I have now experienced both working from home and working from a co-working space. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. As my business changes from freelancing to bringing others on board to help, a home office is no longer suitable.
In an ideal world having both a home office and a desk in a coworking environment is the best option. There are days when it would be great just to stay at home and relax more than I would in an office. Very occasionally I miss having an office at home during the weekends. – I have ended up working weekends three or four times during the year, so it is not a huge drawback going to the office.
The Benefits of a Home Office
I always like the time saving when working from home. Breakfast, shower, then work – rather than having to spend time going to an office. I have sometimes found myself not leaving the house for two or three days, I am sure that is not great for my mental welfare.
Young Children and Home Office
My youngest is now nineteen months. For the first two months, it was great working from home – though I did a lot less work than normal. To be there to help was good for everyone.
Not Being Around Other People
I can find other people trying. It is often much easier to separate myself and get on with work. I have worked in places where co-workers would be highly negative, be very loud, interrupt with a bloody cat video that you really have to watch because it is such a laugh – there are times when people can drive me mad.
However, while working from home I found that a day or two could pass without having a conversation with anyone except my other half in the evening. Sometimes the isolation was so much that I would walk to the shop just to get out of the house. So my high points on personal interaction was a brief conversation with a shop assistant. Not great.
At times I need complete quiet around me for some tasks that require deep concentration or while creating videos. It is impossible in an open office to have good sound quality on videos while others are talking nearby.
Thankfully the coworking space I inhabit has a meeting room.
High Self Discipline
During the last ten years, I have worked from home about half of the time. This has created great self-discipline. No matter what is going on around me I can sit down and get on with the work at hand.
The Benefits of Co-Working
I work now from Locus in Prague. For my clients, it would make no difference what city I was in. I have met a few co-workers that use this flexibility to live in and see other cities in Europe.
Only once while working from home was my office not a spare bedroom. Even then that office turned into a bit of a store room. Due to remotely working with clients I use video and screen share.
I find it embarrassing to have a bed or storage boxes in the background while having calls. I know many do not like this – but image is hugely important in business, (and in life). First impression matter.
It does not matter if others are in the background having calls or talking while I am on a call – this is what I expect in any office.
Like most other around me, I find most of my business via my website. I have seen competitors use their home address on their website. It does not look professional; at least a virtual membership in a coworking space looks after this aspect.
Additionally, most coworking spaces are in the centre of cities. This makes it easier to meet with clients.
Google local is likely the most important part of SEO for many smaller local businesses. It is much better to turn up in these searches in the middle of a city with higher search volume than in some small village or town.
Everything is Organised
The internet connection is fast and I never have to touch it. The coffee machine works and I never have to clean it. The trash is emptied and I never have to think about it. You get the picture.
A large amount of trivial items that have to be organised in your own office are there and working. This lets me just get on with work, instead of making lists of things that need to be done that steal away my time.
Being Around Other People
I run a few websites and an SEO company. Ideas come more often when interacting with others. I get information from people about tools for writing, publishing, project management, the list is endless. I understand that I can look up this information online. Running websites has imbued me with a lack of trust in most information online – everyone has an agenda – as one of my philosophy lecturers who was also a priest told me, as I was arguing about his agenda.
We started a mastermind group that includes six members. We meet every two weeks, talk about problems, set goals, and are held accountable for these. This has improved my work tremendously forcing me to regularly review goals and stick with them.
Separation of Work and Home
I have been out of my home office and back in coworking for the last three months. This has been the biggest advantage - when I am at home I am not thinking about work and at work I am not thinking of home.
While working at home, sometime during breakfast my head would move into work and I was less present for my family. Lunch could be a challenge to talk about non-work related subjects. I would eat my lunch and head right back to my office.
Now I find myself talking more with my other half during lunch on the phone than I did while working at home – who would have guessed?
Better Concentration Skills
Over time, concentration skills become better if you work in environments that are not completely quiet. This can be difficult in the beginning and some perseverance is required. But you can end up being able to work anywhere, which is a great habit to develop.