Working from home is everyone’s dream, right? Think about it—you’ve got no commute; you have the luxury of your own couch, refrigerator, and background noise; and, you have the option to spend the entire work day in your pajamas. This is all good and fun for a few weeks, but after some time, you may realize your work ethic starts to dwindle and you wonder if maybe freelancing from home isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Enter: coworking spaces, a concept wherein you are able to rent a workspace for a period of time, surrounded by many others, each working on your own individual projects. While those inhabiting the coworking space are probably not employed by the same company, you’re able to work alongside one another to create an ideal work environment.
Austin has caught on to this up and coming trend, providing coworking spaces like WeWork, atx Factory, Vuka, and The Refinery (opening this coming fall). If you’re just getting started with freelancing, and you’re unsure of the best place to get your work done, perhaps one of these coworking spaces is right for you!
Before you start testing stand-up desks and nap pods, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of working from home versus working in a coworking space.
Working from home allows you to cut down on costs in more ways than one. There are no travel expenses, no uniform or work clothes to purchase, you can eat lunch out of your own fridge, and there’s no temptation to stop for a $4 coffee en route to the office. Plus, you may be eligible for a home office deduction when doing your taxes.
Create a work environment tailored to you
Freelancing from home gives you a whole lot of freedom. You’re in charge of when you clock in, when you clock out, and where you choose to work—be it in your home office, at the dining room table, or on the sofa. If you need to cut work to pick up your child from school, go to the dentist, or maybe just need a mental health day, you can do so without having to request any time off.
Difficult to separate work life from home life
With your home office right across the hall from your bedroom, it’s no surprise that separating work and home duties could potentially become problematic. Say you work from home, but you’ve also got a two-year-old and a nanny hanging out in the living room. It may become difficult to focus on the tasks at hand and set boundaries for your work time. On the flip side, it can even be tempting to spend all night in the office, rather than taking time to relax and unwind at the end of the day.
Difficult to get motivated
When you work from home, you’re the boss. This means you’ve got no boss or manager holding you accountable in person, making sure you arrive on time, or checking in on the status of your productivity. At home, you may face more distractions (ahem, Netflix) than in an office setting, meaning you’ve got to have that much more self-discipline.
Networking and human interaction
Working from home can often become isolating and downright lonely. In a coworking space, you’re surrounded by others that are just like you, cultivating a sense of community. There are others to talk to, eat lunch with, and collaborate with. You’re able to make connections with like-minded individuals who can open up doors to new business and social opportunities.
Create a routine
As mentioned above, freelancing from home may pose problems if you’re feeling unmotivated. However, if you choose a coworking space, you’re forced to wake up, take a shower, brush your teeth, get dressed, and come to the office, creating a set routine to propel you toward a productive work day. Plus, most of these coworking spaces are very appealing to the eye, and may even have some free amenities available.
The price of renting a space varies depending on the style and location. You may be paying on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis in order to use the provided desk, amenities, and technology. If you’re a new freelancer working with a tight budget, this could end up being an added stressor.
Just as there are distractions at home, there are certainly distractions that come along with working around countless individuals. A chatty neighbor, business meetings happening in a common space, or even an attractive person giving you a look from across the way—distractions are all around in a busy workplace.
As a freelancer, you have the luxury of freedom! If you’re trying to figure out the best work environment for you, take some time to consider the advantages and downsides of both working from home and a coworking space.