It’s all over the news these days. Gas prices are up (in Seattle an average of $4.30/gal or so at the moment), commute times suck (on a good day you can get to Redmond from Seattle in 38 minutes one way), and people are looking for ways to still do the jobs they love (or not from time to time) and not spend a ton of time and money getting there and back. Conversations are starting up around Seattle and beyond on how employers can start encouraging their employees to get out of their cars and into public transportation.
But here’s a question for you all to chew on: what if you could get rid of the commute altogether?
Dude. I know. Exciting.
What if instead of a commute you just worked from a coworking space or other shared office space in your own neighborhood? Coworking is just coming on the map, and I hope that part of its impact is on making commuting as we now know it a thing of the past. In preparation for the upcoming Imagine Capitol Hill sustainability festival on Sunday July 20, Office Nomads has been doing a lot of thinking on how we can get residents in our neighborhood to think what life would be like if they didn’t have to commute. It begs questions about how we use the time in our life to best reflect our priorities. What would you do with that hour or so each day that you spend in the car or on the bus? Could that time be spent actually getting work done? Even better yet, spending time with your friends or family? Taking up a new hobby? Exercising? Taking a cooking class?
It’s all part of an important conversation we’re participating in about changing the way we think about how we can get work done. Taking a step back and looking from a wider angle, it’s about sustainability and how we can each have a hand in making a difference. Cutting down on transportation time and energy can make a drastic impact by reducing carbon emissions. Supporting local businesses by grabbing lunch at the nearby cafe keeps dollars local and engages residents with their neighborhood.
Not to feel like I’m standing on my high horse, but I really think coworking is a part of the future of working and sustainable neighborhoods. Working at home has been a great answer for some, but for others who give it a try, it becomes a lonely, isolating practice that leads individuals heading back towards company offices. Coworking provides a balance, and a half-way place for the new nomadic workforce.
What do you think?
[thanks to flickr user Burning Image for the shot!]