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If office at home has lost its thrill, try co-working
Co-working trend is growing

Date published: 11/15/2008

WORKING at home sounds good. Really good. Until you do it.

Here's the ugly truth: Telecommuters often look in the mirror and find themselves unshaven, unwashed, dressed in a ratty T-shirt and boxers.

And they're bored. There's no one to bounce ideas off. There's no one to talk about fantasy football with at the water cooler--in part due to the fact that there's no water cooler.

So some people who work at home actually end up working at Starbucks, less for the stimulation of caffeine than for the stimulation of being around other human beings.

More and more people are working at home--some telecommuting and some because they've been laid off and are doing freelancing or consulting work without an office. And more and more people are finding themselves uninspired and smelly.

Enter "co-working," a new trend that's seeing laid-back office places open that often resemble coffee shops with desks and meeting rooms.

Paul Delagrange has opened the first co-working center in the Fredericksburg area, Businessplayce. (Learn more at businessplayce .com)

Delagrange owns a manufacturers rep firm, Arbotek, which represents semiconductor companies including Tyco, Intersil, Fujitsu and Honeywell, providing sales and technical support from Virginia to New Jersey.

For the last seven years his work space was in a local executive office suites building.

"Anyway, the place kinda went downhill, and everyone there came into their windowless offices, shut their doors and then left at the end of the day," Delagrange says. "No sense of community, boring--'sterile' is probably the best description. I found myself going to Starbucks or Tickers a couple times a week just to hear some noise, and maybe talk to someone different."

Then he heard about the co-working trend and spent the last year looking for the right property.

"Finally, I found it and I pulled the trigger," he said. It's in the Chancellor area.

"I hired a contractor to add some walls, bought some fun furniture, put up some funky paint, and here I am," Delagrange says.

And he already has had some clients move in.

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