In addition to entrepreneurs and sole proprietors, many of our flex members are simply remote workers that want or need somewhere to work other than their home. Whether your work from home situation is a fancy home office or a makeshift kitchen table/desk, it can make a big difference to change your scenery and work around other like-minded professionals. Even though we don’t all actually work together, everyone in a coworking space becomes part of a community that they can contribute to and benefit from over time.
Casey Morris is a great example of the remote flex members that brighten our open workspaces – quite literally. He joined hygge coworking a few months ago and quickly became known as “the guy with the lamp and light switch” (more on that below). We’ve enjoyed getting to know Casey in our spaces as well as our recent Zero Day events, so we decided to ask him some questions about his professional journey and how he landed at hygge.
1. What’s your job title/the company you work for?
I’m a Senior Software Engineer at Orro. Orro has small offices in the Bay Area and Austin, TX, but I have been working remotely for about 3 years. We make a smart home living system that functions as a light switch. It has motion sensors and audio sensors to detect your presence and turn the lights on and off when you enter or exit a room, and a light sensor to keep the lights at a healthy level throughout the day. It also functions as its own Alexa device and as an intercom, allowing you to control the rest of your smart home. All of this packaged into your light switch! I write the software that runs on the physical switches. That is why you will see me at hygge with the lamp that houses a switch, or with some other hardware pieces connected to my computer. Luckily, it all fits in a backpack!
2. How did you get into this line of work?
Growing up, I was always fascinated with technology. When the iPod Touch came out, I was blown away and wanted to learn how to make things like that so when I went to college, I studied electrical engineering. Electrical engineering and software engineering are closely related, so eventually I realized that I was enjoying my software engineering projects the most. I then dove head first into learning more and more about software engineering.
One of the things that appealed to me was that the barrier to entry is very low – all you need is a computer and some patience. Mostly thanks to Google, I taught myself enough to get by and started doing personal software projects, coincidentally, a very rudimentary smart home/automated lighting and locking system. These experiences eventually helped me land more software focused roles, and I have continued on this path and am loving it.
3. What makes you passionate about your work?
I am passionate about software engineering because it is fast paced and provides instant feedback (you can make a change and test it almost immediately and know if it works or not). I love iterating through ideas when solving problems and software is the perfect medium to do this. Also, software is the ultimate meritocracy. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or who you know, either your software works or it doesn’t, so it can be very empowering.
I am also passionate about Orro. We spend so much time at our homes, and we interact with our homes and spaces in so many ways, more than we realize. Orro really enables us to get the most out of our home and spaces and all of the connected devices we already have, maximizing our experiences and efficiently using our time.
4. So, tell us about the light you bring every day.
I kind of mentioned it above, but we call the light/lamp an Eddy (not sure how it got its name). It is a portable light switch enclosure with a bulb attached. It is made from a wooden tissue box cover, and we cut a hole in the side and mounted a junction box inside, and installed a bulb holder in the top (where you would pull the tissues).
With this built, we can then install one of our Orro switches in the box exactly like it can be installed at home, making the switch easy to transport because all I have to do is plug it in and I have a powered Orro switch. With the Eddy, I can then test my software changes from anywhere there is an outlet!
5. Are you from Charlotte?
I am not. I am originally from Central Ohio. After leaving for college, I have lived all over; Indiana, Wisconsin, Arizona, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and then Memphis before finally settling in Charlotte about a year ago. My wife and I moved here for her work (she is a rock star pharmacist and researcher), and we have loved it so far.
6. What’s your favorite thing about Charlotte?
For us, the best thing about Charlotte is that it has all the things we like about bigger cities (lots of things to do, huge varieties of food scenes, and different cultures), while also having some of the small town feels, quiet neighborhoods and parks without having to be way out in the suburbs. We are close to just about everything we could want to do. It’s great!
7. Why’d you decide to seek out coworking?
Moving to a new city, without knowing anyone and during a pandemic, made it hard to meet and interact with new people. That, combined with working from home full-time meant I really wasn’t seeing and meeting many people during the week. So, to break up the monotony of working from home and to meet more people in the area, I started to explore coworking. That is how I came across hygge. I have really enjoyed the ability to work from the different office locations and meet tons of new people.
8. Do you have any hobbies you like to do outside of work?
When I am not working, I try to join some adult rec sports leagues, baking some sort of dessert (I’ll have to bring my next one to the office!), or working on some sort of hobby project. I also enjoy golfing and exploring the brewery scene in Charlotte! (If you’re curious about some of my projects, or baking, etc., you can see more on my website). For any other hygge members who want to grab lunch or a drink after work, it would be great to get together and learn more about the people who make the hygge community so great. I’ll be the one in the shared space with the lamp and light switches!