The Pros and Cons of Coworking Spaces vs. Home Offices

Coworking spaces have gained a lot of attention in recent years, and as more continue to pop up across the globe, you may start to wonder – is it time to move out of your home office?  There are pros and cons to both coworking spaces and home offices, and we’ve outlined some of the major factors to consider when deciding which works best for you.

 

The Pros of Coworking Spaces:

Coworking spaces offer several distinct advantages over home offices, especially for freelancers and entrepreneurs.

·      Community:  Community can be a big reason for freelancers to join a coworking space.  Being around others, even if you’re casual acquaintances, can help increase your sense of belonging and improve your mood.  And who knows, you may even meet some lifelong friends in a coworking space.  They also open you up to more networking and business opportunities, which become much easier to find when you work amongst a group of other freelancers, entrepreneurs, and startups.

·      Affordability:  While not free, coworking spaces offer a cheaper alternative to traditional office space, making them less of a strain on your wallet.  Coworking spaces also have flexible, month-to-month contracts, another difference from traditional office spaces, so if you decide that coworking just isn’t for you, you aren’t locked into anything long-term.  Many coworking spaces also come with added services for members, like business addresses and conference room usage, at little to no additional cost.  Factor in amenities like these when considering the cost of a coworking space vs. your home office.

·      Separation:  If you’re a freelancer who has a hard time shutting down at the end of the day in your home office, a coworking space provides the physical separation between work and home that makes it easier to switch off.  It can help you leave work at work and have more balance in your home life.

·      Flexibility:  In addition to the month-to-month lease terms we mentioned earlier, many coworking spaces also offer day passes and other membership options that allow you to give things a low-commitment test run.  These options are great for dipping your toe in the water and see if coworking could be a good fit for you.  Plus, these passes allow you to test out a few different coworking space options to discover whether there is one in particular that suits you best.

 

The Cons of Coworking Spaces:

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again:  coworking just isn’t for everyone (and that’s totally okay!).  There are a few downsides that you should consider in comparison to your home office.

·      Distraction:  The activity of a coworking space can definitely be a change from the relative quiet you find in a home office.  Depending on how you like to work, a coworking space (and all the people that come with it) can lead to distraction.  Some people find they work better when surrounded by others who are also hard at work, but some may find that the background noise is still too much for their liking.  Every coworking space has its own atmosphere, so if you are interested in giving coworking a shot but are worried about your ability to concentrate, visit a few spaces and get a feel for their environments.

·      Expense:  Now as we said, coworking spaces can definitely be affordable for freelancers, but they are still an added expense.  If you are truly on a tight budget or just launching your freelance career, you may want to hold off on signing up. 

 

The Pros of Home Offices:

A home office can be a great way for freelancers to build their ideal work environment and save some money in the process, and come with their own perks.

·      Free:  While you may have the initial cost of furnishing your home office, there is no additional cost to work from home.  If money is tight or you’re just getting your freelance career off the ground, no office costs can be very beneficial.

·      Control:  You are in control of the elements in your home office, whether that’s the type of furnishings you choose or the amount of noise that surrounds you.  You are free to adjust things to your liking and don’t have limitations in place for how you set things up.

·      Focus:  For some people, working alone provides the best environment in which to focus.  They can buckle down and tackle a lot of work free from interruptions in a home office, and are able to remain on-task without getting distracted.

 

The Cons of Home Offices:

While home offices do have their advantages, they also come with some pretty big cons.

·      Isolation:  As we’ve discussed before, loneliness is still a big problem for freelancers, and working from home certainly doesn’t help this issue.  It’s difficult to make connections and engage with others when you work from your home office all day, and even if you’re on a remote team, nothing beats a little face-to-face interaction.  Finding those communities requires more effort on your part if you decide to work from home.

·      Less Balance:  Freelancers are definitely prone to a lack of work-life balance, and without a clear distinction between your “work” life and your “home” life, a home office can become a dangerous thing.  It may be tempting to crank out just another hour or two at your desk, and before you know it, you’ve put in a 15-hour workday.  It becomes more difficult to switch work off when you live and work in the same place, leading to chronic overwork and faster burnout.

 

 While coworking spaces and home offices both have their pros and cons, it’s important to carefully consider what is best for your business when comparing the two.  What factors mean the most to you?  Is a greater sense of community high on your list?  Or are you concerned with having more control over your work environment?  Keeping these things in mind will help you weigh your options with greater clarity and put your business on the right track.