When I think about the various work spaces I’ve sat in throughout the course of my career, I feel a little like Goldilocks. When it comes to your desk in the corporate world, the old adage is true—size does matter. I reached the place in my career where I had a big-ass desk. But…and there’s a big but…I hated that desk. I had a permanent bruise from banging into its sharp corners and wrestling the heavy walnut drawers open. Unless I needed to hide under something during an earthquake, there was nothing good to say about that monster piece of furniture. That office was too big.
Then I found my way into the world of tech but this office world was too sterile. My new “modern” office included a stark white pressboard table and a slate rolling filing cabinet. No phone, no bookshelves. Not even a drawer of leftover paperclips and Post-its. Somehow tech design meant either cold and metal or next level fraternity house. Neither one felt like home.
So, when the day came that I no longer needed to be in an office environment I started to talk to my friends who actually do work at home—maybe that was the best choice for me. They reported many benefits but definite downsides, too. Barking dogs, XBOX playing boyfriends, sandwich making kids and the never ending piles of laundry begging to be done between emails all providing daily distractions. You can see why working from home is sometimes called “The Worst of Both Worlds.”
Many women told me they ventured out and worked in coffee shops but that has problems of its own—you don’t always get your favorite spot, there’s the ticking time bomb of the parking meter and the internal conflict of asking a perfectly unsafe stranger to watch your stuff while you make a mad dash for the bathroom. Of course, there is also the eternal question, exactly how much coffee do you have to buy to justify sitting there for four hours and what are the long-term effects of all that caffeine?
None of these options seemed ideal to me. What other choice could there be for a woman in search of an office makeover? I explored co-working spaces but found them either too corporate or too techbro read, my heels stuck to the floor from the kegger social the previous night. Necessity is the mother of invention so I got the idea that I could enhance the way women work together. Women had been redefining how they work for years but now we needed to think about where we work. I decided I was going to design a space by women, for women. Sometimes a perfect fit only happens when you custom make something yourself. At Paper Dolls first co-working studio, I feel work inspired while enjoying the comforts of home. Finally, my office feels just right.