Working from Home vs Cafes vs Coworking Spaces

Welcome to a new post in our series for and about digital nomads! Today I want to address one of the questions freelancers, whether nomads or not, face: should they work from home, from a cafe, or rent a desk at a coworking space?

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Working from home

If you are not a digital nomad, in other words, if you work remotely but do not travel, the first temptation will be to work from home.

Pros

Where do I even start? It’s cozy, comfy, you get to work in your PJs and only occasionally put on a business shirt and some makeup when you have calls.

Cons

I wrote a bit about the cons of working from home in this post. I don’t want to repeat myself, so I will just make a quick recap.

It can get lonely, especially if you also live on your own, you might end up going days without seeing anyone (other than maybe the delivery guy who brings you your food).

You might also end up procrastinating a lot, leaving everything for the last minute. There are virtual coworking options and more, but the truth is, nothing beats real interaction with people.

Working from a cafe

I’m gonna be honest with you. Until Barcelona, I rarely did this. Cafes always seemed like noisy places, where it can be really hard to get any work done, especially if you need some silence to focus. In Barcelona, I decided to give this work style a try and I must admit I kinda liked it.

Pros

  • All the coffee, teas, and usually enough food at your fingertips without getting up or doing anything other than telling the waiter what you want. Yes, of course, you gotta pay for it, but you can’t expect to sit there all day for free, ya know?
  • You can have calls without worrying too much about disturbing the others in the room. Since it’s a cafe most people are there to have conversations with their friends, are eating, or are having meetings themselves. No need to keep it quite.
  • You might make new friends. Especially in cafes that are generally known to have good wifi and be good to work from, there’s a good chance to find other digital nomads or freelancers. Share ideas or make new friends while taking a break from work.

Cons

  • Like I already said, not all cafes are great when you need a super quite space. However, in many big cities, where lots of digital nomads live, you’ll find cafes that are pretty much known as coworking cafes, so the atmosphere will feel pretty workaholic.
  • There might not be enough outlets. Yep, this is one of the two essential things for us nomads: good wifi and outlets to charge our laptops. The solution is to have a laptop fully charged from home and with good battery life. But even those end, and depending on how long you were planning on staying at the cafe, the outlet will become a must.
  • Getting up to get some air might feel risky because you need to leave your stuff unsupervised. It depends a lot on the cafe, in most this wasn’t really an issue, but there are some that tend to be a little crowded and touristic, where there is a chance of ill-intentioned people. My tip would be to stay away from touristic areas when you want to work. Find cafes used for locals or digital nomads, where everyone is likely to have some expensive gear with them, and where someone will gladly keep an eye on your stuff while you stretch your legs.

Coworking Spaces

Probably the best in terms of combining flexibility, good work environment, and opportunities to socialize, coworking spaces are something every digital nomad will try at least once.

Pros

  • Flexibility. Unlike going to a normal job, with coworking spaces you decided how often you want to go and for how many hours a day. Most will offer various payment packages based on your choices, or even pay-per-hour options, for those who only need such a place a few times a month.
  • Meeting other freelancers.
  • Events for digital nomads and remote workers – many coworking spaces organize these types of events. While it is not necessary to be a member to attend the events, I’ve seen many spaces that offer free entrance to the events to members or even organize member-only events.
  • You might get some free marketing. In order to do their own marketing, some coworking spaces will “brag” about those who work in their space (with consent, of course), thus providing you with some free marketing for your services and skills. It’s true you might need to be a full-time member for a while before they do this for you, but it is still a nice perk.

Cons

  • Prices. While payment packages are available, coworking spaces do come at a price which isn’t always cheap. Many will also provide some benefits in that price, like free coffee and snacks, member-only events and more, but for someone who is just beginning this lifestyle, the expense might not be ideal.
  • Fixed schedules that might not match yours. This is especially true if you are a digital nomad working odd hours due to different time zones.
  • Call booths aren’t always available. Depending on the number of people in the corworking space and the rules for making calls, you might face the issue of having to schedule your call according to the availability of the call booths (or chambers, or private rooms, or whatever you call them).

Coworking online community – get support wherever you are in the world

If you are a woman and work remotely, you may want to check out the Digital Nomad Girls Inner Circle. It is a group of nomad girls, who support each other, do virtual coworking sessions. There are also goal setting sessions and you can even get an accountability partner! Also, there are expert packs where you can learn about branding, creating a website, legal matters for digital nomads (the group has its own lawyer who’s there to help) and so much more!

The DNG Inner Circle is opening its doors for the last time this year. Doors are only open only for a week, so don’t miss this opportunity! I’ve been a member for quite a few months now and I can guarantee it is worth the investment!

I hope this post was helpful and it will help you chose the best work environment for you. Check back next week for a post about co-living for introverts. Subscribe to receive the post directly to your inbox.

Working from home; working from cafes or joining a coworking space? What is the best option for digital nomads, freelancers, remote workers?

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