HOW I’VE ACHIEVED A BETTER WORK/LIFE BALANCE

March 29, 2019
A little background on my work setup over the past few years:

If you have been a reader for a while now, you may remember when I shared a studio space in Boston with a few local business owners and artists in 2014. This was before Evie was born; when my business was just starting to grow after relocating from San Diego. It was so nice having a dedicated workspace and leaving the apartment. But once I had Evie, I decided to streamline my time and expenses and shifted to working from home.

In the beginning, I juggled both works and taking care of her, which had its ups and downs, and I soon realized I would need extra help if I really wanted to keep growing my business. So we hired a nanny to help us two to four half days a week, which has been a tremendous help this past couple of years.

But now that we’ve added another little one to our crew, our nanny is with the kiddos four to five days a week from 8am-4pm. So my current challenges are I can hear when they are inside (our house is pretty open) and Evie talks to me when she can see me. They get out of the house quite a bit for classes at Minni and for visits to the children’s museum and library, but it can be hard in the winter months to get out.  

While I do have a dedicated area at home to work, the location is less than ideal…it’s right next to Evie’s room. This means during nap time (which can be hard to schedule the exact timing of), I have to be silent—no calls!—and cannot access my design project samples or any business supplies since they’d make too much noise to work with.

Other Challenges: I am struggling to focus. Laundry, picking up clutter, and dishes continue to take up valuable work hours, I’m not as efficient, meetings with clients are either at their house or a coffee shop, and I am not talking to anyone other than clients and vendors (typically via email) and my 3-year-old.

As you can see, working from home has a number of challenges that were starting to not stack up to its benefits.

My new work set-up, thanks to Industrious:

For the past few weeks, I’ve collaborated with Industrious, a Boston co-working space with private and shared offices and locations in Back Bay, Financial District (my location), and the Seaport (plus locations all over the U.S.).

They set me up with a private office, and with that the flexibility to use the coworking areas, phone rooms and book conference rooms. I also have access to the amenities, such as a coffee bar available all-day (with local coffee!), breakfast every morning, afternoon snacks, fast internet, unlimited printing, and access to the wellness room.

I worked out of the Back Bay Industrious location last September, so I had a pretty good idea of just how much my energy and productivity would get boosted working there rather than at home. You can read about my experience here. But after only a week, I noticed how much my overall happiness increased too, and how my to-do list was actually getting done every day. I had been accustomed to not accomplishing at least four to five things on my list each day when I was working from home.

Not only that, but it was almost as if I was putting into the universe that I was ready for more work because the design projects and blog partnership inquiries have increased exponentially. Obviously, this may not be a direct response to me working in a dedicated office space, but I’m going to keep the momentum going.

I’m also incredibly happy to say I have found the recipe for a better work/life balance for myself: which is stepping away to a work zone away from home. I’ve become a better mom as I am able to compartmentalize work and motherhood.

And I’m not saying this is the right formula/work situation for everyone, but I will say if you’re at the point in your business where you’re deciding whether or not to get an office/co-working space, it has done wonders for me and my business in a short timeframe.  

Here’s why I love Industrious vs. other co-working spaces:
.01 Hospitality & Amenities:

The stocked fridge of La Croix + sodas, hot coffee all-day, breakfast and snacks are enough to make working from Industrious worth it. 🙂 There’s always something to look forward to, and when you’re having a rough start to the day it’s nice to know someone else is taking care of breakfast for you. Their hospitality is unmatched!

.02 Networking:

Since Industrious attracts a full range of people from new freelancers to established Fortune 500 companies, I’m finding a lot of my ideal clients are here. Luckily, Industrious provides some great programming like Happy Hour on Thursdays where Simon, the Operations Manager, typically puts together a fantastic cheese & charcuterie board and serves wine + beer, which leads to great networking. Might I add, seeing Liza (the Community Manager) and Simon every day is such a highlight of working from Industrious? I got to know Annie at the Back Bay location and everyone on the staff is just as nice and accommodating as can be.

.03 The Design:

As a designer, I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Industrious is thoughtfully-designed for the different needs of conducting business. The design is elevated and impressive to clients and visitors alike: it honestly feels like a 5-star hotel. There are private conference rooms that have TVs for conferencing and whiteboards for brainstorming, common spaces that support organic conversation,  phone rooms for quiet conversations, and a wellness room for nursing mamas or anyone who needs a moment away from their computer.

I’m all for fun and playfully designed spaces but it has to be for the right time and place. When we need to get work done, we don’t need swings and bean bags and lots of color or pattern everywhere: we need spaces that will encourage productivity and efficiency!  Industrious has struck that balance perfectly, and I’m thrilled I get to work in their space.

.04 The Energy:

When I’m at Industrious, I’m in work mode and I can put my head down and get some work done. But I’m also not alone and  I’m inspired by the other individuals and companies that come here to work every day and the collective upbeat energy that I’ve noticed while working here is unmatched.

.05 Easy Commute:

A few people asked about my commute so I wanted to make sure I mentioned these details as well.

I live in Dorchester so either Cody will drop me off in the morning, I will catch a Uber, or take the T to South Station (Industrious Financial District is 2 minutes from South Station). If I need to take a few things with me, I will drive and use SpotHero to park in a lot for the day.

(PS: If you don’t know about SpotHero, it’s an app where you can reserve a parking spot in a garage convenient to your location at really good rates. Here’s my code to get you $7 off your first reservation, if you want to try it out. I’m slightly addicted. Code: https://refer.spothero.com/s/ubpqj )

There’s Simon! Haha!

Okay, so I’m sure at this point you are all like…

is there an Industrious near me?

Click here to view ALL the Industrious locations

And for my locals who are ready to Schedule a Tour at one of their Boston locations, click here.

If you are specifically looking to tour the Financial District location, click here to schedule a tour with Liza.

This post is created in collaboration with Industrious, a brand I genuinely love and am thrilled to continue to work from their FiDi location. All thoughts & opinions in this post are, as always, my own. Thank you for supporting brands that support Oh, I Design Blog!

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This is so awesome! Love all the photos of you 🙂

Thank you so much, Natalie! I need to remember to take photos with me in them sometimes 😉 Happy Tuesday! xo

Um the man behind you in the last photo wins best photo bomb ever!! Completely with you on the challenges of working from home…and I don’t even have little ones! May have to join you some time 😉

Isn’t that hilarious?! That’s Simon – he is the one I mentioned makes the infamous cheese and charcuterie boards! Come see me soon??

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