Battle of the Bases: Co-working vs. Working from Home

You’ve got the brilliant idea. You’ve got the basic capital. You’ve got the drive. It’s time to get your StartUp off the ground.

But where do you get your work done? Where is your new business going to call home?

In this article we weigh up the positives (and negatives) of Coworking vs Home Office working…

The accessibility of the Internet now means you can get things done on the fly and work from anywhere. Coffee shops, libraries, pubs – you name it.

That doesn’t mean that “anywhere” is best. You could finish your manifesto while sat in a puddle in a field, but good luck hitting productivity targets.

A thriving working space is critical for even the most right-brained thinker. Whether that’s a modern co-working space full of bustling creatives, or home-working from your very own study, there’s a model for you.

It also feels official. Having “real” working space also makes your business feel “real” – a focused workspace makes for a focused business mindset.

But where do you go when you’re just getting started?

Co-working

You’ve heard of co-working. It’s a 2005 concept that’s doubled in size each year since. It’s now a booming industry, a place for StartUps and entrepreneurs to work with the accountability of fellow professionals. 

So what do you get

  • a modern, sharp-looking office space that’s ready to go
  • an informal and buzzing work environment
  • fellow creatives and professionals to bounce ideas off
  • industry experts and local business leaders often host talks at these co-working hubs, meaning you’ve covered networking and staying on top of business trends without having to travel
  • snazzy conference rooms give you a great place to confidently meet clients
  • an “office” space means a professional address to stamp on your business cards and emails
  • work and home are separate

But...

  • you’ll have limited options in branding your space, since you’re sharing with everyone else

  • sharing space also means noise and distractions

  • you might have to compete with other StartUps

  • you need to fork out money for this – in the ballpark of £200.00 per month

Paying a fee is good motivation for actually using the working space. You want to get what you pay for. So how about the futuristic sounding “accelerator” programs making the rounds?

An “accelerator space” is a cross between a co-working space and StartUp Bootcamp. You exchange pre-seed funding for company equity, anywhere from the usual 6% to a mind-boggling 50%. Depending on your company’s worth, that could mean a fortune. You’ll also get tutored on how to fundraise with a generous amount of networking and mentorship.

The catch is their sustainability. You get a frenzied block of time with “push” mentoring and tonnes of structure.

If it proves to not be the right fit, you’re either out of pocket or out of time – or both. Once your three or four months are up, you’re out. And nobody likes being shown to the Accelerator door!

Home-working

Maybe structure and people looking over your shoulder is not for you. If you relish working distraction free and in your slippers, home-working might be the solution.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the trend exploded in 2014 with record amounts of people ditching the cubicle for their home study.

What are the upsides?

  • you’re not paying anything extra for your working space, so you’re saving cash
  • there’s also no travel expenses
  • being home alone means zero distractions – apps like Inbox PauseRescue Timeand Stay Focused can eliminate constant email notifications, track which websites you waste time on and block access to them
  • you can schedule work time around family commitments
  • silence, white noise or bangin’ tunes – your choice!

But…

  • you can uninstall Stay Focused just as easily as you plug it in, so you need serious discipline to stay productive
  • housework can be as much of a distraction as a co-worker trying to show you a YouTube video of a puppy falling over
  • home-working can be isolating, which also means zero accountability
  • not having to pop on a suit can lead to personal hygiene neglect and either eating rubbish or not eating at all

Which model is best for you?

No one solution is perfect. You could rent a co-working space where employees and peers are free to work from home as they desire, or even rent by the day, giving you the autonomy to face each day to the best of your abilities.

Or if you’re a home worker, you could rent your local co-working space’s conference room to meet clients, instead of having to do a meticulous house clean and worrying about whether they’re lactose intolerant.

The beauty of both models is their versatility. Your choice will depend on the kind of work you do, your business plan, and your peers. You can work in your own time and to the best of your ability without sacrificing freedom or creativity.

Best of all, you’re not in an office cubicle of monotony and despair.

Share this post