Yes, Working Alone Does, In Fact, ‘Suck’!

I was able to experience recently the truth, for me, at least, that coworking is a very real social/emotional requirement.

I’ve always had an office job with a place and people to go to and see every day.  On occasion, I love the very real privilege of getting to work from home, if for no other reason than a change of pace.  I’ve always been pretty sure that I do not have the personality conducive to regularly working from home – as in, having no office space to go.  If I ever had a doubt about this, I now have none.

Remote Work Has Its Benefits

I recently realized a dream of spending an appreciable amount of time experiencing my favorite city, Edinburgh, Scotland.  I did a Home Exchange for 6 weeks, including the whole month of August – during The Fringe, Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Coworking in Edinburgh Scotland

As COO of CloudVO, online provider of virtual offices, meeting rooms, and coworking spaces, my job has become more and more achievable with just me and my laptop, so I decided that I could manage some extra time working VERY remotely. I swapped houses with an architect and university professor and temporarily ‘moved in.’  (Side note … another amazing option in this sharing economy, house and car swapping.  It’s brilliant!)

Working Remote: The Loneliness Problem

At first, my work/life/vacation balance worked great.  The time difference (8 hours) actually wasn’t much of a problem because I was able to enjoy the sites and delights of Edinburgh with my son during the day and then start work in the afternoon. I’d planned a few days of actual vacation, plus weekends and I was able to also enjoy the Festival and nightlife.

Festival at Edinburgh Scotland and working remote

My problems arose when my son left to start school and I was alone doing activities and alone working. Within only a few days of his departure, I started feeling an uncomfortable depression settle in, I felt stuck – realizing I’m mostly without friends and family, and was unhappy in the place I worked so hard to be.   Finding the energy to do any work that wasn’t mandatory was difficult.  I started thinking I’d made a terrible mistake, that I really couldn’t stand being that unhappy and was looking into options for going home.

Edinburgh Scotland and working remote
Tracy’s homeshare in Edinburgh, Scotland. Cozy but lonely.

Overcoming Loneliness and Isolation through Coworking

Thankfully, my very career held the answer.  I booked myself for a half-day at The Melting Pot, a coworking space I’d worked in on a previous trip.  Honestly, it was nothing short of magical.  Just the initial interactions with the staff, and particularly, Sam, returned me from my emotional teetering off-balance.  ‘I’m not alone’, ‘the world is my oyster’, ‘look at all these nice people working next to me!’

CloudVO Tracy Wilson Coworking at Melting Pot Coworking Space Edinburgh Scotland

When I left the office I was marveling at the activity along Rose Street, the loveliness of the city and relishing my opportunity to be there.  It took less than a week before I needed another ‘fix’ of coworking – but, it was there for me.  Although it meant that I needed to work off hours from my home base in California, I ended up needing the space, the vibe, two more times before my adventure was over.  For some of us, loneliness is real, and coworking can be a solution.


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the  CloudMeetingRooms.com  and  CloudVirtualOffice.com  e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

The Five Things I learned at Coworking Europe 2017 in Dublin

Last week, over 400 delegates convened for the annual Coworking Europe Conference in Dublin, Ireland. The energy and creativity were apparent, and the conversations left us feeling renewed and positive about the future of coworking and power of connections. Here are the five things I learned at the Coworking Europe 2017 Conference.

#1: The first thing I learned, I learned right off the plane. Dubliners must be the friendliest, most entertaining group of people I have ever met. This may not seem to pertain to Coworking, but it does; it was an ‘in your face’ reminder that positive connection with people is one of the things that makes life better. It is the reason why sharing, be it an airport, a car ride, a home or a workplace is the way.

Coworking Europe 2017 Conference in Dublin. Photo by Eric van den Broek

#2: I learned some great and useful tips. For example, a) when hiring, pay particular attention to the candidate’s natural inclination for curiosity – these will likely be the best curators; b) use smaller pots for coffee, which naturally requires people to make coffee for frequently and therefore linger longer in the kitchen where some of the very best serendipitous moments can occur, and c) don’t forget that each new member is an opportunity to reframe the community.

#3: I learned that coworkers are yearning for networks. Through the Coworking Wiki (all things coworking) there is already a Global Visa opportunity where coworking operators can voluntarily sign up to open their space for one free day to any other coworking member around the world. Coworking operators are one-by-one reaching out individually to create partnerships to strengthen their reach for their members. This is also happening through commercial partnerships like LiquidSpace and CloudVO’s Global Touchdown Network, as well as others.

coworking.org homepage - resources for coworking operators around the world

#4: I learned that we are an industry where a lot of small pieces continue to make a large global impact: we allow digital nomads to thrive yet be carefree, we promote sustainability in a world of waste, we provide hospitality and global connections – in real life, not just online, and we are ourselves, creating new technologies and new ways of doing business to make our operations more efficient and effective for our members. Why else would the Lord Mayor of Dublin greet us not once, formally at our conference, but a second time at City Hall (photo below), to commit the city’s support of our work?

Lord Mayor of Dublin - Michael Macc Donncha - addresses Coworking Europe Attendees

#5: I learned (but already knew) that coworking operators are an enormously creative, vibrant group of people, which I am glad to be a part of.


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp, headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the CloudMeetingRooms.com and CloudVirtualOffice.com e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms over 650 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

 

Brooklyn City Guide for GWA’s Office Evolution Attendees

CloudVOxWUN Brooklyn City Guide

Download Brooklyn City Guide

In two weeks, the Global Workspace Association (GWA) is teaming up with NAIOP to host their annual conference, aptly referred to as Office Evolution. This is the first ever partnership for GWA with NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association.

GWA Las Vegas 2016 CloudVO team at booth

On the GWA side, nearly 300 operators from 29 states and 8 countries will be joining the NAIOP attendees at the Marriott New York Brooklyn Bridge for two days of education and conversation around the flexible office and workspace-as-a-service industries.

In order to make this exciting conference even more successful, we have co-created a GWA Brooklyn Guide and want to share it with you. You will find great tips on experiencing the main highlights, hottest spots, or unusual finds that Brooklyn has to offer.

Hundreds of attendees will attend this jointly held conference. GWA’s annual conference has become a central platform for the conversation around flexible office and workspace-as-a-service, and our team of experts at CloudVO look forward to connecting with partners and peers alike. This year, the audience includes shared workspace operators, commercial real estate professionals, landlords, developers, commercial real estate brokers and industry service and technology providers. The conference agenda is packed with discussion and expert panels, breakout sessions on operations, marketing, and technology, and of course, GWA carves out time for some social activities.

Our Brooklyn Guide is broken into three parts: “sights, eats, and drinks”, packing and transportation pointers, and for those interested or extending their stay, we feature some of Brooklyn’s flexible office space and coworking locations. Download today and get a head start on your travel plans!

CloudVOxWUN Brooklyn City Guide

Download Brooklyn City Guide

If you have any questions, would like to learn more about the resources CloudVO provides to partners, and/or information about the products by WUN Systems, please contact us at Partners@CloudVO.com.


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp, headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the CloudMeetingRooms.com and CloudVirtualOffice.com e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms over 650 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

Join CloudVO in Hurricane Harvey Relief Effort

Residents are helped from a boat after being rescued from their flooded homes from Tropical Storm
Residents are helped from a boat after being rescued from their flooded homes from Tropical Storm. Photo from Washington Examiner. August 28th, 2017.

Like so many of you, all of us at CloudVO are deeply saddened by the recent natural disaster that has overtaken so much of Southern Texas and eastern regions of Louisiana. We know that Hurricane Harvey will tax the resources and the needs of our fellow citizens that live and work in the affected area.

At CloudVO, we are fortunate that our staff has not been directly affected by this, but we know that so many of our members, partners, and partner’s clients are dealing with the historic implications attached to this horrible disaster. We are bolstered by the scenes on TV and the stories of neighbors helping neighbors. There are so many wonderful stories of personal sacrifice by citizens giving aid to those in need. The effort ahead is massive and if everyone that is able to give a little, businesses and families can rebuild.

Houston Police SWAT officer Daryl Hudeck carries Catherine Pham and her 13-month. Photo from ABC News. August 29th, 2017.
Houston Police SWAT officer Daryl Hudeck carries Catherine Pham and her 13-month old. Photo from ABC News. August 29th, 2017.

Community, sharing, and global networking are the core elements of our business. Coworking and shared services are our reason for being. We need to support these elements in all its forms. For that reason, CloudVO is making a donation to the American Red Cross and our staff members are individually donating to the fund as well.

Hurricane Harvey: Disaster Relief & Donations

 

We invite any of our friends who would like to join us in this combined effort to do so by simply clicking the button above. No effort is too small. After all, small change eventually adds to huge results.

From all of us at CloudVO, thank you! Harvey has already shown us that the spirit of collective generosity continues to exist between neighbors near and far.


About CloudVO ™

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp, headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the CloudMeetingRooms.com and CloudVirtualOffice.com e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms over 600 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

A Coworking Vacation in Scotland (Part 2)

This is a part two of a blog I wrote one month ago about my coworking vacation experience, which allowed for an opportunity to put work/life in the right balance.  I worked for 6 days of an approximately 10 day vacation by utilizing different coworking locations around Scotland. On one of those days … Day 5, I worked from a Regus location.

Shared office space IS coworking space, and Regus is in the business of shared space, so I decided to give their offerings a try. Unlike the other spaces, I actually had some difficulty with my pre-trip planning to get information on where to go and how they might assist me. I sent ‘Contact Us’ emails while state-side inquiring about a day pass in Edinburgh.  Each time I got template responses about the myriad of space options available to me in the United States.

In Scotland, I inquired online, but the contact form didn’t appear to like my U.S. phone number so I gave up. There are at least 3 centers in the immediate downtown area, so I dropped into one, an upscale location on George Street. After a bit of private conferring amongst the staff with what to do with me (apparently the Princes Street location would have been a better option), I was told they had a coworking space to accommodate me for the day. It was, surprisingly, a very well-priced office solution so I accepted their offer and paid. I was shown to an upstairs office, which I believe is actually what they call a ‘campus office.’ This is a private space of about 220 square feet with 4 desks and tall dividers between. Of the 4 desks, 3 were clearly permanently committed.  One was occupied by a man with spectacular speed-typing abilities.  He would be my only coworker for the day.

Regus Edinburgh Princes Street. Image Source: Rightmove Commercial Property, United Kingdom

This space, while quite out of the way from the happenings of the center, also proved to be a very efficient and productive space to work. But, I’ll be honest, I found not having the hubbub typical of other coworking spaces made the day kind of long and boring. I just had nobody to talk to, which among other things, is a reason for me to get up every day and go to work; I like to chat. I was never checked in on by the Regus staff, as I was at the Kingsford Business Club and Collabor8te, but, then again, I was one flight up, down the hall and in a closed office. And, in fairness, I never needed further assistance. One thing that did surprise me was the importance I place on kitchen amenities – beverage options, supplies, etc. Regus’ lounge was so inferior from any of their shared space cousins, offering only one tin of freeze-dried coffee grounds, one tin of tea bags, a hot water brewer and no branded mugs.  All options appeared to belong to others. I was uncomfortable taking a cup emblazoned ‘Computer People’ but had no other options.

All in all, this was a solid space to add to the repertoire of options for creating a coworkcation.  Regus gets credit for a good price in a great location and a quiet efficient place to work. What I did lose, was a feeling of connection to my adopted community; my destination of travel. I felt like I made connections, albeit transient ones, at each of the other locations I visited and that, for me, it turns out, is a necessity of a ‘coworkcation’.


About CloudVO ™

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp, headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the  CloudMeetingRooms.com  and  CloudVirtualOffice.com  e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms at close to 600 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

How to Create the Perfect Working Vacation – A Coworking-cation

I am fortunate enough to have a job that I am not needed in the office every day in order for my business to function properly. I am needed to stay on top of things, for sure. While I am a bit of a creature of habit and, most assuredly someone that needs a ‘place to go’, I generally work from 1 of 3 locations, with one of those actually housing my ‘official’ desk. Looking at ways to break those habits is an effort I continuously endeavor.

As I endeavor … toward the end of last year I realized I was in need of adventure and decided that a new ‘rule’ in my life is that no longer will I ‘dial in’ New Year’s eve. Even though it is an arbitrary starting line, it felt important that going forward, I set the right ‘tone’ for each and every future New Year’s and do something new and exciting.

Having just had the time of my life in August at Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival, I decided to return to my new happy spot and ring in the year with the Hogmany Street Party at the base of Edinburgh’s glorious castle. That would be my final 2016 adventure. Once committing to that distance of travel, it seemed that I should make a bit of a stay of it. I decided to avail myself of the myriad of coworking locations in Scotland, and put to the test the workspace flexibility that I preach each day as the COO of CloudVO. So, of a 12 day vacation, 6 included weekend and government holidays and 1 was a full day in the air, so I scheduled 5 to work.

This, I am pleased to say, is a brilliant way to have a vacation! This may sound like an oxymoron, but a ‘working vacation’ is a great experience. Allow me to share my working vacation ‘diary.’

Work Day 1 was the 6th day of my trip and I’d been busy at the tasks of fun, so, I took advantage of the time difference and didn’t rise from the comfy bed of my Airbnb until mid-morning. I decided that I would actually spend the first day in my rented flat reviewing and attending to emails. That took about 6 hours to get fully caught up and I called it a day. I then strolled the lovely Stockbridge neighborhood, got Indian take away, and spent a fun evening with my most delightful Airbnb host.

Image of Kingsford Business Center
Kingsford Business Club

Work Day 2 was the next day. I had a glorious, yet ice-ly brisk walk through the beautiful neighborhoods of Edinburgh to Kingsford Business Club’s coworking location. The staff there had welcomed me to Edinburgh the day before and were ready for me. Upon arriving, the dashing Greg and the lovely Diane took great care to get me situated. The space was beautiful, well-appointed and comfortable.

Image of Business Lounge at Kingsford Business Center
Business Lounge at Kingsford Business Club

As my work is mostly email-based these days, Day 2 looked much the same as Day 1; highly efficient for a vacation, though. I spent several hours working, got quite a bit done. Then, I hit the road to meet a friend to enjoy the last days of the Christmas Market, have some Gluhwein, and then off to a fabulous dinner in the city.

Work Day 3, Friday. A friend of mine works in Glasgow and we decided to take a quick trip to Stonehaven, near Aberdeen for the weekend. I worked at Collabor8te, a fantastic facility perfectly located in downtown Glasgow.

Image of Coworking at Collabor8e
Coworking at Collabor8te

I arrived early, and since the owner Teresa was in the midst of guest hosting on BBC Scotland’s radio show about workplace issues, Steve welcomed me and showed me around. Steve was so informative and helpful and spent so much time with me, I thought he was an owner as well. Nope, a business consultant, who although just a member, surely considers Collabor8te his own. (He and I had one of those great conversations which showed our business interests are very much aligned and we committed to staying connected to help each other out …. me help his clients with business address services in the US, and he to make some helpful introductions in Scotland.) Here, I had such a successful day, I actually moved away from the ‘urgent’ list of tasks and accomplished a few items on the business development list. Very exciting!

Image of Members at Collabor8te
Members at Collabor8te

Work Day 4, Monday. I was back in Edinburgh and decided I’d go to The Melting Pot. This non-profit coworking space, steps from Princes Street, has been operational for an impressive 10 years. When I arrived I was a bit confused by the entrance at the ground floor of the building as it is a secure entrance (trust me, the issue was ‘user error’) but, as luck would have it, I met David, the communications director for TMP, and that launched another successful day of coworking in a very vibrant and busy coworking location.

TMP was the busiest location on my tour. There were at least 20 people working at desks from pretty early in the day and a noticeable increase in workers about 2:00 pm in the afternoon. There was a lot of activity in their meeting rooms too. As I was leaving Scotland early Wednesday morning, I used my time after work to stroll the shops on George Street, pick up a few trinkets to bring home to my family and have some dinner. A great evening after a successful day.

One fantastic outcome of each day was the chance to meet some of the loveliest, nicest people. Isn’t that a perk of any vacation? A coworking-cation is no different. I did get quite a bit accomplished. The major downsides were: 1) the 8 hour time difference which doesn’t allow for much collaboration with my team at home and 2) I am used to spending a fair amount of time on the phone. I admit to some distraction when hearing my fellow coworkers on their cell phones near me, and I felt uncomfortable taking or making calls in the main working spaces. Neither of these will stop me from coming up with another place to replicate the coworking-cation experience however.

At each location, I had the opportunity to discuss with my hosts CloudVO and our shared commitment to creating something better in the workspace world; for our clients, for our communities, and for ourselves as a fun place to show up to work. I asked Kingsford Office, Collabor8te and The Melting Pot to join our growing network and each agreed. I cannot recommend enough to our CloudVO clients these 3 newest options for flexible workspace.


About CloudVO ™

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp, headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the  CloudMeetingRooms.com  and  CloudVirtualOffice.com  e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms at close to 600 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

We are Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs!

Join us in helping deserving entrepreneurs all over the world with Kiva loans

For the past few years, CloudVO has sponsored a business lending team called Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs with entrepreneurs for entrepreneursthe San Francisco-based micro-lending group KIVA. It has been an educational, and enjoyable effort … and we hope one that has made a difference. However, at a recent CloudVO staff gathering, we got to talking about our KIVA team, and frankly, how we let our efforts with the team lapse; as what often happens when the day-to-day gets in the middle of a great idea. We asked ourselves what could we do to help entrepreneurs, including in areas where we don’t have shared office space quite yet, such as in developing countries.

We became energized and re-engaged about KIVA, the power of globalization, and the impact of small changes and efforts toward bigger things. So, we decided to re-launch and would like to share our re-commitment with you, our CloudVO partners; our fellow “Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs”.

What is Kiva? Kiva is an international nonprofit, founded in 2005. Kiva Microfunds is a 501 non-profit organization that allows people to lend money via the Internet to low-income entrepreneurs and students in over 80 countries. Kiva’s mission is “to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.” Kiva allows individuals or groups to make a loan to an entrepreneur across the globe for as little as $25. Kiva crowdfunds loans, often through another ‘in-country’ microlender aggregator, so there are many individual lenders who come together to contribute to each successful loan.

CloudVO created its KIVA business lending team ‘Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs’ because CloudVO’s very existence is about helping entrepreneurs have a chance to chase their dreams, create their own future, and grow healthy businesses, whether they use CloudVO meeting spaces or not. The flexibility and economical cost of virtual business solutions REALLY does create this opportunity for many small business ventures. KIVA is also a global initiative, and CloudVO is a burgeoning one, with almost 600 partner locations worldwide.

I excitedly joined CloudVO’s team effort in “Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs” for the opportunity that my small donations might make a positive impact toward a hard-working and enterprising soul somewhere else in this great big earth we share. I found another great benefit, and that is KIVA’s program provides me a “feel good” connection by allowing me to virtually explore the globe, while learning about the experiences of the myriad of enterprising individuals looking to create something bigger or better for themselves and their families. I’ve virtually traveled through many countries, and many regions, both robust and remote and received a little taste of life in places I will likely never get the chance to visit in real life. In a word, it’s COOL!

Top Countries Impacted by Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs
Top Countries Impacted by Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs

To date, the members of CloudVO’s Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs team have made 270 loans for a total of $7,075, $25 at a time. You can see in the graphics below how our member choices have stacked up. I personally have joined in for 17 loans made to 10 countries, lending $450.00. The best part of it is that the loans get repaid with a very low default rate. I could withdraw that money anytime (not that I plan to).

Kiva Lending Team Impact Report
Kiva Lending Team Impact Report

I hope I can make a difference helping these deserving entrepreneurs $25 at a time. I’ve enjoyed the process, and I hope you will join me in the ‘Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs’ Kiva Lending Team!

Tracy Wilson
CloudVO COO

If you are a shared office space provider in a developing country, become a CloudVO partner and we will make special efforts to help you out.


About CloudVO ™

CloudVO ™ is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp, headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service ™ model. CloudVO operates the CloudMeetingRooms.com and CloudVirtualOffice.com e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms at close to 500 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.