Very Small Businesses: Shared Office Spaces vs. Working from Home

Many businesses start so small that they cannot rent their own office. Steve Jobs famously built the first Macintosh computers in his parents’ garage, and many small business owners set up shop in their living rooms or pull their office chairs up to the kitchen table. Working from home has pros and cons, but there is another option gaining popularity. Shared office spaces provide a cost-effective way for independent business owners to work outside of the house and meet other people. We’ll examine the ups and downs of each.

Working from home: Pros

Working from home is many peoples’ dream – you never have to put on a suit, you have a flexible schedule, and it is an ideal situation for parents of young children who want more time to spend with them. While not totally free (there are increased power and heating/AC bills to consider), it is the cheapest option.

Working from home: Cons

While a home office can be an enjoyably lazy and practical option for many, many home workers start to feel cooped up and want to get out of the house. The line blurs between work tasks and home tasks, and you may find yourself doing the dishes and watching TV instead of (or while) getting work done. It’s not right for everybody, especially if you are the type who craves social interaction.

Shared offices: Pros

Getting up every morning, getting dressed and leaving the house gets the blood flowing and stimulates the mind and removes the distractions of home. Meeting other people could lead to new friendships, and you may even meet someone who can help improve your business. Leases are flexible and you are provided with a desk and internet connection as part of the price; you also have a more professional address for your business cards and a location for important meetings.

Shared offices: Cons

Working alongside other people is always fraught with danger – what if you don’t get along with your new office-mates, there is a noisy eater across the desk, or the guy behind you has perpetual sniffles? Shared offices can have restricted opening hours that restrict your flexibility, and of course, there is rent to pay.

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