Two women in conversation enjoy coffee in co-working kitchen.

How does co-working compare to working from home?

Its no secret, freelancing is more popular than ever. Whether your field is graphic design, writing or programming, it’s sometimes hard to stay focused. With more options becoming available every day, how does co-working compare to working from home?

Co-working vs Working From Home

There are a few options. The most typical and quintessential of the freelancer is working from home. This is usually transitioned to from a few productive afternoons working in various cafés and coffee houses. Yet for those who wish to have a more professional environment, it comes down to whether or not you want to take on the financial commitment of renting an office or whether you can make use of the flexibility within a co-working space. As renting an office is typically an unnecessary overhead for a new business.

Freelancers have a widespread presence across all occupations which means different working environments are best suited to different individuals. The main positive of working within a co-working space is that you maximise productivity, without the distractions of daily life getting in the way to break your flow. The associations of your home being a getaway from work can be a difficult thing to break. Many would argue it’s better to keep them that way, as before you know it you could be at the other end of the spectrum – seeking a refuge from work.

Avoid Distraction & Stay Focused

It takes discipline to avoid distraction, the fridge full of food and comfy bed make this even tougher. Even a simple change in environment can improve focus with less stimulation coming from external sources. Working in a co-working space allows you to replace that fridge full of food for a liked minded work buddy that can inspire and motivate rather than disturb and distract. That work buddy may also be able to redirect potential overflow to you and vice versa. With an office full of like-minded freelancers there is the potential to network and tap into jobs which may have been missed if working on your own from home.

When working from home, it is usually not an option to invite that potential client for a coffee around the kitchen table. Of course, you can both meet at a café but an established office can offer a higher presence of professionalism. Gaining clients is all about making the right impression. If a business address can help you get that special gig maybe a co-working space is an ideal solution.

A physical desk within a co-working space does come with its drawbacks such as a lack of privacy and the cost to cover the space. These are typically flat rates that include features and amenities such as internet, electricity and a shared kitchen with unlimited tea and coffee. Granted, the expenditure of an office lease dwarfs this in comparison. The minimisation of privacy can be an issue however many co-working spaces are catering to individuals and small businesses who value privacy and space by creating dedicated offices within the co-working space itself.

Is Co-Working Right For You?

The question of whether to work from home or not are dependent on various factors, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all. The true benefit of working from home and within a co-working space is that they are flexible. I would recommend contacting your local co-working space. Take a tour and drop in for the day to try it out. Firstly, see if it improves your productivity. Explore the benefits of working from both environments by using a flexible ‘drop-in’ or ‘hot-desk’ pass. Which allows you to work part-time by dropping in throughout the month.

Explore the different benefits of each and compare that to the cost of the desk. These decisions will not make or break your business. But they do have the potential to make your life easier and your business more successful.

Image from WeWork

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