Work from Home or Cowork? The Top 5 Pros and Cons for Women Entrepreneurs to Consider
You made the leap, you went out on your own. Your business is growing, but you don’t need to rent a full-time private office. Many coworking spaces now offer a community-style model with open floor plans and nooks where you can meet and focus, but is this type of coworking the right fit for the business you’ve so carefully crafted?
You may be thinking, why should I leave home? I have a perfectly good set up. I can do work in my pajamas in my home office, at the kitchen table, or on a couch. Add in a messy bun, no makeup, the dog next to me. Sounds great! Sure – maybe it is great for a day or two, but is it the best working environment long term?
There are advantages and disadvantages to being a woman entrepreneur working from home. If you are on the fence about whether or not you are ready to make a move to a coworking space, we’ve got you covered. In this article we’ll take a look at both the pros and cons of working from home as a female entrepreneur vs. working in coworking space designed to support the needs of women entrepreneurs.
1. Comfort + Convenience = Happier
Home Pro: Working from home can create a relaxed environment. It’s ok if you don’t want to shower or put on nice clothes, it’s your prerogative and your dog won’t judge you.
Home Con: Suddenly it’s Wednesday and you realized you haven’t showered or seen a person all week. Your hours get out of whack and you are starting to forget how nice it can be to get out into the real world.
Coworking Pro: Finding a coworking space that aligns with your vibe can be the perfect answer. You don’t have to work in a space where the vibe is “dress to the nines,” though they do exist if that is what you are looking for! Many niche places, especially spaces focused on women, are popping up around the country and support the model of “come as you are”…even if that means in yoga pants.
Coworking Con: You may have a second monitor or decent home office set up. You may not be able to get all of the amenities you have in your home office, but ask questions when you tour a coworking facility. Do they have adjustable desk heights? Are there alternate seating options if you aren’t in love with the chairs? Do they have storage available if you want to leave some of your equipment? Having some of these amenities and accommodations can make a coworking space just as comfortable as your home office.
2. Starve Your Distractions, Feed Your Productivity
Home Pro: It can be helpful to break from your computer to put in a load of laundry, run the dishwasher, or get dinner prepped.
Home Con: That laundry pile won’t stop looking at you. Neither will those papers cluttering the counter. You find yourself procrasti-cleaning. Suddenly the entire day has passed and you’ve barely gotten anything done.
Coworking Pro: Going to a coworking space can allow you to step away from the distractions of home, even if you want to go for a few hours.You can be laser focused on a project. (And hint – you can still get dinner prepped. The Instant Pot can take care of the prepped dinner. It’s a miracle on Earth.)
Coworking Con: There can occasionally be chatter or a workshop taking place in a coworking space. It can get a little loud. Make sure to find a place that has options for quiet space if you need to put your head down.
3. Financial Health is the Lifeline of Your Business
Home Pro: Working from home is free so that definitely helps your budget, especially if you are a startup entrepreneur and finances are tight.
Home Con: Even though you are home every day, you may find yourself going to a local coffee shop or networking to try and get out of the house and interact with people. In the end, it could still end up costing you a decent amount of money each month. On average a female entrepreneur may spend anywhere from $25-$150/month attending events. That doesn’t count the overpriced mocha latte with a double shot of caffeine to get you motivated to go back home and finish your day.
Coworking Pro: The beauty of finding a coworking space that aligns with your values and business is that it could actually increase your business as you organically network and connect with other local female business owners. If it offers in-house programming — even better. And here’s a plus — you can write off your memberships as a business expense for taxes! And some benefits, like developing strong relationships with other like-minded people, are priceless.
Coworking Con: There is typically a monthly or annual fee for joining a coworking space, but often the added value of organic networking and business growth based workshops can more than make up for the extra costs.
4. Where to Lead Critical Client Meetings
Home Pro: In the age of technology it can be easy to meet with clients from anywhere through virtual meeting tools like Zoom, Skype, Go To Meeting.
Home Con: If your work requires an in-person meeting, you may need to meet your client at a noisy coffee shop or rent a pricey room somewhere for the afternoon. That or invite them into your kitchen which is not always the most professional atmosphere…and it can also have local business ordinance implications. (Plus, who wants to clean their house to prep for a client meeting?)
Coworking Pro: Coworking spaces can serve as a great middle ground between your home and a noisy coffee shop. Typically coworking spaces have conference rooms with all of the standard meeting room amenities–white board, TV with HDMI hook up, conference phone, and more. Most spaces have apps so it can be super easy to book a conference room and bring in clients as frequently or infrequently as your business requires.
Coworking Con: Conference room bookings may or may not be included in a coworking space membership model. Make sure to check before joining if conference hours are included with the price.
5. Community is Key
Home Pro: It’s great to work at home when you are alone with your thoughts, in the quiet. Even better if you are an introvert and draw your energy from alone time.
Home Con: Yes, it’s nice to work in the quiet…but sometimes the quiet is…too quiet. It can be isolating to work by yourself day after day, especially if you are stuck on a problem or exploring a new job-related tool.
Coworking Pro: Choosing a coworking space that focuses on community and collaboration can be an amazing asset for a female entrepreneur. Although the industry may be different, entrepreneurs often struggle with the same issues when building their businesses. Knowing that you have a supportive and welcoming environment to come and bounce ideas off of others can make the hardest of tasks seem less daunting. Or at the very least, it can ease your sense of isolation and create a sense of camaraderie — helping you remember that you are not alone on this journey.
Coworking Con: If your work requires a secure environment or tons of sales calls, sitting in an open community may not be the best fit for your work model. If that’s the case, remember to check for private areas for conversations, like phone booths and meeting rooms.
Added bonus of coworking: Many coworking spaces not only provide a beautiful space, but most now bring in speakers focused on professional development and business growth. You can get work done and make connections, all the while growing both personally and professionally.
With all of these coworking pros and cons in mind, you can make the decision that’s right for your business model, productivity, and business growth goals — and simply, yourself. To home-work or co-work? That’s the question.
Why do we know so much about coworking? Rowan Tree is a niche coworking + cogrowth community. It is designed by women and geared for women, but is open to all. We offer the comforts of home married with the necessities of an office. In addition to providing a rooting place where you can grow your business, we also focus on creativity and wellness so women have the opportunity to focus on themselves in the midst of running their business. Rowan Tree is located in the suburbs of Washington DC in HERndon, VA, just 10 minutes from Dulles airport. Interested in taking a tour or trying it out? Contact us today or visit workrowan.com