When it comes to working, we all have certain environments that get the best out of us.
With offices more mobile than ever, finding a designated HQ isn’t always straightforward. Whether you’re a freelancer, solo-preneur, or part of a growing business, how do you choose what office arrangement suits you (and your company) best?
There are pros and cons to any work setup. The key is to cement your priorities – what you value and what’s going to help you develop, both personally and professionally. If you’re trying to grow a company, what are your measures of success? If you’re a freelancer, how can you make new contacts and optimise productivity?
Working from home is a tempting option for anyone starting out to keep overheads as lean as possible, but it has its drawbacks in the long term. Coworking, meanwhile, aims to merge the flexibility and comfort of home, with the practicality and social opportunities of a traditional office.
For individuals, the flexibility of the home office is a big drawcard initially. You can eat, go for a walk, or nap at your own leisure. If you have an uncooperative body clock, the early days of working from home feel like you’ve cracked some secret formula for work-life balance.
But, ask a freelancer who’s worked from home for more than six months – the novelty wears off. Bad habits develop. Not to mention, your home becomes associated with work and, by extension, stress.
Working from home severely impairs your ability to disconnect from work.
Former sanctuaries, such as your sofa and bed no longer relax you.
Many coworking memberships allow 24/7 office access, so you can breeze in and out at hours that suit you. With kitchen facilities as well as relaxation rooms, you’re still able to take time out and have comfort in the workplace.
If your space is part of a larger network, there are multiple locations at your disposal. Kind of like a flexible gym membership; even when you’re interstate or overseas, you have space available to you.
Let’s talk clients. You need somewhere to conduct meetings. Maybe even somewhere to show off the prestige of your business. Having a brick-and-mortar address where you can meet clients and have mail delivered is crucial for perception as much as anything else. Coworking is an affordable way to acquire this.
As your company grows, working from home isn’t just a bad look from a client perspective. Employees also want assurance that their employer has ambition and direction.
A makeshift office in a living room, garage or cafe doesn’t scream ‘long-term employment’.
Attracting and retaining the right talent is crucial to the longevity of any business. Make sure your work environment is somewhere conducive to development.
Motivation / Productivity
The first casualty of working from home, particularly as an individual, is that sense of community. There are few greater motivators than being surrounded by like-minded people getting things done. A productive coworking environment almost acts as a slipstream, helping you to consolidate success and accelerate the growth of your business.
We’re all our own worst taskmaster. Working from home without anyone to bounce ideas off, our motivation invariably drops. Don’t underestimate the value of small talk in an office either. Working from home often removes this basic human interaction.
In contrast, being surrounded by businesses and individuals with complementary skillsets can boost your own levels of inspiration and productivity.
The support of colleagues and office partners – either spoken or silent solidarity – is invaluable to our standard of work and mental well-being. Coworking not only fosters professional relationships but organic social opportunities as well.
The other thing about a designated workplace is that everyone understands its primary function – the default atmosphere is one of concentration and respectful noise levels. At home, other residents and neighbours won’t necessarily be mindful of causing distractions.
While working from home might be an attractive option at first, it’s not a practical long-term solution for growing businesses. Coworking is an affordable alternative as you scale your business because you only pay for as much as you use.
With a growing team of different personalities, it’s always difficult to keep everyone happy and focused. Coworking aims to fuse the best of all worlds: the flexibility and comfort of home, the structure of a traditional office, and the amenities and social opportunities of a cafe.