The rise of remote work has revolutionized the way we approach our professional lives, opening up new possibilities for where and how we can work. With the flexibility to choose from a range of workspaces, remote workers can now select the environment that best suits their needs and preferences. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between coworking spaces and working from home, weighing the pros and cons of each to help you determine which option is the right fit for you. But first, let’s begin with a brief anecdote that illustrates the unique benefits of each working environment.
The Comparison, in Action
Meet Jamie, a remote worker who has experimented with different workspaces over the years. Initially, Jamie joined a coworking space to escape the isolation of working from home. She loved the vibrant atmosphere and the opportunities to connect with other professionals from various fields. The coworking space provided a structured environment that helped Jamie stay focused and productive. However, as her work demands grew, Jamie realized that the noise and distractions in the coworking space were becoming a bit of a hindrance.
Deciding to give working from home another try, Jamie set up a dedicated home office space, making it cozy and personalized to her needs. With a well-thought-out routine in place, Jamie found it easier to maintain a healthy work-life balance. She also appreciated the cost savings and the flexibility to work at their own pace without distractions. However, Jamie missed the networking opportunities and the sense of camaraderie that the coworking space provided.
In the end, Jamie decided to adopt a hybrid approach, dividing their time between the coworking space and their home office. This allowed them to benefit from the best of both worlds – the networking and social aspects of coworking spaces, and the comfort and focus of working from home.
As we dive into the specifics of coworking spaces and working from home, keep Jamie’s journey in mind. It serves as a reminder that the ideal workspace depends on individual needs and preferences. By understanding the benefits and drawbacks of each option, you can make an informed decision about the work environment that best supports your success as a remote worker.
Benefits of Coworking Spaces
Coworking spaces have become a staple among remote workers, freelancers, and entrepreneurs, offering a unique blend of resources, networking opportunities, and a sense of community. Here are some of the benefits that are often enjoyed in a coworking space:
- Networking Opportunities: Just like Jamie, many remote workers find value in the networking opportunities that coworking spaces provide. Surrounded by professionals from various industries, you can build connections, exchange ideas, and even find potential collaborators or clients. Networking can lead to new business opportunities and help you stay up-to-date on trends in your industry.
- Access to Resources and Amenities: Coworking spaces typically come equipped with a range of amenities designed to make your workday more comfortable and efficient. These may include high-speed internet, meeting rooms, printing facilities, and a well-stocked kitchen or café. Some coworking spaces even offer additional perks like gym access, wellness programs, or discounts at nearby businesses.
- Flexibility: Coworking spaces offer a range of membership plans and schedules, making it easy to find one that fits your needs and budget. Whether you require a dedicated desk, a private office, or just a flexible hot-desking arrangement, you can choose the option that suits you best. Many coworking spaces also provide 24/7 access, allowing you to work at your preferred hours.
Benefits of Working From Home
Working from home offers a different set of advantages, giving remote workers the opportunity to create a workspace that is tailored to their needs and preferences. You’re significantly more isolated, but hey, that’s what some people prefer.
- Cost Savings: One of the most significant advantages of working from home is the potential cost savings. You can save on commuting expenses, coworking space memberships, and the costs associated with eating out or buying coffee. Additionally, working from home may qualify you for tax deductions, depending on your location and circumstances.
- Time Savings: Without the need for a daily commute, you can save time that would otherwise be spent on traveling to and from work. This extra time can be used to pursue personal interests, spend time with family and friends, or even invest in professional development.
- Comfort and Personalization: When working from home, you have complete control over your workspace. You can design your home office to suit your preferences, from comfy furniture to inspiring decor. Creating a comfortable and personalized work environment can help boost your productivity and overall job satisfaction.
Drawbacks of Coworking Spaces
While coworking spaces have their advantages, they also come with some drawbacks that may make them less suitable for certain remote workers. Here are some potential challenges you may face in a coworking space:
- Distractions and Noise: One of the main challenges of coworking spaces, as experienced by Jamie in our anecdote, is the potential for distractions and noise. With many professionals working in close proximity, it can be difficult to maintain focus and avoid interruptions. For those who require a quiet environment to work effectively, a coworking space may not be the best choice.
- Cost: Depending on the membership plan and location, coworking spaces can be expensive, especially when compared to working from home. The monthly fees may not be justifiable for remote workers with a tight budget or those who only need a workspace occasionally.
- Lack of Privacy: In a coworking space, you may not have the same level of privacy as you would in a home office. This can be an issue for remote workers who deal with sensitive information, require confidentiality, or simply prefer a more private workspace.
Drawbacks of Working From Home
Working from home also has its share of challenges that may make it a less-than-ideal option for some remote workers. Here are some potential drawbacks of working from home:
- Isolation: One of the main challenges of working from home, as initially experienced by Jamie, is the potential for social isolation. Being separated from colleagues and other professionals can make it difficult to maintain a sense of camaraderie, which may impact your motivation and overall job satisfaction.
- Difficulty Maintaining Work-Life Balance: When working from home, it can be challenging to separate your personal and professional life. The blurred boundaries between work and home can lead to overworking or difficulty “switching off” at the end of the day.
- Limited Networking Opportunities: Unlike coworking spaces, working from home does not offer the same opportunities for networking and collaboration. Remote workers who choose to work from home may need to be more proactive in seeking out networking opportunities, such as attending industry events or joining online communities.
Tips for Making the Most of Coworking Spaces
If you decide that a coworking space is the right choice for you, here are some tips to help you make the most of your experience:
- Be Open to Networking: Embrace the opportunities to connect with other professionals in your coworking space. Attend events, engage in conversations, and be open to exchanging ideas and insights with others.
- Choose the Right Space: Not all coworking spaces are created equal. Take the time to explore different coworking spaces in your area, considering factors such as location, amenities, and the community vibe. Ensure that the space you choose aligns with your needs and preferences.
- Establish a Routine: To maximize productivity and maintain a healthy work-life balance, establish a routine for your time in the coworking space. Set clear work hours, take regular breaks, and create boundaries between your work and personal life. When my team and I were exclusively in coworking spaces, we made sure to talk at least one walk break to get some sun and get away from the computer screen.
Tips for Making the Most of Working from Home
If you choose to work from home, here are some tips to help you create a productive and enjoyable workspace:
- Design a Dedicated Workspace: Create a designated area in your home for work, whether it’s a separate room or a corner of your living space. Ensure that your workspace is comfortable, organized, and free from distractions.
- Set Boundaries: Create a routine that enriches your work life, and separates it from your personal life. This might include working from certain parts of your home, among other things. This also includes set work hours, and avoid working outside those hours or letting household chores interfere with your work. I created a WFH planner template that can help, make sure to check that out.
- Stay Connected: Working from home can be isolating, so it’s important to stay connected with colleagues, friends, and industry professionals, even if it’s always virtual. Schedule regular check-ins with your team, attend virtual networking events, and consider joining online communities related to your field.
Ultimately, the decision between coworking spaces and working from home comes down to your individual needs and preferences. Both options have their unique benefits and drawbacks, as highlighted by Jamie’s experience. The key is to find the workspace that best supports your productivity, well-being, and especially, professional growth.
Whether you thrive in the collaborative atmosphere of a coworking space or prefer the comfort and flexibility of working from home, be sure to make the most of your chosen workspace!
Jared has worked remotely for 15 years in various marketing capacities, and has managed hundreds of marketing campaigns along the way. He has held freelance, agency, and in-house positions for companies large and small.