Catherine needs an office!

Posted by & filed under Catherine, Usability, Vancouver.

I’m a freelance web designer and developer. This means I don’t–yet–have an office, a staff, personal driver, nor any of the other luxuries one expects in the glamorous world of making websites.

Having tried it on-and-off for much of my career, I’ve concluded that it’s extremely difficult for me to work from home, and that coffee shops are even more difficult to work in simply because their furniture tends to be too small for me.

Consequently, I’m looking to either sign up with a coworking space or to share an office in downtown Vancouver. A space located in Gastown, Yaletown, the Downtown Eastside, or the regions between would be great.

The now-defunct Workspace would’ve been ideal: a naturally-lit, open-plan coworking space with other people around, and a coffee bar? Nice. Sadly, they’ve shuttered their doors and their successors, while numerous, don’t quite meet my requirements regarding lighting.

Simply put, I can’t work under fluorescent lights, not even high-frequency “natural” fluorescent lights, nor compact fluorescents. Even in an office with natural or incandescent lighting supplemented by fluorescent bulbs, I suffer migraines, nausea, and–I’m told–absence seizures.

I can work under halogen or incandescent bulbs–though I realize the impending ban on incandescent bulbs may make finding this dream office ever more difficult.

Second to lighting, an issue of physical scale: I’m quite tall and have a tendency to develop back and knee problems when wedging my outsize frame into smaller furniture.

This isn’t a huge problem, as most desks’ heights tend to be well within my margin of error, and most office chairs can be extended high enough that my knees don’t develop any problems. Seat depth and lumbar height are frequently inadequate, however.

Furniture aside, my torso height means that I do still need an external monitor that can be extended high enough to work comfortably for more than an hour or so. As such, I’d need a space where I could securely leave a monitor and keyboard, and, in the event that the office’s available chairs were insufficient, bring in one of my own.

To sum up, my must-haves:

  1. Close to downtown Vancouver.
  2. No fluorescent lights.
  3. Secure enough that I could leave a few hundred dollars’ worth of equipment stashed somewhere–or more ideally, on my desk itself.

Nice-to-haves include:

  1. Other freelancers and independent workers in the same space. It’d be handy to have someone with whom to have a ‘water-cooler’ conversation.
  2. An open-plan layout rather than a private office.
  3. Close proximity to coffee.

I don’t need a meeting room, space for my employees, foosball table, gym, land line, or fax machine, though these would certainly not dissuade me from renting. Maybe the foosball table, were it next to my desk.

Ideas? Contact me.

Update: Mission Accomplished! Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions!

2 Responses to “Catherine needs an office!”

  1. Jon Jennings

    though I realize the impending ban on incandescent bulbs may make finding this dream office ever more difficult.

    I see it now… Catherine with hat pulled down low over her face, skulking in the back of a dark alley whispering to a shady looking fat man “Right, so you got me the 60W like we agreed? 5 of ‘em for $100? Excellent. You haven’t seen me… OK?”

    • Catherine Winters

      I’ll be able to get by on “specialty” halogen lights for years, but I fear having to smuggle them across the border myself in a decade or so.