If you are self-employed or if you work remotely, you might be familiar to the concept of coworking. If not, have no fear – we are going to delve into this interesting idea throughout this article!
Many people who are self-employed, or do an office job remotely, work in isolation from home. While this can have huge benefits – there’s no dress code, wake up times are really relaxed, the commute is hundreds of times less stressful and it’s possible to have tasty snacks on tap – working at home for elongated periods of time can have negative impacts.
Many people who work from home report experiencing feelings of loneliness, as they often will find that they can go all day without speaking to another human. If this is elongated, it can spiral into depression or social problems.
Some people also find that they struggle to stay motivated at home, or have problems with the health aspects of not leaving the house all day. So, this is where coworking was coined.
What is Coworking and is it a Good Idea?
Coworking is the idea of working with people, on separate projects and for different businesses, but together in a shared space. These people will be your ‘colleagues’ even though you won’t be working for the same things. You’ll share friendly office banter, attend social events together, and bounce ideas off of each other.
Generally, this will happen in coworking spaces. These office-style complexes will include work areas, tea and coffee stations, kitchens or cafes, and social spaces. They will often be modern and well furnished, making use of natural light and fresh surroundings.
There are some pros and cons to working like this. Let’s look at them.
Pros of Coworking
Coworking helps combat loneliness
As mentioned before, staying in the house for the whole day can easily lead to loneliness. In this respect, coworking is a really good idea. People are much less likely to suffer from lonely feelings while working with other people, and it replicates the familiar office atmosphere that people who work from home often crave.
It helps digital nomads make friends
Many people use coworking spaces when they are new to a country or city. These might be digital nomads, who move around from place to place, setting up home for a while and working in different locations. However, it can be difficult to make and maintain friends when living this kind of lifestyle.
Coworking spaces feature many people in the same boat. It’s easy to get chatting to people who might be able to show the area, or will at least be a friendly face to hang out with.
There are often social events
Another big part of office culture that is often missed is the out of work aspects. Coworking spaces replicate this, with some even hosting their own gigs and activities. It’s another great opportunity to socialise, and is perfect for someone who is introverted but does want to make some friends in similar situations to them.
The Wifi is good
Generally, the wifi is great in these spaces. It will be a lot stronger than cafes and hotels, and often even better than a private home connection. It’s also pretty secure, meaning that people who are worried about cyber attacks can enjoy a greater level of safety.
It’s often a motivational space
As mentioned before, coworking spaces are often bright and airy, with modern decor and trendy technology. This kind of space is welcoming and enjoyable for coworkers to enjoy.
It can provide some motivation and inspiration when people are struggling with work, and it is sometimes much more conducive to work in a separate space to the home. This can help with a work life balance, which can lead to great mental health benefits in the long run.
Cons of Coworking
It costs money
Of course, being part of something like this costs money! It is a business expense, but the person going to the coworking space often has to pay for this out of their own pocket. Sometimes the company will pay, but only if they have already struck a deal with the employee.
It involves travelling
One of the big perks of working from home is that people don’t need to travel. This has great benefits, including financial perks and environmental advantages.
However, of course, going to coworking spaces involves travel. If someone is travelling to work in a coworking space anyway, there might be the question of would they just be better in an office? Of course, they would likely be travelling to places closer to home, which would increase the benefits described above.
Employees can get distracted
Some people do work better when they are isolated. In coworking spaces, where people often work at shared desks, it is very possible for employees to get distracted for all sorts of reasons. Maybe someone is being too loud, or there are people walking in and out, or there’s music coming from the window. It is, of course, very possible to get distracted at home as well, what with chores and other people at home.
They might not be open all the time
Many coworking spaces aren’t open 24 hours, and some are only open office hours – typically 9-5 from Monday to Friday. If you work from home because you work well at unsociable hours, coworking might not be for you. Sometimes people do a partial day’s work in coworking spaces and then go home to continue working, but this could interrupt work somewhat.
Coworking spaces can be excellent institutions for some people. For those that are self-employed and do not have an office space to go to, it can be a great space to get some inspiration, make some friends, and have some workplace culture.
However, for people who are working for a company and have a physical office, it might not be worth coworking on work from home days. It will result in extra costs for the employees, as well as time spent travelling. Employees may prefer to spend that time getting what they can get done at home, and focus on in-office atmosphere when they are actually in the office space throughout the week.