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Why Shameless Media Moved their Home Office to a Melbourne Co-working Space

Melbourne journalists Zara McDonald and Michelle Andrews are the co-founders and creators of independent podcasting company, Shameless Media. After a year of working at home and recording Shameless Podcast from their couches, their residential office set-up was becoming unsustainable.
With many businesses questioning their next move following Covid-19, we sat down with the duo to find out why they prefer working from their JustCo Melbourne co-working office over their home set-up.

What were some of the key drivers behind your transition from working at home to moving into an office?

Not going to lie – Mich was working from a teeny, tiny shoebox apartment in St Kilda when we made the move into JustCo and was practically pulling her hair out. Working from her couch, then trying to relax at the end of a long workday, was slowly making her lose all sanity, so Zara did the Responsible co-worker thing and suggested we get an office space.

The separation between work and home has been crucial to not just our contentment, but also our productivity.(It also helps that our boyfriends aren’t noisily making a cup of tea or putting on a load of washing in the next room while we try to record a podcast now. That… that helps a lot.

How has having a formal business address changed your interactions with your guests and corporate partners?

It has changed our interactions with guests, clients, and corporate partners hugely! There’s a sense when you finally move into an office that the work you do is suddenly more credible and legitimate. Whether or not it does change the work at all (in our case it hasn’t!), it does mean we often have a professional, neutral ground to hold meetings. Also, it means we can introduce potential partners to our space: a space that communicates who we are and what we stand for. It gives them much greater insight into how our business operates and why we do the things we do.

What impact has moving into an office had on your productivity?

While technology certainly means working from home is easier than ever, you can never replicate the beauty of communicating when you’re all in the same room. We work so hard now to get our work done as efficiently and effectively as we can so we can feasibly leave the office and at a good hour, with strict lines between working from home. It also means our ability to brainstorm and come up with ideas is so much stronger, because we have the means to bounce off each other at all times of the day. You just can’t do that without all being in the same space.

Did you have any preconceived ideas about moving into your own office space? How did they differ from what eventuated?

I (Mich) never expected I’d get such joy from making our co-working space the brightest and loudest in the whole building. The Shameless office is a bit of a ‘bang’ – we have bright pink and yellow all over the place, along with a bookshelf and podcast recording nook, and have found such delight in making a co-working office feel like ‘ours’. We worried we wouldn’t be able to put a little Shameless stamp on our working environment but have been so thrilled that we were proven wrong.

How has moving to an office changed your work/life balance?

As two people who have spent so much of our careers working from home (and who would once shout from the rooftops about how good that was for work/life balance!), there is something so freeing about separating your workspace and your home space. When you work from home, work seeps into every nook and cranny of your life. You feel like you can never shake the workday off, because you’re consistently in the same space. I (Zara) often felt like I never tried to work as efficiently, because I never really had a rush to be elsewhere. So, I ended up working less productively over more hours. Now the lines between work and home are so clear. It’s so refreshing!

What advice would you give to small business owners and freelancers looking to make the transition from home office to a formal business address?

DO IT! If you can afford it, it will exponentially de-clutter your mind. No more getting distracted by the fridge! Or falling into a Netflix binge when you’re supposed to be writing invoices! Or accidentally sleeping in until 9:30am on a Tuesday and proceeding to work the entire day in your pyjamas!
Moving into a co-working space is the perfect opportunity for you to professionalise your business and invest in yourself. It’s a chance to cement what you’re already doing and connect with fellow creatives and professionals who might be able to help you flourish.

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