Coworking vs Working From Home: What's the Difference?

August 5th, 2020

When considering the Coworking model, the question must be asked, “How is this different from just working at home?” Here, we will take a look at the pros and cons of coworking versus working from home to get a clearer picture of how each might suit different professionals in different situations.

coworking-pros-cons

Pros of Coworking

Networking Opportunities

In every business, the opportunity to network and make contact with potential future partners and clients is of critical importance. In a coworking facility, each member has the opportunity to cross paths with people from any variety of professional backgrounds. This proximity can lead to finding new colleagues or even future clients who will use your service. The coworking space provides a boundless opportunity for positive networking experiences and the unique opportunity for these future contacts to see you actually at work.

Amenities

Coworking spaces provide access to expensive office equipment, high-speed internet, some office supplies, boardrooms, and even communal kitchens. For the digital nomad, the resources may not be as readily available in whatever temporary setting they are landing in at the moment. Coworking spaces like WeWork, all members access to these necessities at any of their many locations around the world. Access to these features can also be very helpful for the startup CEO who’s just making ends meet as they launch their new business.

Fewer Personal Distractions

For the person who does not have a private office space in the home, the distractions of television, phone calls, visitors, and every task can be a major detractor to actually getting work done each day. A coworking space naturally has none of these personal distractions and is a space designed for focus and quiet concentration. Being in a quiet environment, surrounded by other professionals at work is an excellent motivator for getting things done.

Cons of Coworking

Cost

First and foremost, the additional cost of renting a coworking space may be the most limiting downside for new freelancers and startups. Starting a business can be very costly and any additional expense must be carefully considered to ensure that budgets aren’t breached in the formative stages of business establishment. Depending on where the new business is in their process and whether or not they have investors or partners to consider, the cost of renting or buying a membership to a coworking space may simply just be prohibitively expensive for the business owner.

Hours Not all coworking spaces are open 24/7 and a definite disadvantage (in comparison to working at home) for the entrepreneur who has daytime obligations, would be a lack of access to a coworking facility during the late-night hours. Being able to choose when and for how long to work in the home environment is not always possible at these facilities.

Traffic Flow

The patron of the coworking facility will have no control over how busy the shared space is at any given time. This means that unless the individual has paid for a private office, they may not have the silence and privacy they need to work most efficiently in the coworking facility.

Pros of Work From Home

Comfort and Safety

There’s nothing quite like to comfort of sitting in your own chair, and for some freelance and remote workers, being able to do your work from that cozy spot is enough to make the decision to do so. But comfort isn’t the only advantage of staying at home to work. 

Home is a controlled and familiar environment in which everything is known to the worker. Not having to travel for work can be an advantage in places that experience frequent inclement weather, in big cities with high rates of crime, or simply because the worker is more comfortable getting things done in the privacy of their own space.

Freedom

The obligation to go to a coworking space that you are financially committed to may not appeal to someone as much as perhaps occasionally visiting a coffee shop for a change of scenery and saving the money on an additional rented workspace. The freedom to come and go at will, wear whatever you want, have a pet to keep you company or invite a friend to join you for the afternoon are worthwhile perks that keep many freelancers at home.

Control

At home, the worker has complete control over every aspect of their environment. They are free to turn off the phone if they are in the middle of a big project. They do not have to answer the door if someone comes knocking. They can turn the thermostat to any temperature they like and raid the refrigerator whenever they feel like a snack. There is no aspect of the environment that the person who chooses to work from home cannot change to their exact liking.

For many, this is the most important deciding factor when choosing work from home over a coworking environment, particularly when you consider that both will typically cost a monthly fee.

Cons of Work From Home

Distraction

Sometimes being able to turn on the television or pet your dog or check your social media accounts can actually be a detriment. One of the biggest downsides to working from home is that everything you have brought into your home to make your living space comfortable for you can also end up being the things that keep you from putting the amount of focus on your work that is needed at a given time.

Motivation

Prolonged distraction can also lead some individuals to find themselves lacking in overall motivation to get things done. When you have the ability to do your work on your laptop from the comfort of your own bed, it can become harder and harder to get out plug in the laptop, get out of bed, or complete the assignment on time. 

Working from home can become a very slippery slope when the luxuries one has worked hard to acquire begin to overwhelm one’s desire to do more work. While a lot of distraction and motivation concerns may have to do with overall maturity, it is also true that anyone can fall into the trap when they are not bound to a routine that calls for them to get up and go to a work environment or even a coworking space.

Socialization

Working from home can lead to one of the most difficult struggles to overcome for someone who doesn’t have to interact with people from day-to-day in an office. It can become quite difficult to relate to other people or to socialize appropriately when one has not interacted with others in person for a prolonged period of time. 

This is not to suggest that every person who decides to work from home will no longer choose to socialize with anyone. But it is worthwhile to think about how much of your socializing takes place at work before you decide to forgo those interactions altogether. Make sure that you will have time and the inclination to find other ways to replace social interactions lost by not going to the office each day.

There is a lot to consider when choosing between a coworking space and home, but at the end of the day, there are advantages and pitfalls to each that will make the decision different for every individual’s personal situation.