Dive into the real-life experiences of one of our hot desking members, whose journey within the MyWorkspot community sheds light on the myriad advantages and unique challenges of this modern work style. Their story is a testament to the evolving landscape of work, where flexibility and adaptability have become key drivers for success in the professional world.

Confessions of a Hot-Desker

“We are sorry to announce that the 7.26 train to Didcot Parkway has been delayed.”

Bloody hell. Not again.

A collective grumble rippled through the platform – nobody wanted to be late, especially not on a Monday morning. Two trains and a slightly soggy bus ride later, I eventually made it to the office. I sat down and got on with my day, even though the prospect of the return journey was already starting to tug at the back of my mind. As much as I loved seeing the team, the commute was starting to wear me down.

At the time that Boris told us all to stay at home back in 2020, I was getting ready to start a new job. Up until then, I had worked for a number of companies along the M4 corridor, and the new role was to be a mix of onsite customer visits with a couple of days working from home; I was really looking forward to getting out of the grind of the daily commute, and into a life with more flexibility and variety.

With COVID, everything changed. Instead of starting the first day of my new role at a customer site in the Midlands, I found myself in my flat in Maidenhead. I shut down my old work laptop one evening, only to boot up the new one from exactly the same spot the very next day. The onsite work was eventually cancelled, and I ended up working from home for the next two and a half years.

After the novelty of not having to go into the office at all had worn off – and I’d run out of home office equipment to buy from Amazon – I knew that I needed to make a change. Living on my own and the peace and quiet I initially enjoyed became….well…a little  too quiet. I could even see that the lovely cashier in Sainsburys took pity on me for a chat when I went out for what became a daily shopping trip (obviously I convinced myself it counted towards my daily exercise – lifting a box of Shiraz and multipacks of Walkers burns off a few calories, after all).

The company I was working for was based up in the North, and the team was pretty much working remotely all of the time, so trips to the office once lockdown restrictions were lifted were off the cards. I decided to find a job more local to Maidenhead, and started a role at a company based out in Abingdon in the summer of last year, which offered me the flexibility of either being in the office or working from home.

As much as I loved working from home, I was becoming increasingly aware of the fact that I needed some separation between my home life and work life. I had transformed my flat into a fantastic workspace, but I was getting sick of seeing my laptop and monitor lurking in the background when I sat down to relax in the evenings.

I had researched coworking spaces during COVID, but had never taken the plunge. Like many were feeling at the time, I wasn’t sure of how safe the outside world really was in the months after the worst of the pandemic was over and, being a primary carer outside of work, I didn’t want to take the risk by falling ill.

Once the world opened up again, I walked past MyWorkSpot in York Road a couple of times on my way to the station, and had always liked its modern look and feel.

One day curiosity got the better of me and I popped in to take a look. I met Will – one of the owners – who gave me a tour and I immediately loved the place. After a two day trial, I signed up for a 10 day monthly pass, and worked from there for a couple of days a week for the next few months.

One of my favourite things about working out of a coworking space are the people that you meet. You’ll find people working for startups right through to corporates, and on any given day you can end up sitting next to both business owners and employees alike. You meet such a wide range of characters from different backgrounds that you simply wouldn’t working in a single office for the same company. You chat, you discuss, you grumble and you laugh together, every day building new connections and relationships. Through all of this, you learn so much and I find the personal development that a coworking space can offer you is particularly special.

In the past, I’d often worked longer hours than I was contracted to, especially in the days when we were all working out of the office. Being seen was (and still is) powerful in the office environment, and I often arrived early and left late as a result, as well as to avoid the hell that can be the traffic on the M4. I found myself getting up early and getting home late, either spending time travelling, sitting at my desk or moving from desk to meeting room and back, a true hamster wheel of a routine.

Now I’m able to wake up at pretty much the same time, and get out and do some exercise instead of immediately jumping into the shower and onto the road. I have started a regime that I call ‘8 before 8’, where I walk 8km before 8am every morning (the name was pinched from a chap called Nigel Jones, who came up with the concept of walking 9km by 9am as part of his routine). As well as help me shift a few pounds, I have a new appreciation of the nature and green spaces we have in and around Maidenhead. It helped me discover parts of the town that I would have missed had I been stuck on a delayed train or on the M4, most likely swearing at the fact that someone who had cut me up coming on at Slough, or bemoaning just how or just how lethal that extra lane was starting  to look.

After major works started on my block of flats  earlier in the spring, I wasn’t able to work from home any more so went for a monthly pass, meaning that I was at my York House pretty much every day, making it for all intents and purposes ‘my’ office. Being in almost every day, you start to notice the peaks and troughs of a coworking space, starting off quiet at the start of the week, building to more of a frenzy midweek, with all the offices full and events going on in the conference spaces, and then ramping down to what is often a quiet Friday, with many people working from home.

As a hotdesker, you can get caught up in the madness at times, so you do need to have a strategy for those days when it’s all a bit too crazy. Call booths and pods quickly become your friends, giving you somewhere to tuck yourself away to focus or to take that sensitive call. Headphones or a headset are a must, both so you can tune into a call or an intensive piece of work, as well as for your hotdeskers who won’t want to hear Bob from the office moan about how much he can’t stand the management (again).

If you are or have been wondering what working out of a coworking spot is like, I’d recommend taking advantage of the free trials that many of them offer and giving it a go. Most offer memberships on a subscription basis, so you can always cancel if you find that it isn’t for you.

Looking back on the past year, coworking life has allowed me to:

  • Improve my work / life balance thanks to shorter commutes, which means I have more time for exercise in the morning and start off the day in a more positive frame of mind.
  • Have daily face to face interaction that I was missing, and get to know a whole new group of people from different industries, jobs and backgrounds, which I wouldn’t have otherwise.
  • Continue to work and support my customers and team from a professional environment (no more washing in the background when on Teams calls!).
  • Not worry about putting the kettle on, as there’s always fresh coffee on the go (even though my spending habits from COVID times haven’t really changed, and I tend to find myself splurging on a flat white and bacon brioche from Chai Cocoa round the corner – highly recommended!) 

Why not try hot desking at MyWorkspot for 1 months for £30 + VAT clicking here.

MyWorkSpotUK 1200 627

16 October 2023

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