10 Reasons Why Elmhurst Should Get on the Co-Working Train (part 1)

Bookmark Ventures


Elmhurst Professionals Should Skip the Train Once a Week and Jump on the Co-Working Train Instead.  If you can relate to any of these scenarios, Bookmark is for you.  


Maybe you’ve never heard of Co-Working before.  Maybe you’re a veteran.  But one thing is for sure – you are likely not a co-worker in City Centre Elmhurst today because up until now the option has not existed.  My husband and I founded Bookmark to fill this need. 

I have been a remote and flexible worker on-and-off for seven years.  Most days I am available across multiple time zones for twelve hours a day.  I type on my computer and talk or swipe on my phone.  I don’t need much in order to do my job and can kind of work anywhere.  In order to do my job, I need wifi and a quiet background for my most important calls, which typically total only about 90 minutes of the day.  My office supplies are in my backpack.  It’s a bonus if I can work where there also a bathroom.  I go where the wind takes me or I don’t leave the house at all. 

I know all the haunts of remote workers in Elmhurst because I’ve worked in all of them – all the coffee shops, the lunch spots, the quiet corners of buildings and airports, the library, the college, in between cars on the train, and of course my own parked car.  It has its perks!  But it’s also kind of like “being a homeless person” one of my colleagues who was new to remote work recently told me.  All this to say, remote work is clearly NOT like being a homeless person.  In fact, these are very real very first world problems, and yet it is a rather nomadic existence. 

When thinking about creating Bookmark two years ago, I thought of the https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0gShnHFl20  “Don’t worry, I leave the fun!”  What if I created an office in Elmhurst where nobody is the boss and where everyone just wants to be friendly, get their work done, and get home quickly so they can more easily help with carpooling or coaching, go grocery shopping or running the prairie path?  “We eat local, shop local, why not work local?” I thought.  Here are the first five of ten reasons why your current remote work options in Elmhurst need a reboot: 

  1. Caffeine High: That lovely noise from a coffee steam machine has a nickname, “Starbucks Static” which is cute but not so great for conference calls.  You know what I’m talking about.  It’s a dreary day outside.  It feels more like Seattle than Elmhurst.  You pat yourself on the back for “getting out.”  You sit down with your order, plug into an empty outlet if you can spy one, and hunker down for a two-hour session of “getting $&*t done.”  Then the phone rings.  Can you hop on an impromptu call with VP so-and-so?  Sure.  You apologize for the background noise.  It’s all good until the key point in the conversation when the steam machine takes over all of the oxygen in the room and you can’t hear what was said and really don’t want to ask for it to be repeated.  Suddenly, you wish you’d just stayed home, instead, you leave and take the rest of the call from your car.  The coffee shop makes great coffee and it’s a great break in your day but it’s not an office. 
  2. Quick Commute: Beats 2-3 hour round-trip commute to the Loop.  For the last five years, I have officed out of the Willis Tower.  I live in South Elmhurst.  For two years I left my house at 7:35 to leave time for the cross-walk at IC, to park, and make the 7:57 express.  I took the overpass in Ogilvie, the Riverwalk to avoid lights, and after security, two elevators and an escalator, I’d be at my desk between 8:50 and 9:15 depending on train delays and calls on the way.  Not bad.  On the way home, I missed the express 90% of the time and would make it home about 6:45.  I’d get some work done on the train.  Not much.  It’s not a solid three hours; instead, it’s broken up into bits.  I’d be better off reading Skimm, Checking my Gmail, Mint.com, Twitter, Insta and Facebook.  My husband was used to getting my five texts in a row once my brain was off to the races.  The commute could be energizing!  I easily walked forty minutes a day without thinking or trying.  The views were often photogenic.  The city is endlessly interesting but rarely was it highly productive.  And when I was six months pregnant, or when my sick child was far, far away, it was the least fun of all. 
  3. Let’s Play! The kids are home from school and they think home office hijinx are hilarious.  It’s summer vacation and it’s 4:30 on a Friday.  I literally was running a virtual meeting for a dozen people – thankfully with no video.  My office is pleasantly on the main floor with lovely windows out of which are no less than three motorized four-wheeled vehicles driving by.  The kids are whooping.  Six neighbors are minding their children.  It’s happy hour, but I’m still working.  My middle son is screaming at the top of his lungs.  Is this really happening?  Yep, and it’s only June. And it’s not just summer.  Two years ago, my kids got an amazing matchbox set from Santa.  My husband created a ridiculously cool ramp and the cars flew by my office door hundreds of times a day.  This was their Christmas break.  This is exactly what they should be doing.  I tried working upstairs but my call was scheduled during the baby’s nap.  That wasn’t going to work.  It was zero https://www.accuweather.com/en/us/elmhurst/60126/january-weather/332839?year=2018.  The train rails had frozen.  I didn’t want to get frostbite downtown so I was happy to have another office option and happily drove 30-minutes to a random corporate building in Itasca to get some work done, except the first day I got lost and didn’t have the correct security to get in.  Day two, I found a small deli in the basement.  I didn’t leave the building for nine hours each day and missed out on the Christmas fun but I did get work done and the kids had a great week at home.  Just as it should be.
  4. Hoover Headache: It’s cleaning lady day.  Growing up it was my job to clean the bathroom.  I always enjoyed making the sink shine but I was pretty slow and as my life got busier the thrill of the shiny sink because less of a priority.  Finally, after baby number three I went to my neighbor’s Norwex party.  My neighbor had the same cleaning lady for years.  The Norwex seller tried to find a dirty spot behind the television to demonstrate the product.  No dice.  The house was spotless!  I was aghast and jealous.  I bought the glass cleaner and the dryer balls and then I asked my neighbor quietly, “Would you ask your amazing cleaning lady if she could clean my house?”  I said to my husband, we are not discussing the cleaning lady anymore, it’s happening.  Her schedule was jammed.  She fit me in when she could every couple of weeks.  The night before and the morning of, you’ve gotta clean for the cleaning lady.  She’d start upstairs but the vacuuming always coincided with a call of some sort.  That was manageable-ish but when the hardwood floors get cleaned – you are not to be anywhere in sight.  I had to get out of her way and so there I was back at the coffee shop or the library or the car.  I’d work in a ditch if I could have a clean house!  Even if it’s only for two hours…
  5. Weight Watchers: The fridge is easily accessible all day long and your step count is only 50.  I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. 
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