The Office: an experiment in working together

By Jennifer Hill | Feb 14, 2013

The views are spectacular, the companionship is engaging, the rent is cheap - but the best I can say about the Office in downtown Belfast is that I get a whole lot done in this place. When I’m not staring into a computer screen designing a web page, or using the other side of my brain to set up a spreadsheet, I’m looking out the window at a red tugboat, watching seagulls soar, or just taking a moment to relax. Never have I been so productive.

Of course, nothing could be perfect. I think of this now, after I have vacuumed the space and noticed that the trash cans need emptying. We have no maid service, much like where I live. No magic mother shows up to wash the tea cup I left on my desk before the big storm.

It’s true: more is expected from us than our monthly rent here, but sharing the burdens makes them lighter. One day when I was out, our router died. Somebody called the computer store in town who replaced the broken item, no problem. It was expensive, but when we divided by the number of occupants at that time, the amount expected from me was minimal.

No small perk in this equation is my love for downtown Belfast. I can walk up to the Co-op for a treat, or take the scenic route and walk to the footbridge. When the woman in the next nook accompanies me, I’m especially happy.

The conference room makes a gathering place possible. Skyping, meeting with groups, or just going into a closed space to work on a difficult problem can be just what is needed. Heating up my lunch in the microwave or making a hot cup of coffee or tea – this place is my home away from home.

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