The usual 9-to-5 grind is becoming a thing of the past and, with teleworking on the rise, we’re getting creative with work-from-home options. From coffee shops to bus terminals, people are working wherever they are. I should know – I’m one of them.

The Gateway Centre is the ideal office for a new kind of work life. Photo courtesy: Gateway Centre.

As a writer, I’m one of many new professionals who set their own hours and schedules. Increased connectivity via computers, tablets and phones allow us to tap into the work-world whenever and wherever. But this isn’t to say it’s always easy to work remotely.

Working remotely provides convenience, but also a whole new set of challenges. Primary among them? Isolation.

Many find they miss the comfort and camaraderie of an office. Fortunately, as we adapt to the new work landscape, one local office is doing the same. Bellingham’s Gateway Centre is changing the idea of an office for the better.

“Coworking is a new thing that is really beginning to catch on,” says General Manager Jeremy Hendren. “The next generation coming up is accustomed to working on-the-go. Our coworking space facilitates that mentality, and you can even do a day rate for $25 to try it out if you don’t want to commit to a whole month at first.”

Don’t do it alone. Work is just better at the Gateway Centre. Photo courtesy: The Gateway Centre.

Gateway Centre Executive Suites offer many different options. It’s the perfect spot for the professional attorney looking to make a good impression, or a vagabond writer who needs a convenient spot to turn out a story (hint: that writer is me).

I recently tried out “The Office,” a coworking space at Gateway Centre. It turned out to be one of my most productive days yet.

9:00 a.m.

I arrive at the Gateway Centre around 9:00 a.m. I know what you’re thinking; you need to be at the office earlier than that, slacker. But, hey, I’m a freelancer. I make my own schedule and, today, I’m in the perfect place to do so.

The office is quiet in the early morning hours. A few regulars are at their workspaces or reserved desks. If you have a platinum membership, you get a desk with your name on it, always waiting just for you.

There are three membership tiers: silver, gold and platinum. Hendren says the majority of coworkers select the silver option, but the gold and platinum offer a little more personalization for your experience.

What’s better than doing work you love at your own pace? Waffle Wednesdays! Photo courtesy: Gateway Centre.

With the silver package, you get free parking, 100 MBPS fiber internet, free coffee and tea, scanning, faxing and – maybe most importantly – Waffle Wednesdays.

Waffle Wednesdays take place every second Wednesday morning of the month, when the Gateway Centre staff set up a small waffle breakfast buffet for coworking residents. Hendren says the idea of Waffle Wednesdays was to form a sense of community within the resident tenants of The Office.

Both gold and platinum package members enjoy Waffle Wednesdays too, and more. They can access the space on weekends, and get their accessible hours extended from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m

A silver membership is $100 a month, gold is $200 and platinum is $300.

“Some days, you’ll have 20 people at the office all working away on their projects,” Hendren says. “But there are also days where maybe three to five people are in the office. The cool part about coworking is people use the facilities when they need to and can access it when it’s convenient for them.”

12:00 p.m.

You can work your own way at The Gateway Centre. Photo courtesy: Gateway Centre.

It’s already lunchtime and I’m really enjoying my day. The Office has everything I need, including a printer, conference rooms, a private quiet room where I can take phone calls and even office supplies.

It really helps to have all these boxes checked. As someone who works on the move, I’ll be the first to tell you that I don’t always have access to all these features and amenities. To find a place that provides all this and more really removes some stress.

Another nice bonus is the free coffee. It’s time for cup two, since I still have plenty of work to finish. I fill up my mug and get back to my manuscript.

2:45 p.m.

The new virtual landscape is reinventing the way we work. Photo courtesy: Gateway Centre.

I need a change of scenery, so I switch from the island-style seating in the middle of the space to a nearby window. It’s nice to have that kind of flexibility.

My new outside view is refreshing, especially after staring at a screen all day. Gateway even has an outdoor seating area, which is heavenly during the summer months. But no matter the season, it’s always beneficial to go out and breathe some fresh air.

Hendren’s goal is to create a comfortable space for any professional looking to get the most out of their office, and I think it’s working.

5:00 p.m.

One last coffee for the road. Three cups isn’t too much, is it? I don’t think so. Plus, I deserve a reward to celebrate my successful and accomplished day. I hop in my car (conveniently parked nearby, thanks to ample parking options) and hit the road.

That’s another benefit of working at the Gateway Center – when I work at home, my work never feels done. But leaving the office – even on my own schedule – helps me leave my work-related worries behind.

Whether you need a professional executive suite to host clients or a spot to get some work done once or twice a week, Gateway Centre has a solution for you. So upgrade your workspace, impress your clients, ditch the isolation of solitary work and experience the joy of Waffle Wednesdays. You’ll be glad you did – I certainly am.

Gateway Centre is located at 1313 East Maple Street #201 in Bellingham.

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