely commute but that is becoming more difficult. Melbourne is growing fast. So is traffic. The typical 40km morning drive can take just over an hour on a good day. A traffic accident on the freeway can cause those times to blow out considerably.
Melton Council has shifted the focus to generating local jobs. Part of that strategy includes WesternBACE. WesternBACE is a business incubator. It's purpose it to help businesses establish and grow.
The clich├â┬⌐d start-up hub of ping pong tables and sleep pods isn't really for me. I'm no hothouse entrepreneur. My passion is making quality web sites.
What does it for me?
- The co working space is an easy way to dip your toe in the water. You get access to all the trimmings of an office such as a desk, internet, printing and a place to meet clients in a professional environment.
- The change in environment helps me with thinking and problem solving.
- You get to meet other people and can share ideas and experiences.
- WesternBACE also runs networking events in and seminars aimed at helping small business.
- The culture of the place can be summed up in one word. Collaboration.
I've been very happy with the welcome and support I've received from the staff and other tenants & co workers. It also offers a wide range of other services including training and business networking events.
The place has a very diverse mix of businesses. There's an organic veggie shop, picture framers, event stands makers, accountant, psychologists, business coaches, graphic designers, app developers, music school, employment agents just to name a few.
It encourages a culture of cooperation. Something that certainly fits well with my values. WesternBACE is highly configurable. Their philosophy is that one does not fit all. The idea is to provide a space for business to grow.