During my career as a web developer, I have worked in a variety of places. I have probably spent most of my working hours in one of the following environments : At home, at offices and at co-working places.
I wouldn't consider one of the three to be the ultimate and best option. It's rather that each of them has its conveniences and inconveniences that I would like to discuss with this post.
If you have the flexibility to rotate among these options, you can even create yourself a "responsive lifestyle":
- When in a creative mood, you just choose the best place to let your inspiration flow
- When in need to discuss an idea or an action plan, meet your colleagues at the office
- If you need to focus, go to your distraction-free home office or bedroom.
Here are my personal recommendations regarding each of them:
Working at home
People say that when working at home, you can easily get distracted by doing household tasks etc... but actually, you can get distracted at anywhere your 3G connection reaches.
Since working hours and spare time are floating, it's up to you to establish the mental switch that usually occures when leaving your house in the morning and closing the door of your office in the evening. This can be accomplished by setting up your workspace in an area of your house where you don't allow other activities to happen, or by having a tight schedule of working hours that you only dedicate to certain tasks.
A good thing about doing stuff at home is that you can really focus on what you're doing, without having to fear that a colleague just bursts in your room and destroys your precious "flow".
Working in a company's office
An office environment has many advantages: You can exchange ideas quickly and discuss solutions with your colleagues instantly. Most team members are usually focused on the same objectives, and the personal contact encourages conversations and collaborative problem solving.
On the other hand, there are people like me who don't like to be observed when they are busy, and especially programmers can react very irritated when their workflow is interrupted. In this case, it would make sense to create an area where you can work silently, or a certain period of time when nobody should disturb you.
Another option would be to temporarily move to a co-working space and work remotely with your team.
Working at a co-working space
During the last 2 years I have had the pleasure to work at two different co-working spaces. Usually, these are collaborative spaces where people – from mostly different fields – work independently on their own projects. What I enjoy most about co-working is flexibility and networking.
Most of the time, you have full control over your daily routine, you can come and go when it fits your schedule.
Second, Seeing what people from other fields of business are doing and how they work can be very inspiring, as it opens a new perspective on things or just gives you new ideas on how to improve your workflow.
Whether you're working at home, at your employer's or in a shared office, you have probably made your very own experiences and formed your personal opinion about what is the best place to be most productive.
Personally, I am quite happy with working at a co-working space where I have my own table and work remotely with my colleagues. I enjoy the tranquil work atmosphere and to get out of my house every day, while I dedicate home office time to lighter tasks and organizational stuff.