By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management
SpaceIQ

Professionals have a lot of choices in how they work these days. Not only is the workplace environment changing, remote working is also popular. Employees now have the choice to come into work for a traditional day at the office or check into one of the many established coworking spaces in their city. It presents an important choice, which in turn prompts a moment of introspection.

Given the options of coworking vs. traditional office work, which suits you better?

It’s easy to jump to conclusions and take stock in emotions when making your choice. But it’s worth first looking at things logically. What kind of worker are you? What kind of environment do you need? What professional traits do you have that lend themselves to one work environment over the other? Look at the pros and cons of each situation before making a choice.

Coworking: Pros and cons

What are the pros and cons of coworking space vs. traditional office? It comes down to a greater level of autonomy and a person’s ability to adapt to that freedom. Coworking tends to attract workers who have good time management and organization—they need to set (and keep) their schedules to stay productive outside of being directly managed. Coworking also means getting out of your comfort zone and normal routine, so it’s not for the skittish or those who prefer rigid structure.

Check out some of the top pros and cons of coworking to understand why it works for some, but not others.

Pros

  • The freedom to work where and when you want
  • Change of scenery can be good for mental stimulation
  • Ability to book different types of workspaces for different lengths of time
  • Choice of many different types of coworking spaces and themes
  • Opportunities for socialization with other professionals

Cons

  • Open office environment makes it hard to find privacy
  • Can be louder or more distracting than a traditional workplace
  • No face-to-face, in-person access to peers and coworkers
  • Not guaranteed a seat or any seating consistency
  • May not include perks like parking or break room

If you’re not willing or able to create your own framework for productivity, coworking might not be for you. If you prefer predictability and do better with a clearly defined path to travel, there’s no shame in preferring a traditional office workplace.

Traditional offices: Pros and cons

In deciding between a coworking space or traditional office, many people gravitate toward the idea of “more freedom” with coworking. But there’s a catch: less predictability. That difference in perspective is why many people are keen on traditional office work.

If you’re someone who likes having a clear, specific roadmap for the day and values routine, look to a traditional office. A structured workplace also gives you access to peers and amenities in ways remote working can’t offer. For many, choosing a traditional office is a prime example of the adage, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”

Here’s why traditional offices appeal to some and why others choose to embrace remote working:

Pros

  • Familiar working structure and expectations
  • Direct, in-person access to peers and managers
  • Inclusive amenities including parking, IT help, etc.
  • Comfort from a routine, including commute
  • Feeling of inclusion and not “missing out” on workplace happenings

Cons

  • More rigid oversight and management
  • Susceptible to monotony or “brain drain” from the same routine
  • Much higher leasing and facilities upkeep costs
  • Can be harder to adapt to changes in real-time
  • Feeling of isolation that comes with a 9-5 schedule

Is there a right answer?

Given the choice between a coworking space vs. office work environment, which suits you better? There is no right answer—only an individual one.

If you’re a driven, independent worker with great time management and a mastery of digital communication, coworking is likely an appealing proposition. If you like structure and order, and feel more confident when you’re collaborating with your peers face-to-face, traditional office work likely suits you. If you’re somewhere in-between, take the opportunity to work fluidly between the two.

The great thing about the workplace is that there’s no longer a norm—only what works.

Keep reading: 7 Reasons to Use Coworking Software