Homeworking v. Coworking: which works best for you?

As freelancers or flexible workers, we value our freedom to be able to choose where we work. Some fully embrace the nomadic lifestyle and maintain a successful career while travelling, choosing to savour the sights and tastes of new cultures every few months.

This style of working isn’t suited to everyone, and many are happiest working somewhere they’re familiar with, such as from home. Yet, there are alternatives to home-working and one of them is basing yourself in a coworking space.

Here are some pros and cons of homeworking v coworking to help you decide which is best for you.

Budget

Costs are an important factor in running a business and a prime concern for freelancers or small business owners.

If you’re trying to keep costs down, working from home is the best option – as it’s virtually free. Plus, if working from home, you can claim tax relief  on a proportion of the costs for running the home such as council tax, heating, internet and electricity. On the other hand, costs of coworking spaces vary depending on location, frequency of use and the size of the space you hire e.g. a desk or a room. Even then, costs can range from £150 up to £1500 per month.

For budget-conscious people, working from home wins hands-down.

Productivity

The idyllic dream of working from home can easily be shattered when you realise that you’re surrounded by distractions- clothes spilling out of the laundry basket, the pile of dirty dishes from breakfast waiting to be washed or friends and family who think because you work from home, they can pop round for a coffee and chat.

On the flipside, if you want to get ahead by starting work at 6am you can, and no one is going to complain that you’re in your PJs. Plus, you can make better use of the time you would have otherwise spent commuting to the coworking space.

If you find it difficult to get in the work-zone at home, basing yourself in a space where you’re surrounded by other remote workers and entrepreneurs has been proven to increase productivity. One study shows that 74% of people feel they are more productive in a coworking environment.

Privacy

Ensuring your business is protected against cybercriminals is a big challenge for businesses of all sizes. Working from home means you can rest a little easier knowing you have systems in place to prevent criminals from getting hold of your client’s sensitive data. Can you be sure this is the same for the coworking space?

Coworking spaces can also be noisy and they may not necessarily have a quiet space you can use for client calls. So, if privacy is important to your business, a home-office may be better suited.

Mental wellbeing

Working from home can be liberating at the start. There’s no one telling you what appropriate office wear is, dictating when you can take lunch and there’s no office politics!

After a while though, looking at the same four walls and not having anyone to talk to can become demotivating and isolating. Both of which can have a negative effect on the quality of your work and the state of your mental wellbeing.

Of course, you can attend meetups, but these are infrequent, and they take you away from work.

Coworking spaces attract a variety of people from different backgrounds so there’s a good mix of people for you to talk to. They also tend to build in networking and professional development events into their calendars for their members to benefit from while not having to take valuable time away from their business.

Work-life balance

Having a good work-life balance is important for your physical and mental wellbeing. Focusing too much on work will eventually lead to burnout.

Even if you have a dedicated home office it can be hard to switch off - the temptation to quickly check emails or finish a task is always there.

Creating a base for your business in a coworking space helps to keep a healthy distance between work and your personal space. Letting you enjoy your homelife without work creeping into it.

The verdict

Finding a set up that works for you may be trial and error. Of course, you can always choose the middle ground of working from home some days and basing yourself from a coworking for the remainder.

Lots of coworking spaces offer trials so you can try a few out for free before deciding on which suits you.

Meet the author

Emma Saldanha
Emma is a marketing consultant and copywriter. She is passionate about helping businesses of all sizes to achieve results through targeted marketing campaigns and clear and concise content. Connect with Emma on Twitter - https://twitter.com/writtenbyems or LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/emmasaldanha/.