Recently, we moved into a co-working space after almost three years working from home. We’re now spending our days in a gorgeous loft full of light above a café with great coffee. Why did we decide this? A few different reasons, one being a real need to be around people again. So, let’s take a look at what we’ve learnt about both ways of working…

Working from home is a boon for productivity. Despite many people thinking that kind of freedom could lead to outright laziness and procrastination, it’s just not the case. The quiet brings a calm and focus into your work that allows for total immersion. That immersion (no interruptions, distractions or noise) stimulates not just work but quality work. That said, it can also be downright isolating and frustrating at times – you can’t have a chat across the desk or ask a colleague a quick question.

Remote working means you avoid the annoying habits of your colleagues and it’s safe to say your coffee cup or leftover spaghetti won’t ever be stolen. You can play whatever music you like (even the bad 80s songs you don’t admit to liking) and there aren’t any office politics. But after a while you start to miss the person who talks over everyone at meetings, the guy who eats tuna at his desk and even the passive-aggressive colleague who is imagining your long, slow death while congratulating you on a job well done. Isolation will do that to you.

Co-working solves the isolation issue. All of sudden you’re meeting new, interesting, often creative individuals who are looking for a sense of community as much as you are. You still have the freedom to come and go (and if you’re having an off day you can still work from home). While you pay for a desk, you’ve got a designated workspace so your work and home life are better defined and your sanity is preserved. After a few years of solitary, you will pay for the privilege of working with others.

There are some drawbacks to co-working though. People breeze in and out and you don’t always have time to connect with everyone. Also, it can take some adjusting to work in noisier, more dynamic environments again. But there’s something truly satisfying about working in teams or with likeminded individuals (and this is coming from an introvert). While we can get annoyed and irritated, angry and sullen, bored and apathetic – if you do a few years on your own, you’ll be craving all those crazy, rollercoaster emotions again.

So, at the moment it’s co-working for us that is the clear winner but let’s see where the next few months takes us. If we’re spending too much money on coffee and good food, and we’re sweltering in our little loft over Summer, we might just reconsider…

BRG Learning and Development