• Abi Prowse

Coworking vs Working from Home: Deciding which is Best for your Business



Among the many difficult decisions faced by freelancers and remote workers every day (mainly issues such as ‘do I wear my daytime or nighttime pyjamas?’ and ‘how early is too early to work from bed?’) is the coworking vs working from home debate. A topic which has quickly become essential to any self-employed or remotely-employed worker, there are arguments to be made for both options. Maybe you crave social contact and thrive on the presence of others. Maybe you simply could never give up the unlimited cups of tea and the lack of dress code on offer at home. Either way, deciding whether to use a coworking office or station yourself at home can greatly impact your business.


Like many things in life, the answer is not black and white. The main factor to consider is, of course, your happiness and productivity levels (which often go hand-in-hand). Some people concentrate much better within the comfort of their home office, with no distractions around; others need the regular coffee breaks and gentle hum of background noise that comes with a coworking office. But how do you know which of these two equally-enticing options is right for you, and for your business?


In my 3 years working as a freelancer, I’ve worked from home and from coworking offices in pretty equal measure. Read on for my pros, cons, and in-betweens of each working setup, based on my own personal experience!




COWORKING



The pros


Alleviates loneliness. As a freelancer (especially when self-employed), you often make it to the end of the day and realise that you haven’t spoken face-to-face with anyone for a full 24 hours. Using a coworking office allows you to alleviate some of the potential loneliness that comes with remote working – and is a great place to network and share ideas, too! You never know what opportunities this could bring about.


Good Wi-Fi. If you find that your Wi-Fi at home is patchy at best, a dodgy connection can often lead to frustration and a lack of concentration. Coworking offices are pretty much guaranteed to have a good, stable, and reliable Wi-Fi connection for those all-important deadlines.


Makes work-life balance clearer. There’s something about closing your laptop at the end of the day, putting it in your bag, and physically leaving your place of work that allows you to switch off when it comes to your personal life. If you have a dedicated place to work from, it’s often easier to distinguish between work and play, allowing you to feel more present in your social life.


Unlimited coffee (normally). This is self-explanatory – although I feel compelled to point out that not all coworking offices have a coffee machine. Make sure to choose one that does.



The cons


Cost. It’s hard sometimes as a freelancer to justify non-essential costs to your business; after all, it’s coming straight from your own pocket! Weigh up whether investing in a monthly coworking fee is worthwhile for your business. Remember also the additional costs it may incur, such as travel to/from the office and needing to buy lunch out.


Lack of privacy. If you need to take an unexpected client call, it can sometimes feel as if you’re annoying everyone else in the office. If you’re someone who often finds themselves jumping on the phone, try to find a coworking office with a private call booth.


Limited resources. When working from home, anything you may need for a project or client is usually within your reach. Need to rifle back through old paper copies of your invoices? Hunting for that receipt for client meeting expenses? When using a coworking office, there may be some things you’ll need to work on once you get home, meaning that you may work longer hours than planned.




WORKING FROM HOME



The pros


Lack of cost. Working from home is, of course, free of charge, meaning you’re able to concentrate your budget on other aspects of your business.


Flexibility and freedom. If you get a sudden caffeine craving or want a particular snack, working from home allows you to simply head into the kitchen, grab what you need, and keep working, almost without interruption.


Better desk setup. If you work regularly from home, you can invest time and money into pieces of furniture and equipment that will greatly help your motivation and concentration. Whether it’s a wide screen, an ergonomic chair, or even simply a scented candle, you can personalise your home office to be exactly the way you’ve always imagined it.



The cons


Lack of motivation. When your daily commute consists of dragging yourself out of bed and over to your desk, it can sometimes be difficult to drum up the motivation to take your job seriously. If you often feel this way, try to make sure you get dressed and ready every morning, even if you’re not planning to leave the house.


No social stimulation. Maybe a brilliant idea has just flickered into your brain, and you need to share it with someone. Maybe you can feel your concentration wavering and need a coffee and a chat to perk you up. When working from home alone, these things are often hard to come by.


Blurred work-life boundaries. It’s much harder to set boundaries for yourself when working from home. If you feel yourself struggling with this, try to implement a rigid daily work schedule, factoring in start and end times as well as proper lunch and coffee breaks.




 

Are you team coworking or team WFH? Come and let me know why in the comments!

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