Running a small business is a lot of fun, but it can also be challenging making decisions about aspects that most employees don’t even have to think about. Where to operate your business is obviously an important factor to consider, just one look at any high end design firm website and you’ll see how much these firms focus on making the working space comfortable and conducive to effective work. Solutions come in all shapes and sizes though, and if the possibility of co-working has never crossed your mind, you’re going to want to listen very carefully. Co-working involves fusing a working environment such as an office with some other activity. The self employed may opt to share spaces with artistic collectives, musical groups or social enterprises. If you’ve been working from home and are considering seeking out a co-working arrangement, here is a comparison of the two.
Working from home
One of the major plus points of working from home is the flexibility and convenience it offers. You get to work anytime you wish and spend more time with your family. Your running costs are also lower due to the fact that you need not pay the costs of rent, transportation and other work-related expenditure such as eating out during lunch. You are also able to avoid commuting and traffic, which is a major bugbear of most people who work outside of the home.
On the other hand, working from home is not for everyone. The faint line separating home from work is often cited as a drawback by people operating businesses from home, and if you find yourself climbing into bed with your laptop when it’s time to go to sleep you might have a problem. As much as you love your family, having them around can be a source of distraction and can reduce your productivity levels, making you spend even longer hours at work. In addition, after you’ve been working from home for some time, you start thinking of sweat pants as appropriate everyday attire and shaving and haircuts become mere afterthoughts. Should you have to actually meet a client face to face, they might be in for a bit of a surprise.
Benefits of co-working
Co-working offers more flexibility than a full-blown office does, and can be a good way to avoid the isolation of working from home all the time. Entering into co-working arrangements tends to be a lot cheaper than renting an office, and if you’re sharing space with people you can bounce ideas off or learn from, your creativity levels can go through the roof. Having a space that’s separate from your home can also help to better maintain the distinction between home and work.
Having your own space also means you are immersed in a more professional environment while at work, and this can be beneficial when you have to meet clients. For instance, having meeting rooms can make client interaction much smoother than if they were to be attacked by your dog at the front door.
Co-working suits certain industry and business types better than working from home does, and of course your individual situation and family circumstances also play a part in determining how important it is for you to take your work outside of the home. There are success stories involving both models. The important thing is regardless of where your office is that you implement strong organisational strategies to help you make the most out of whichever arrangement you choose.
Publicity expert Katina Beveridge is a freelance writer whom works with a variety of clients including Unispace, who are specialists in office design.