There is an alternative. It comes in the ‘coworking space’, tearing apart the fabric of the traditional office environment.
As the world begins a return to normal throes of everyday life, workers are considering the options before them: do they return to their offices as before, or are they to be work-from-homers forever?
Coworking spaces are a great in-between. They’re suitable for companies that don’t want to have large leases anymore, but they’re also ideal for those who have been isolated at home for the past few years.
What are coworking spaces?
Coworking spaces aren’t normal, traditional office spaces — instead, they are made up of workers from many companies, all performing their different jobs but occupying the same space. This has a variety of benefits, both interpersonal and professional. But what are the reasons why coworking spaces are better than working from home?
1. Interpersonal interaction
Typically, when working from a home office, you don’t get much interpersonal interaction beyond occasional interruptions from your young children, your spouse, or your significant other with lunch, coffee, or both.
This kind of isolation, beyond Zoom meetings with coworkers, can significantly negatively impact your mental health, productivity, and general happiness. Most humans tend to thrive in environments with other humans.
2. A professional setup is already in place
As much as you might try, transforming your home into a home office can be a real challenge. Depending on the demands of your job, you may need soundproofing, a faster computer, or other things already present in a coworking space. Of course, this professional setup already exists in any coworking space and doesn’t need to be retrofitted, costing you (or your company) money.
3. Separation between home and work life
There’s a delicate balance between maintaining a home life and a work life. If you work from home all the time, you can tip this balance to the point where you’re finding it challenging to switch off — if you find yourself checking work emails in the evening, you’re not switching off.
It can compromise your relationships in your personal life. Having an ideal coworking space saves you the trouble — when you leave work at 5 o’clock, that’s your day done. It keeps you from bringing work home with you.
4. Concentration guaranteed
Another nod to work-life balance is that co-working spaces, in general, help you to maintain focus and concentration on your job and the task at hand rather than being distracted by things at home.
Oh, the dishes need putting away, etc. Having a definitive workspace ensures that you do work while there. Concentration is far better maintained without distraction.
5. Networking opportunities
Similar to the socialisation angle, there are many networking opportunities in a coworking space. Whether you’re casual in a different job or looking to make a career switch, one of the most important aspects of a coworking space is that it allows you to explore other people’s careers and create new, potentially rewarding connections with those in other industries.
You can use those connections later if you stay in your current job. You don’t get that when working from home.
What are some of the challenges of coworking spaces?
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows at coworking spaces, however. There are a few challenges that may crop up. Here are those challenges and how you might overcome them.
- Noise levels: Sometimes, coworking spaces can become noisy. You can buy some noise-cancelling headphones or ask the space providers to install some noise-cancelling foam in your office space.
- Privacy: Sometimes, having privacy in a coworking space can be challenging. Not great if you need privacy for your job. In this instance, it might be best to buy a privacy screen for your computer screen or a screen that covers your desk area entirely.
- Spillages and damage: Spillages in the common areas of coworking spaces are common — accidents and sometimes people spill things. They might spill wine or other beverages on the carpets. The person responsible for the coworking space will need to use a carpet cleaner or other product to successfully remove wine from the carpet.
In general, co-working spaces can be the perfect antidote to the isolation and loneliness sometimes by those who work from home. Ask yourself if the coworking environment is right for you or if you’re unsure, try it and see if you like it.