What do Amazon, Disney, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packards, Spanx, and Under Armor all have in common? If you guessed that they’re all billion-dollar companies, you wouldn’t be wrong. But, the answer I was looking for was that they all began as a home business. Are you more productive working at home?
Thanks to technology, however, launching your own business from the comfort of your home has never been easier. As long as you’ve got an internet connection, there’s no need to spend money on a luxurious office space. I know that might make you feel legit and give your ego a nudge. But, when you’re on a tight budget, this shouldn’t be a priority. Besides, you can set up your own sweet home office that’s just as good as any other space that you would rent.
At the same time, not everyone is cut out to work from home. Does that mean you have to invest in an office? Not necessarily. There other alternatives like cafes. But, a better solution may be a coworking space. It gives you that office vibe without having to fork over a ton of money. And, it may even boost your productivity enough where you’ll have the funds to get your own workspace sooner than imagined.
While working from home or coworking space are both viable options, which one is the better choice when it comes to your productivity? Well, let’s explore the pros and cons of each to help you answer that question.
The Pros and Cons of Working From Home
Perhaps the most significant advantage of working from home is that there is zero commuting. That means not waking-up before the sunrises so that you can beat rush hour traffic. And, let’s not even talk about the stress and aggravation of getting stuck in traffic.
Instead, you can sleep in a little later. Or, if you really want to be productive, you can get a head start on your work. I’m a big fan of this option. The main reason being that if I start work around 7 A.M., I don’t have to worry about getting distracted from emails or phone calls because the workday hasn’t started for most people. Also, this is an excellent option for parents who can base their schedules around when their kids are in school.
Furthermore, you can wear whatever you like, create a custom work environment that inspires you, and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Best of all? You don’t have to deal with common workplace distractions like chatty co-workers, pointless meetings, and office politics.
Why you shouldn’t work from home.
But, there are also some drawbacks when working from home, such as not having a set schedule. That may not some like a dealbreaker. But, if you aren’t disciplined, you’ll end up sleeping in too late or taking a two-hour lunch to catch up with a friend. As a result, you’ll have to waste time working later into the day or even during the weekends. Even worse, you may fall behind your work and miss important deadlines.
There also distractions that are unique to working from home. Examples include household chores, deliveries, and being tempted to veg out on the couch and stream Stranger Things all day. There are also interruptions from friends and family. And, as any dog owner, you’ll let you know, when your furry friend wants to play or go outside, they do not care how focused you are on work.
Finally, it can get lonely working from home. We’re social creates, and not interacting with others throughout the day can be taxing on us.
So, while working from home is appealing, it’s not always the best working environment if you want to be effective and productive.
The Pros and Cons of Coworking Spaces
Perhaps the most appealing part of a coworking space is that they have a start-up vibe. You’re surrounded by highly motivated people who are passionate about what they’re doing. There are amenities like snacks, coffee, and foosball tables.
What’s more, coworking spaces allow you to socialize and interact with other talented people by working next to them or through networking events. In my experience, this is almost a once in a lifetime experience. For example, you could click with a coder or social media manager who you could hire to focus on tasks that grow your business. As a bonus, this also takes care of that isolation problem you had when working from home.
Also, coworking spaces are conducive to productivity. People go there to work. They also have a set schedule and are better suited to separate work from home since there are two different locations. Coworking spaces also have better technology and equipment then you might possess. And, if you ever had to schedule a meeting, you could meet them in the coworking space’s meeting or conference room.
Finally, as pointed out in an HBR piece, coworking spaces give meaning to your work. In a coworking space, you’re in a supportive environment where you don’t have to deal with the direct competition or internal politics. The social mission found in the Coworking Manifesto “clearly articulates the values that the coworking movement aspires to, including community, collaboration, learning, and sustainability.”
The problem with coworking spaces.
At the same time, there are some disadvantages you should be aware of, like lack of privacy. Since a lot of coworking spaces are open design, you could become easily distracted from all of the background noise. A pair of noise-canceling headphones could do the trick. But, people will then find other ways to communicate with you, such as email. No wonder the open-plan office are productivity killers.
Other disadvantages could be socializing too much with others and having to travel to and from the coworking space. If you live in a major city, this isn’t a biggie since that’s where most coworking spaces are located. But, if you live outside of a big city, expect to make that dreaded commute.
Are You More Productive Working at Home or in a Coworking Space?
That’s something that only you can answer. It ultimately depends on your personality and personal preferences. Other considerations would be the cost and the time spent commuting. But, if you’re still undecided, here are four questions to ask yourself:
- Do you work better in silence, or do you need some background noise?
- Are you easily distracted by others?
- Does your business require you to have your own premises?
- Are you a control freak? Remember, you have no say in how to design a coworking space.
Most importantly, carefully weigh the pros and cons of each. There’s no rush to make a decision right now. So, try out working at each to see which environment increases your productivity before going all-in on own your home office or committing to a coworking space contract.