Canadians are becoming more and more entrepreneurial. In fact, a study by financial software company Intuit predicted that by 2020, forty-five percent of Canadians will be self-employed.
The study also indicated the 41% of self-employed Canadians are doing the work to supplement their regular income, while 47% are doing it for greater work-life flexibility.
And in a world where technology makes it even easier for people to work remotely, the big question is becoming where you’ll set up shop and call your office. For entrepreneurs, the two most common options are working from home and coworking spaces. But how do you know which to choose?
Here are 4 key questions to help you decide which is right for you.
What Type of Work Environment Suits Your Work Style?
The first big question is your preferred workstyle and environment.
Working from home is typically a solitary environment. And if you find this more conducive to great work, it can be a huge benefit. For many people, the prospect of working from home sounds perfect. It’s convenient, there’s no commute, it allows you to get up and get right to work at your leisure. But for others, it can be distracting, monotonous and lack motivation. Variety can be stimulating and spending too much time at home can take away its charm. There’s an old saying: coming back to the place you started is not the same as never leaving. While there are great benefits to working from home, you might find it challenging to be at home all day.
Coworking spaces, on the other hand, tend to be lively, busy and buzzing. While it’s great for some work styles, for others it can present challenges to focus.
It’s all about understanding how you prefer to work and tailoring your environment accordingly. If you’re an extroverted person who thrives on an energetic environment, you might find you struggle to work from home all day – and vice versa.
Take an introspective look at your work style and use it to decide on a work environment.
What Do You Require in Terms of Amenities and Business Tools?
Here’s some food for thought: take a look at the business tools and amenities you need to efficiently and effectively run your business. How you answer this question might play a big part in deciding where you call your office.
For many business models, all you need is a laptop, some WiFi and a place to sit down. As they say, home is where the WiFi connects automatically.
But for other business models, you need more – printers, fax machines, stationery. Even ergonomic chairs and the cost of buying a desk. While working from home may be free, depending on your business requirements, these expenses – which are often overlooked – will start to add up. This means that what looks like free might not be so free at the end of the day. Most coworking spaces offer these tools and amenities within their membership fee.
It’s also important to look at professional needs and appearance, including meeting rooms to host clients. Will your clients expect you to have an office address for receiving mail and packages, and a phone service to direct calls? Some of these items aren’t feasible in a home office.
Not all businesses have the same needs. So, for some, a coworking space might not make sense. But to make the right choice between work-from-home and coworking space, it’s important to understand what your business requires in order to operate optimally.
How Much Value Do You Place on Socialization?
Consider this for a minute. Work isn’t just about work. It’s also about engaging with others and being social.
Neil Pasricha, author of The Happiness Equation, explains that our work provides us with more than just a paycheck – it offers an invaluable sense of social engagement.
Many entrepreneurs get out on their own and realize they miss the sense of socialization they never really realized they had at a big company. They may not even have realized that it’s an integral part of their day. For others, socialization might be less of a motivator.
But in either case, socialization presents opportunities for networking, professional growth, and business development. And coworking spaces are notoriously social and offer that advantage to those who thrive on it.
There’s no right or wrong on this. It’s all personal preference. But understanding the degree of socialization you want in your work life can help guide your decision between working from home or working from a coworking space.
Where Do You Really Accomplish Better Work?
Above and beyond all else, your number one question when debating between a home office and a coworking space should be where you accomplish your best work. Because at the end of the day, the environment that stimulates your greatest output will ultimately be the one that helps boost your bottom line.
Choosing where to call your office is an important business decision and it can also be a tough one. But by looking introspectively, both at your personal and professional needs and the needs of your business, and asking these four questions, you can help ensure you’re making the right call.