I’ve been working remotely as a Senior Android Engineer for more than a year. I should admit that it’s a wonderful opportunity. Eliminating commuting time and stress, creating your own schedule(well, I’m definitely not talking about sleeping by day and being a night owl), allocating more time to your wife and your parents and being with them when they need your help are some of the perks of being a remote worker. I truly experienced some moments that I was so thankful for all of the above.
But this post is not about the perks of being a remote worker. It’s more of a comparison between working from home or a co-working space. During my remote work experience, I’ve started by creating a home office space for myself that all the magic will happen. All the essentials was a good chair, a desk, and your computer. (Oh, also I should mention that if you’re married, a supportive wife. Because you’ll lose one of the room in your house for your work requirements.) Even your company provide home office support budget for your staff to buy. With that budget, you can create your dream office.
Having a beautifully designed office space and creating great products in your personal magical place is really motivating. And If you can create a disciplined work attitude for yourself, you can be much more productive than working from a real office. Because it’s less distractive and you have a huge time to arrange everything. I can honestly say that I created a good time planning for myself like I’m going to a real office every day. And mostly followed 9 to 5 rule. By working like that I also get a chance to sync my time with my wife’s and my friend’s. After working for a few months with that discipline, being a remote worker became so natural to me and this affected my output at work in a good way.
But some people follow a different path while working remotely. A cooler or hispterish(is there a word like that?) way. Traveling the world! It’s another option that I find myself thinking about it time to time. Wouldn’t be great if we pack our bags and fly to Ubud for a few months? After that go to Europe just for no reason and spend some time. Yeah, that would be awesome. But also it’s hard to dare if you’re not too young and married. And if one of the couples have an office type of job, things can be harder. So it’s not impossible but it easier to create excuses for not doing this. Oh! BTW speaking of Ubud, it’s a wonderful place for nomads or remote workers. During my short stay for a vacation, I thought about that almost every day. Working and living from there would be extraordinary. But this can be another story.
Let’s talk about another option that I also start experimenting recently. Working from home is great. Don’t want to emphasize this again and again. But also it has some drawbacks or some side effects. Being alone is one of them. Even if you speak with your colleagues every day, still you’re alone at home(accept that). But of course, this also leads to better productivity by focusing on your work more. Another thing is the problems on home-work-life balance. Ok, so you’re waking up early in the morning and after breakfast or some running around, you’re getting into your little room. And when the day ends, you’re leaving your room but you’re still at home. Even if you want to go out at nights, your partner may not want that as you do. She/he can be tired after a long terrible day and want to relax at home and just want to watch some Netflix shows. At some point, this cumulates and being 80% home person can be frustrating for you. You have to deal with that successfully for your healthy social life. That’s happening to me from time to time. So in order to fight with that, I decided to give a co-working space a try. And I started to buy a monthly subscription. Am I happy now? Yeah, much better.
So what are the benefits of working from co-working space? First of all, leaving home for a while is a good thing. And I think healthier too. Meeting with new people and feeding your social side is another part. Co-working spaces are much better than working from coffee shops. Because everyone around you is mostly a like-minded person. And everyone is working on something. (And also you can leave your computer behind when you go to the toilet without scaring if it can be stolen). With all those creative people around you, new ideas can nourish. That creates a motivation for you to work all they long without getting bored. It’s hard to get that at coffee shops. Coffee shops are more of a short motivation boosters.
After working at a co-working space for a while, I realized that leaving my little home office behind and working as an office person from there whole your time isn’t necessary. I have options and I should combine them. After realizing that, I started to use both of them. And also coffee shops. Now I go wherever I want. Do I need to focus on hard problems and need a giant external monitor or a whiteboard? Then stay at home. Do I need to socialize and feel the air? Then go to co-working space. Do I need more inspiration? Then go to a coffee shop and enjoy a good cup of coffee and cheesecake. After following this pattern, now I’m fully enjoying my remote work experience.
To summarize them all, I want to list the pros and cons of working from home and co-working space. And I want to summarize that these are my observations and humble opinions based on the experience. Let the judging begin!
Working From Home — PROS
- You can have any tools and gadgets you want. A large desk, a giant monitor, green plants. 🖥 ⌨️ 🌵
- Focusing on hard problems and working quietly is much easier.🤓
- You can dress highly informal 🙈 (I don’t suggest that)
- You can grind your own coffee and brew it freshly. (This is so important for me)☕️
- By leveraging the commuting time, you can use your day and working hours much more efficiently. ⏳
- If you have kids, you can watch them grow and spend more time with them. 🤱🏻👪
Working From Home — CONS
- Being alone can be boring. And in time it can harm your emotions. 😞
- Your home can become an unmeaningful place for you and you may want to be run out of it. 🏠
- Spending most of your time at home can create relationship issues between couples. 👩🏼🦰👨🏻🦰
- If you cannot create disciplined working hours, your job may suffer from that. ⏰
- You can gain fat. 🍔🍟 (Of course not me, but you 😏)
Working From Co-Working Space — PROS
- Meeting new and like-minded people. 👨🏻💻👩💻👨🏻💻👩🏻💻
- Attending talks and events. Or sometimes giving talks. 🗣
- Fast and stable wifi. 📡
- Free foods and drinks. 🍎🍪☕️
- Finding new ideas and possible clients.(if you’re a freelancer) 🤝
- Managing your time by creating fixed work hours. ⏱
Working From Co-Working Space — CONS
- Co-working spaces can sometimes be noisy. 🤯
- If you socialize too much, you can lose your focus on work and start chatting with people unnecessarily. 🥴
- Tables and chairs are not usually the best. It can be bad for your ergonomics. 🛋
- You won’t have your gadgets like external monitor unless you set them up at co-working space. 🖥 ⌨️🖱 (That’s usually possible with extra pay)
- If your company doesn’t have support for co-working space, it would cost you extra. 💸
- Coffee is usually terrible. 🤮(This can be a valid reason for me to quit a co-working space)
- You’ll have extra commuting time and sometimes you should dive into the traffic nightmare. 🚦🚙🚗
If you can find the optimum working style, remote work is really a great opportunity. I tried to share my observations and experiences of working from home and co-working spaces. I’d like to hear yours.
Thanks for taking time and reading this! ❤️