Are you working from home?
When I started freelancing, I loved working from home. No commuting, no traffic, no issues with parking, no need to think about my outfit or put on my makeup. I could have my meetings in coffee shops and get my weekly dose of human interaction at different networking events. It seemed as though there weren’t any real benefits to getting an office.
I think of myself as a highly-motivated and proactive person. I love doing my thing, and working eight, 12 or even 16 hours a day never used to be a problem for me – until one day. As I became busier, it was also a struggle to achieve a good work-life balance. Working from home meant that I didn’t know when my work ended and when my life started. I started having issues falling asleep, I started procrastinating a lot and my productivity went downhill.
Then I discovered co-working! Now, I’d never go back to working from home again.
Since starting my business two years ago, I’ve tried different options of hot desking, working from home and co-working. And co-working instantly won my heart. I’m not saying that co-working is the right option for everyone, but it works like magic for me.
What is co-working and how it can benefit your business (and personal wellbeing)?
So what is co-working?
Wikipedia defines co-working as “a style of work that involves a shared workplace, often an office, and independent activity. Unlike in a typical office, those coworking are usually not employed by the same organization. Typically, it is attractive to work-at-home professionals, independent contractors, independent scientists or people who travel frequently who end up working in relative isolation”.
Most freelancers, entrepreneurs and micro business owners (from my experience) use a combination of a home office and working from cafes. It might work for some people, but over time it might have some unpleasant side effects.
Working from home is lonely and even though it saves us a ton of commuting time and money, it’s not the most efficient way to run a small business. To get some kind of structure and opportunity to leave the house, many people work from cafes, pubs and other public places. You might think that this solves the problem of being lonely, but you still don’t have any colleagues around. Plus, it can be pretty expensive, as well as unhealthy for your body (light, posture, draft, too much coffee /cake).
Then there’s co-working – a flexible way to get out of the house and work in a professional environment with other freelancers and entrepreneurs. People working from these places are often looking for someone to talk to. Plus working from the same space, talking and spending more time together often leads to new opportunities, making new connections or collaborating on exciting new projects.
When choosing the right place to work from, be careful to differentiate between co-working and hot desking/office sharing. True co-working focuses a lot on community events, the engagement between members and nurturing opportunities for collaboration. You’ll often see the label ‘co-working’ being used for other types of office spaces where all you can get is a desk, wifi and coffee. The most important part of genuine human interactions and opportunities for building new relationships are often missing.
If you want to learn more about the differences between co-working and hot desking, check out this blog post: Co-working vs hot-desking
How about you? Have you tried co-working before? I’d love to hear about your experiences!
Looking to trial some co-working options in Cambridge? Have a look at my article about the Top 5 best co-working spaces in Cambridge.
Featured image by Jeremy Peters