Flexibility is no longer a perk but the major criterion for how millennials choose their next job. Establishing a healthy work-life balance is becoming the top priority of the workforce, with 36% reporting that they would actually choose a flexible work option over a pay raise.
Businesses are beginning to embrace this concept and offering employees 1-2 days per week to work remotely. So as an employee, how do you best use your time outside of the office?
Working from Home
The clear advantage here is the convenience. Sick children, scheduled cable company visits, can make it extra convenient to stay home for the workday. Cities like NYC are reporting over 30 minutes for the average commute, so reducing that time down to zero is a huge win.
If you don’t have a dedicated office, not leaving the comforts of your home can come at a cost. For us city-dwellers, in lieu of an office, we’re likely to turn to the living room or kitchen table for our remote desk. Needless to say working from the couch isn’t the most productive of environments, as it’s susceptible to the myriad of distractions that come with a TV in close proximity. Moreover, what happens to the daily interpersonal interactions? Working from home limits your exposure to the outside world, and depending on your view, can get lonely, quick. In fact, according to a study conducted by Buffer, loneliness was reported as the biggest (21% of respondents) struggle with working remotely.
If you still want to remain close to home yet crave that human interaction, the local café can be a good option. There’s coffee, they usually have proper seating, there are people around. All good things! The challenges here can vary on a daily basis. Depending upon if/where there are seats available, you may not have access to an outlet, you may be next to the loud coffee bean grinder, or a whole host of other issues with noisy patrons. The fact that not everyone visiting the café is there to work can become a nuisance when trying to hunker down and get work done. When my plate is full and I’m trying to focus and remain productive, downsides don’t make the cafe the best option.
Trying to find a quiet, populated, space to work that’s also close to home is becoming increasingly easy with the explosion of the coworking industry. By 2022, it’s forecasted that there will be over 17,000 coworking spaces globally. Having one close by allows you to spend the most productive hours of the day working, instead of sitting in bumper to bumper traffic, only to arrive in a terrible mood! While each coworking space will have their own flavor, you’ll typically find yourself surrounded by other like-minded professionals, in a quiet and productive environment. Renting a desk at one of these coworking spaces typically costs somewhere between $20 and $30 for the day (the cost of a few expensive lattes). Increasingly, companies are offering to cover these expenses, so be sure to ask your employer to consider subscribing to a corporate plan through apps like Upflex for entrance into a wide network of locations (which by the way reduces your time filling out expense reports!).
Ultimately, your choice will come down to which location gives you the best balance of productivity and convenience. 74% of workers are actually more productive since beginning working at a coworking space. If you’re like me, joining the growing number of coworking space visitors is the way to go. There is just no substitute for being surrounded by other creative people and having access to office amenities, that will get you through your workday smoothly.