Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being a work at home mom. But for the past few months my sister and I have been scouring the city for places where we could work, especially once my daughter starts going to school this June.
We figured it’s more practical for us to start looking for places near the school for several reasons.
- It’s cheaper and less time consuming to just find a place where we can work close to the school. It’s too expensive and tiring to go home after we drop them off just to work then leave work to pick them up from school.
- My sister and I alternate dropping off and picking up our kids. (The school transport service does pass through our area.)
- We could work at nearby coffee shops and co-working spaces but they’re too expensive.
- This school has a lot of great after school programs and activities their school has for parents (like free Chinese lessons and parenting seminars) that I want to take advantage of. Working nearby would allow me to do that easily.
- I want to be able to get to school quickly in case of emergency (our house a bit far from the school).
- We want to work in a place where we can be comfortable. A place where we can bring pillows, a small pantry, and maybe have other work at home parents over. We all that’s not possible in a coffee show or virtual office.
Then, a friend of ours suggested an alternative, why not share an office space?
It turns out our friend P (a lawyer) has this office nearby where he meets with his clients. Even at his busiest, he only uses the office around 20 hours a week. He got the idea of sharing his office from his fiance, an online entrepreneur who also uses the office to do her accounting and to meet up with suppliers and customers.
After talking things through, we’ve come to an arrangement:
- We’d be sharing rent, electricity, and internet connection equally.
- We’d have our own keys and can stay there as long and as often as we want or need.
- We have free rein over the conference room (which they never use). We can bring anything that would make us feel comfortable.
- We can bring our own food/snacks.
- We can have our kids/spouse/partner over. This is perfect for us because it would allow us help our kids homework right away after school (they’re open too tired to do their homework by the time we get home).
It’s a short walk away from my daughter’s school (more exercise for me!) and it’s cheaper than working in a co-working space or coffee shop.
We’re lucky, I know. We’re lucky we had a friend who was open to the idea. We were lucky that his landlord was open and, in fact, encouraged this arrangement with his tenants. We’re lucky the office happened to be in a place close to school and it was something we could afford.
I’m not sure what the future holds with this arrangement. But it’s definitely an option and an alternative for us work at home parents if ever we need to work outside of our house. Will update you guys on how this “experiment” would work. Wish us luck!