Work Life

A Desk Here, A Desk There

I recently bumped into an intern I used to work with, and she mentioned that she’d since moved on to a job at DeskPass. A new-ish concept in co-working, it’s sort of like the ClassPass for shared work spaces. Instead of a variety of workout classes to choose from, you get access to co-working spaces around the city.

I was immediately intrigued.

Much as I love working from home, and easy as it may be to jump over to a coffee shop whenever I need a change of scenery, neither of those spaces is ever quite like sitting down to a desk, removing all distractions and knocking out a bunch of work.

I looked into the options and decided on a $49/month membership that afforded me four office visits per month, or roughly one per week. With the ability to roll-over unused visits, that could go up to two visits per week, which seemed like just the right amount for my needs. I don’t need somewhere to go everyday, and my schedule is such that some weeks I might need to set aside a day for a desk, or some weeks more (or less). And with co-working spaces all over the city, I was sure I’d always be able to find a place to work convenient to whatever other meetings on my books. 

For a good couple of months, I’d sit down on a Sunday evening to plan out the week ahead, sorting out which day I’d use my DeskPass membership to hunker down at a desk. It was important to me that if I was going to pay for the service, I should be using it as much as possible. Over that time, I did a pretty good job of claiming a desk about once a week as planned. I managed to try a handful of locations, too—to varying degrees of success.

I mostly took advantage of the chance to try working from Platform, a co-working space about a half mile from my apartment. I found their space open and inviting, and being so close to home, it makes for a “commute” I didn’t mind at all. I also worked from a space in Lake View that proved a bit too industrial for my taste; the various desks open to “DeskPassers” seemed an afterthought, and one whole floor was essentially abandoned, with boxes piled up along a wall and not a single person in sight. And I ventured outside of my normal neighborhoods to check out a place in Wicker Park, a refurbished old building with hardwood floors, high ceilings and a small but lovely little terrace to work from on a nice summer day. 

All in all, the opportunity to use a desk here and there was nice to have, but ultimately I decided to cancel my membership after a few months. Turns out, I don’t jet around the city as much as I thought I do, so the need to have access to offices all around town proved to be unnecessary. Plus, between standing shifts working with my intern each week and a homebody’s desire to just putz around my place between client work, I was honestly less motivated to get up and “go to the office” than I gave myself credit for. And this is a small thing, but the service’s app had enough issues (having to log in every time I re-open it?!) that it just became more of a hassle than a help.

I’m glad I tried it, for sure. I got to see a few cool spaces, and now I know firsthand what all the co-working fuss is about. I can see myself utilizing a similar space if I’m ever ready to make the jump into having an actual office; many of them offer walled-off offices (with doors and everything!) for companies just like mine, and when my client load warrants it, it could be great to once again separate my work from my home. That’s a long way away though, so for now I’ll stick to coffee shops and my own dining room table.

post image courtesy of Platform