Office Snapshots began 6 years ago as a fun project. As a recently hired history teacher, I had plenty to do, but when the idea for the website came to me, I had to create it. Three redesigns, 1000+ office postings, numerous office visits, and hundreds of new relationships later, the site became my full-time job.

Instead of this being an epic tale about my life, I thought it would be fun to look at the different office arrangements I've had over the years and how they had an impact on my work.

The "Side Project" Shared Home Office

For those of you that have ever started a side project, you'll know that you basically use whatever work area you already have available to you. When I began Office Snapshots, I was living an a house with 5 roommates and our desks were all in a large common room. Though some people might have hated it, this setup was perfect for me in the given situation:

  • Community – with several people in this room all fooling around and having fun, it was fun to hang out and share ideas with one another
  • Productivity – this wasn't a main goal as none of us actually worked from home 

The Home Office

After Office Snapshots turned 4, I quit my job as a teacher, moved cities, temped first at a cremation sales office and then at a tooth whitening company. Finally, I decided it was time to try out running the website full-time. That probably had to do more with the low quality of my temp jobs than anything else, but hey, it got me to try something that seemed crazy.

During this period, I worked from home, though this time, it was all on my own. Strangely enough, I found that I could be fairly productive all on my own. Things I found important were:

  • Forcing myself to take breaks
  • Maintain regular business hours
  • Set task goals

Current: The Shared Office

After working from home for over a year, I decided it was time to move on from that arrangement. It might have been a more long-lasting solution, but I always had a hard time taking breaks and would find myself indoors for days at a time.

With my work focusing on offices, office design, and productivity it seemed like I needed to make a decision that would impact my business positively for a while into the future. Several options of what to do stood out to me:

  1. Work from a coffee shop – Coffee shops seem like a fun idea, and they are technically free, but when you buy coffee and a party every day, the costs can really add up
  2. Work from a coworking space – I like the idea of a coworking space, but there weren't really any options in my area that stood out to me at a cost I was willing to pay
  3. Rent an office with friends – I'm always seeing signs for leasable offices, but when you're a small business like mine, a long terms lease just isn;t something I can afford to do
  4. Share an office / rent a desk – I ended up finding a company looking to rent a desk out through a friend, for a very, very reasonable price and decided that that would be the best option

Looking back, renting a desk in a small office was a great choice. It has the feeling of the common room I described when I first started Office Snapshots, but is more professional. Everyone stays busy working on projects and work, as opposed to watching youtube videos and hanging out. And that's a good thing.

What office settings do you enjoy most, and which have you found to work best with your personality?

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