Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Office vs home vs coworking space

After reading the Times article "Working Alone, Together," it got me thinking about which

working options we have today (seem to be a few more than a decade ago), and what the pros and cons are for each, at least from my point of view...

In my case, I can work at my downtown office or from home (occasionally and with prior approval). On days when I work from home, I sometimes head to a coffee shop to avoid in-home distractions (my husband already works from home and has an admin assistant as well in his basement home office). The other interesting alternative is heading to a coworking space like Hub Ottawa. If membership could be shared between myself and my husband, it could be an option, and would especially benefit him if it gets him to connect with other entrepreneurs.

Now for the pros and cons of each option:

1. Working in an office:

  • defines "work time" and sets it apart from "personal time"
  • network with your team, manager, peers
  • use technologies that have dedicated IT support (hopefully good support!)
  • commute: wastes your time, gas/parking $, energy
  • competition, gossip, envy, ego, office politics (healthy competition is ok, I just hate the other stuff)
2. Working from home (is it still called teleworking/telecommuting?)

  • no commute - saves time, energy, money
  • don't need to get dressed up, can start work earlier
  • save on coffee (I spend a lot on coffee :)
  • reduces ability to collaborate
  • isolation: reduces networking opportunities/connection with co-workers, manager
  • more difficult to separate work time from personal time. High intensity workers/workaholics may feel guilty when not "on"
  • connecting to office network is usually slower (in my case)
  • if your network is down, you have to figure it out!
Note: working in a coffee shop on a day you're working from home reduces some of the cons listed above, but not the main ones, in my opinion, which are isolation/reduced collaboration opportunities.
    3. Coworking space

    • allows for serendipitous collaboration, network building and even partnerships
    • usually includes free coffee/snacks
    • network access with support
    • may have access to spaces in other cities, good for workers who travel
    • still have to commute (hopefully you choose a space that is not too far)
    • over time, same cons as office may develop: competition, gossip, envy, ego, politics etc.
    As with everything, the key is to have balance. In my husband's case, because currently his only option has been working from home for over a decade, it would probably be a good idea for him to try new things and work occasionally from a coworking space. For myself, I mostly work at the office, so for me, it would be a good idea to occasionally work from home (especially during blizzards & major snow falls) and see if I can piggy-back off my husband's membership and cowork occasionally too!

    If anyone else has tried coworking spaces, let me know if there are more pros/cons I hadn't thought of!

    ***Update: Search results for teleworking: 900K, telecommuting: 3.2M, coworking: 7.7M, co-working: 3.4M. Thought these were some interesting search results on Google, since I recall "telecommuting" and "teleworking" being all the rage a few years back! 

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