For many, it’s a glorious thought to not have an office to work in. It often means less traffic, planning, and distractions! You have freedom, can work in what you want, when you want and even where you want (although the bathtub is not recommended).
But, there’s a danger in making your home – the place in which you relax with your loved ones – the place where you work. Many don’t create dedicated office spaces or cannot afford to. A home is where you shamelessly fall asleep on the couch in the middle of your latest series craze, the place where you switch off your brain and regroup. Is it really a good idea to make it your office space too?
And, the question begs many freelancers, are you experiencing your best productivity and moments of flow in a coffee shop? How about day after day?
As enticing as uncapped wifi or working in pyjamas sound, here are 5 reasons why a constructive and effective working space in collaborative environments rocks!
The daily routine of life, pets, kids, household chores and any must-do in your mind has the potential to reduce your productivity. One activity quickly becomes a rabbit hole of things to do and you eventually wander around aimlessly looking for your productivity moments. Many times, it results in leaving the house to find a quiet enough and interruption-free space to work (the discovery of the coffee shop office?).
Working at home may sound ideal, but if it is not conducive to productivity with the ability to settle into dedicated office spaces, then it becomes questionable.
Coffee shops are not much better, with constant distractions and not much infrastructure support when it comes to running a consistent business operation. It can be great for moments of flow, but only for so long at a time.
Co-working spaces can provide a more focused environment with a great balance of dedicated working space, social interaction and (in the case of Work & Co) a beautiful interior! You will often find energy, focus and productivity in an environment that is not as strict as the office block, but provides enough space for constructive work.
There are of course advantages to working from home and from coffee shops. It is (mostly) rent free, with a relaxed environment and you can wear whatever is socially acceptable in that environment. But one of the biggest challenges that you need to try and manage is mental boundaries. With these types of setups, the boundaries become extremely blurry.
A coffee shop used to be a space where friends catch up, have a great meal together, or a place where you could zone out. In modern context that has shifted and has become synonymous with people and their laptops, grafting away. More and more questions are being asked with regards to the health of this setup when maintained for extended periods of time.
Similarly, when you go home, the work is not supposed to go with. This is not the case when working from home. Although taking work home has gone on for generations, the lines have more blurry.
By mixing the two spaces, your productivity may skyrocket at times, but it also often happens that you never rest and properly shut down. Your house is not your home anymore, but your office as well. Next moment you realise your work never ends, and you also cannot fully escape it because it’s right there to check.
A collaborative workspace offers the environment off a focused office, but just enough of that casual ‘home’ feeling as well. It provides some of the pros, like that remote feeling of working from home or from a coffee shop, but at the same time not getting the two mixed up.
Sharing a workspace with someone, particularly if that someone is a partner or employee creates a sense of community. People are social beings, so locking yourself away in your home for days on end may do your work good, but has the potential of turning even the most introverted of us into cabin fevered junkies.
A shared space like a coworking space cultivates productive energy and collaboration whilst protecting your mental health. Many people feel inspired to work when they have people around them, even when they’re at a distance.
It creates a sense of cohesion. Everyone is working towards something meaningful, not doing the same thing, but working together. Coworking spaces are great for building networks that contribute to your future ventures while at the same time giving you ‘space’ to get in the zone.
Working in a space where there are no real guidelines to define working hours and effort requires a lot of self-discipline and drive. Staying motivated towards the goals you set out to do is many times entirely dependent on you.
So, as self-discipline tends to go, many people end frustrated and experience self-condemnation for not meeting their goals. This, in contrast to what was taught for years in the working environment, often doesn’t lead to work then eventually getting done. Rather, people sink deep into feelings of remorse over time badly spent and become demotivated. A simple task becomes a mountain and eventually, this unhealthy process becomes a cycle of catching up.
A coworking space will stimulate a general atmosphere of work. When you work there, it is easier to tap into productivity, instead of scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed for an hour. Having people around you who are working, will either get you working through motivation or personal guilt tripping. It remains an inspirational, supportive and productive space without the strict requirements of an office job, but helps those a bit low on self-discipline.
From a business point of view, having a dedicated space where you can host meetings with clients or prospective investors, is invaluable.
Not having to spend hours clearing out the kid’s toys from the dining room, or having to worry about people listening to sensitive information builds great first impressions.
You will also start taking yourself more seriously and see progress in your career. The signalling theory, or the market signalling theory, states that you can convey unintentional information through the movements of a company in the market. There is a similar application in this scenario. Making use of a coworking space signals to investors and prospective clients that yes, perhaps this business is small and upcoming, but they are serious about what they do.
Being part of a coworking space can show others you know what you are doing and are current and relevant in today’s time.
Coffee shops and working from home exists for a reason, they have produced good results and work for some people. But if there is an option to engage in a coworking space, it has the potential of meeting all the drawbacks of the other two methods. It’s a step towards the future of work and it may bring about results that may surpass even your wildest expectations!
If you’re not sure where to start, check out our hot desk coworking space to get a feel of what collaborative working space is all about!
© Work & Co. 2020.