As a remote worker, or even as a freelance, you might spend lots of time working from home. A coworking space is a good idea to try out. I recently did so, here’s my experience

When I started freelancing I worked from home, where I had set up a room to serve as my personal office. I kept it that way when I started working with CookiesHQ. Occasionally I worked from a friend’s house, or from my parents’ if I was visiting, but nothing regular. I thought it was better for me because I wouldn’t have the distractions from a public place, like a café. Also, the good chair and big secondary monitor were also a plus. I just thought I would not be able to concentrate from a café.

But I realized (and took time to do so) that working from home was not as positive as I thought. After work, I just felt too tired to do anything else and I stayed at home many days, and my place started feeling more like just an office instead of a home where I also worked.

So, finally I decided to pay attention to advice people had given me about working outside the house and gave an opportunity to a WorkInCompany, a coworking space downtown in Seville. After working from there for a whole month, I’ve compiled a list of the pros and cons.

Great: changing the scenery

Getting out of the house to go to your office, and vice versa, is positive as it helps you switch ‘work mode’ on and off in a short span of time. It really makes a difference in attitude, mood, and ability to ‘disconnect’ after work. It helps to develop a morning routine of activities, so you can be there at the right time.

Great: moving

Working from home reduces a lot how much you move, unless you are an habitual user of your nearest gym or like to have long walks in the park at sunset, so getting out of home and back is a good start to keep some activity, at least the bare minimum. Obviously it’s better if you can do this walking or by bike.

Good: work ambience and socialising

Having other people working around you helps to keep focused. Also the office space is bound to be better-equipped to act as an office than your own house: better illumination, meeting rooms…

Also, social interaction between coworkers is bound to happen, so you do not have to have lunch break all by yourself, and it’s good to meet people outside your area of work to share visions and ideas, and even grab a drink after office hours.

Bad: the noise

One of the worst things in a big office space is the noise: phone calls, meetings in the public areas, people having a break and chatting desk-to-desk… the usual. Don’t forget to bring your headphones!

About the price

For freelancing people in Spain the average cost of a coworking space (althought it varies from place to place) might be a bit daunting at first, mostly because of the already high cost of being a freelancer in Spain. But if there’s a will there’s a way as they say, and these spaces offer flexible rates that can adapt to most needs.

Also, I think one must approach this as an investment: you are paying to have better place to work from and help you do your business better (and your outside-of-work life as a consequence), so there’s a lot to consider there, not just the price tag. Think of it as when you need to buy a new computer for work: it’s a tool that’s going to help you make money, so why not spend a bit more to have a better one?

Anyway, worst case scenario, you’ve paid for a month, so if you’re not happy you can always withdraw to your home again.

Conclusion

So far I am very happy to have switched to work from a shared working space. Thanks to this I’ve met new interesting people also dedicated to web development with lots of knowledge to share. Also I am now really able to separate ‘home time’ from ‘work time’ better and my overall mood has improved. And the most important, it has helped me overcome my fear of not being able to focus properly outside my home office.

I hope that if you recognize yourself in the first paragraphs of this post, you’ll at least consider giving a try to a shared office space. Have questions or experiences to share? Don’t hesitate to comment!

Picture ‘Coworking – Rimini’ by Federico on Flickr, used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0