Two major pitfalls of working from home are the distractions your own home presents and the lack of camaraderie co-workers provide. What if there was a way to have the best of both worlds?
Working from home takes extreme dedication. Focusing on the task at hand without being lured by the multiple distractions of ‘chez you’ tests the most ironclad willpower. Yet for the many solo operators amongst us, it’s impractical to spend thousands each month on office space.
The role of Enterprise Learning Projects’ WA State Manager Susannah Wallman is home-based, like many other contractors (1 million Australians are self-employed independent contractors). With two children under the age of four, managing workload is a tricky business.
“I had to be strict around the time I had dedicated to work, but distractions such as the temptation to do just a few quick household jobs, people dropping in unexpectedly, as well as not having people to bounce ideas off in the moment were obstacles,” says Susannah.
But then Susannah met the Hoff. Scratch the Baywatch tunes and visions of hairy chests and red board shorts (delicious as they are), there’s a new Hoff in town. Swedish innovation Hoffice is revolutionising the way freelancers work, based on founder Christofer Gradin Franzen’s belief in the principles of the gift economy, which he discovered while working with Sri Lankan secular movement, Sarvodaya.
Hoffice encourages people around the world with the capacity to set up and host an office within their home, to invite likeminded people to share the space temporarily and free of charge. The concept encourages hosts to adopt a structured environment involving a meeting to start the day where attendees share their intentions with the group (which can ignite the sharing of knowledge and/or contacts, plus provide some social pressure to check off the to-do-list), working in 45-minute intervals (based on research people can’t focus beyond 40-minute stints) and a shared lunchtime.
Susannah discovered a local Hoffice was running via the Women in Social Enterprise Facebook page, which happened to be hosted by one of her old university friends (#soPerth), and embarked on a five-week Hoffice journey.
“The collaboration opportunities was definitely my favourite aspect,” says Susannah. “After starting the day with a group chat, we’d highlight any opportunities for learning or collaborating and mark off times during the day where people could catch up. I was at the start of a project and discussing all the possibilities provided so much rich information I may not have come across independently and definitely not as quickly.”
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