CoWorking in COVID

by Jefferson Ellison. Published on December 22, 2020.

Trying to work during COVID has been an absolute shitshow. I began bouncing in and out of depression over being stuck at home, then I had to deal with the anxiety that comes with a lack of income security, and up until recently, I had been trapped at my kitchen table. At the beginning of the year, I was working from an incredibly cool art gallery/co-working space that I loved, and that was dirt cheap. However, once we all realized how serious COVID was, and I noticed that my building wasn’t really cleaning anything, I decided to stop working from there. Two months later, I decided to move out of the space because COVID showed no signs of slowing down and I could no longer justify spending money on a space I didn’t feel safe going into. Six months later...COVID officially became a lifestyle rather than a mid-year hiccup, and I was nowhere near as productive at home as I wanted to be. Here’s why - my house is soft and lovely. Everything smells like fresh linen and Spring cotton. There’s cable, blankets, and good but the only sturdy area is in the kitchen. No matter how hard I try, I always get distracted by cooking. This is a slippery slope because then I get full from the meal I made, and I fall asleep under the aforementioned blankets. It’s a truly vicious cycle. Enter WestBase CoWorking.

One day while scrolling through Instagram looking for hot guys and new shoes, I saw that my friend got a new job. When I reached out to congratulate her, she invited me to mask up and stop by for a visit. Immediately, I fell in love. First and foremost, it’s in my favorite part of Asheville. Down the street from my go-to bar, my best friend’s house, and an overpriced coffee shop, it's the perfect location. The interior is beautiful. There’s always coffee. They do a Friday afternoon happy hours. There are super chic/techy conference rooms AND the world's biggest private bathrooms. Literally, all the things!

Working from the space on the first day was just what I need. Coming into a more intentional environment, I was truly reminded me of what I’d be missing in my work life since moving back from New York. A place that felt like me - ambitious, stunningly accented, efficient. Needless to say, I moved right in. I got myself one of the private offices and then added on flex passes for the JAWBREAKING girls, so they have a place to huddle and talk shit - it was only fair. We’re almost two months in, and I’d say we’ve settled in quite nicely. My office is decorated, we’ve used the conference room for internal and external meetings, webinar production and more. I spend half the money I make at the little snack bar and coffee shop across the street, and I have a newfound reason to get dressed in the morning.

While I know that working from a coworking space seems less than ideal in COVID, it’s honestly one of the best places to be - if you have to work. Possibly the most obvious reason is the convenience. I've got 24-hour access. I don't have to clean. They've got a printer and wi-fi and they deal with any issues. I've got way more space for me and my little crew than we could afford it was our own office and it's much safer than a coffee shop or wine bar. With it being membership only, there is control and consistency with whom I am sharing the space, and there’s also the mutual respect that you don’t get in public spaces. No tourists are breezing through with their out-of-state COVID and arrogance, and no deniers are looking to get wasted and then “slip” off their mask. Everyone in the space is there to work and everyone needs to do whatever it takes to stay employed, so there is a real commitment to sanitization, masks, etc. Lastly, it allows me to segment my life in a way that I haven’t been able to do since February. For the first time in the last 8 months, I feel like I have my home life back, I feel like I have space to really reflect on what it means to be in this world in these times, and then I have a dedicated area where I hunker down and get shit done because I have no choice. The world is on fire - that’s true - but I am still a business, and I still have to work because the government is obviously not fucking with us enough to give me another option. So if I have to work, and I have to do a good job, I might as well do it in a place that’s conducive to the end result.

Before you ask, yes this was sponsored. But it was also true.