Working from home used to be a code for dodging the office. If you had a job, you ‘went to work’ and that’s all there was to it. Times have changed. Work has changed. Now, you’re just as likely to encounter someone ‘at work’ in your local café, on a park bench or on the tube. Technology has made it easier to work wherever suits us, so we spend as much time in virtual offices as we do in traditional ones. It started with a massive surge in the numbers of people working from home, and not just freelancers (see our previous post on Coworking Misconceptions). From the spare room, corner or cupboard in our own homes to vast coworking spaces across London and hot desks around the country, we’re reclaiming the freedom to work how and where we want.
All good, right? Well, if you ever work from home, whether it’s because you’re a freelancer, a start-up business or you’re employed but aren’t tied to a company office, you will know that it isn’t all plain sailing. It’s not all staying in your PJs all day, browsing the internet and chatting with the cat. It’s genuinely tough. Sure, you have a certain freedom, but that freedom can come at a cost. Trying to work in the place where you also have your downtime can end up making you feel that work and downtime blend into one another; so not only do you feel like you’re always at work, but your productivity can suffer. Longer hours, getting less done. It’s not exactly how you pictured being free of the workplace is it?
Working from home blurs the line between home life and work life, and that’s a pretty important line. But what’s the alternative? Going it alone and hiring independent premises just doesn’t make sense for most people; it’s expensive and unnecessary and it doesn’t really solve many of the problems of home working.
Instead, you’ve got to find a perfect shared workspace for rent that is affordable and flexible, somewhere that makes it easy for you to do whatever it is that you do. Shared workspaces are the solution. So, how do you know when it’s time to take the coworking plunge?
1. You’ve Lost your Mojo
When you first start working from home, it’s easy to stay focused. You’ve got great intentions and stick to good habits that help you get more work done. Then time passes. Motivating yourself gets harder and there are distractions everywhere; there are always things to do around the house, a nap sounds good, a friend pops round, the fridge gets more tempting. The downward spiral begins!
It’s not your fault. Even the most focused worker needs motivation at times. Working from home means that you have to be your own cheerleader, and that’s hard to keep up. Especially when you’re sitting in your own home, with all the comforts that you associate with relaxing. A coworking space gives you a clear line between home and work and this makes a huge difference to your motivation. Shared workspaces for rent are designed to boost motivation. Social interaction gives you a constant supply of new ideas, inspiration and networking opportunities that can lead to exciting new collaborations. Being part of a creative workplace sparks your own creativity, and motivation follows. A win-win all round!
2. You’re Feeling Isolated
Working from home can be a lonely business, even in a city like London. One of the reasons why you may lose motivation when you’re alone in your own space is the feeling of isolation. Lots of home workers report feeling ‘out of the loop’. We are social animals after all. Even if your work doesn’t involve collaboration and you’re used to a virtual office, not seeing other humans, whether just for a nodded hello or for a chat over coffee, can really impact how you feel. It can also make you less productive. Feeling isolated damages your motivation and makes you far more likely to be tempted by the lure of social media for interaction.
In a company office, everyone is there because they have to be, but when you’re leasing office space in a coworking hub, everyone is there because they want to be. This makes a huge difference in how people interact. In a coworking space, a community of like-minded people grows naturally. You can have as much or as little interaction with other people as you choose. Coworking is all about tailoring your experience to your needs.
3. Business has Dropped Off
For a lot of home-workers and start-ups, there comes a point where sales dip, leads aren’t coming in, or they find themselves struggling to pick up new clients. This can happen for lots of reasons, but if you’re working out of your own home or a company office, networking opportunities can be harder to come by. This can mean that you miss out on valuable inside info on the latest trends and, nobody wants to feel like they’re missing out. In a fast-paced industry (and what industry isn’t?), it’s essential that you’re on top of the game.
Coworking spaces are essentially networking hubs. Each community is made up of people from all kinds of professional backgrounds with lots of different skills. You get the benefit of insight from people you would never encounter if you were working in a company office, and certainly not at home. This leads to unexpected new opportunities that can transform the way you work and breathe new life into a flagging business.
4. Costs are Mounting
One of the most attractive perks of working from home has got to be the cost. You save money on the commute, you don’t have to buy lunch and ‘office wear’ can be whatever you want. It looks like an ideal way to save money until you start to count the real cost of working from home. From stationery to a better internet connection, hiring a meeting room or springing for lunch for clients, assorted office equipment (temperamental printer, anyone?) and that flat white in the local café each morning. When you add it all up, working from home isn’t always the freebie that it might have seemed at first.
Shared workspaces for rent are designed to be affordable for people at every stage in their career, from the budding entrepreneur to large thriving companies. You can still cut down on the commute and wear whatever you like, plus all your other needs are covered; from printing facilities to fast, reliable internet – coffee included. A serviced office in a coworking space can give you more control over your finances than you might think!
5. You’re Running out of Ideas
Businesses change. What clients want changes. How you deliver it changes. There are times in every career when doing what you did before isn’t working any more. That’s no reflection on your ability, but it can be a sign that you need to branch out, try new things and think creatively. If you’re running out of ideas, getting frustrated or feel stuck in a rut, then it’s time to work differently. Opportunities are all around you if you’re open to them.
A coworking space is a creative community of people working their way. Each person you encounter has their own unique way of doing their thing. Everyone has something they can teach you, even if what they do is completely unrelated to your own line of work. Being part of a coworking community feeds your creativity, boosts your productivity and gets you moving in new circles that revitalise your working life.
If you can relate to the struggles of working from home or your current coworking space isn’t ticking all your boxes, then it’s time to think about moving on. We all spend too much time working to settle for second best; aim for the best – Areaworks! And when you do find your coworking dream spot, here are some tips before you start coworking.
If you’re still looking for the right fit for you, let us show you around in one of our shared workspaces so you can sample the coffee and get a feel of the place. Let us know when you’re free to pop in, or simply book a tour to any of our coworking spaces.