KWENCH: 1 | HOME: 0 — Why I Cowork at KWENCH

Victoria’s Parliament Building in winter.  Steve Jurvetson

Victoria’s Parliament Building in winter. Steve Jurvetson

KWENCH: 1 | HOME: 0 — Why I Cowork at KWENCH

By Camilla Brown

There’s nothing like a freak snowstorm in a usually temperate city to grind public life to a halt. For a few days in February, Victoria’s downtown became a ghost town. There wasn’t a person in sight as I slid towards Fort Street early that Snow Day morning. As a freelance writer with a ton of deadlines, it would take a literal wall of ice to deter me from my morning coffee at KWENCH.

Settling down to work in the near-empty space, I wondered how my fellow KWENCHers were coping with working from home. I’ve always thought of ‘working’ and ‘home’ as an oxymoron. For me, working from home is getting up early with all the best intentions, noticing a speck of fluff on the carpet, which invariably leads to some vigorous deep cleaning, and resting afterwards. Working from home is rolling out my yoga mat, practising difficult inversions, and resting afterwards. For me, working from home is essentially a death certificate to deadlines. A death certificate drawn in glitter pen and adorned with little illustrations that I spent many hours creating, instead of working.

The glorious distractions of working from home.  Shorr & Will

The glorious distractions of working from home. Shorr & Will

I’m not alone, people who works from home often complain of the social isolation, the monotony and the struggle to maintain a routine. A massive 42% of home office workers report insomnia. By comparison, 60% of co-working members noticed since joining a co-working space they felt more relaxed at home. I’ve certainly found that to be true since joining KWENCH. These days I try not to let work flood my restful living spaces. And having worked in more traditional, segregated office spaces, I also appreciate that awesome balance of the social and the serene during the work day. It’s no surprise that 68% of people said they are able to focus better while coworking.

Collaboration and connection spark innovation at KWENCH.  Hattie Root

Collaboration and connection spark innovation at KWENCH. Hattie Root

While KWENCH did look extra beautiful in the snowstorm — the paper lanterns glowing, green tendrils of plants rising — it made me think of that old saying “it’s not the place, it’s the people”. During those silent days, KWENCH was like an oyster shell without the pearls. I was grateful when the snow finally ceased, the members flooded back, and life went back to normal. Though I should add that “normal” at KWENCH pretty much equates to “awesome”! This fantastical place where I can write and get into a real flow, where I’ve met some of the loveliest people in Victoria.


Camilla is a nomadic writer and editor from London. She currently calls Victoria home and spends her time writing, practicing yoga and exploring the island’s beautiful nooks.


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