My journey from home working to coworking

Why I started coworking, by Jan Minihane

Jan Minihane , home working to coworkingI set up my own business advisory practice 7 years ago, then 2 years ago I took my first real grown-up step and set up a company, The Net Advantage Ltd to house my social media advisory and training work.

2 years ago I also set up Shropshire Jelly to run coworking events, due to knowing many homeworkers who were bored, missing the buzz of an office, as was I. It certainly whet my appetite for working around other people again!

Over the last 6 months, I started to lose my motivation of working from home, and as much as I love Jelly events, I wanted some kind of office space to call my own and so the step to full-time coworking started in February.

The advantages of coworking for me so far have been:

  • Having a permanent desk space away from home and the myriad of distractions I find there.
  • My work productivity when I’m at the office has gone through the roof – less distractions!
  • Having the flexibility to have client meetings at my premises, not theirs.
  • Having coworking colleagues to talk to every time I’m at my desk, rather than the 4 walls of my home study.
  • Grabbing the odd lunch at the local pub and chatting about mutual business issues.
  • Providing more separation between my home and work life; I admit I was terrible when I was a homeworker, the laptop went on at 7am and went off at 11pm – sound familiar? Now I’m better at leaving my laptop at work and actually switching off more in the evenings, which makes me a better mum & wife (I hope!).
  • I just feel more grown up in the business community – daft I know but it’s helped my self-confidence being able to talk about ‘my office’.
  • It costs a fraction of hiring a tiny office in a serviced office block – where’d I’d be isolated again. I can do that perfectly well at home for nothing! So I’m keeping my overheads to a minimum.
  • I used to pay for a registered business address for my company (as it’s not advisable to use your home address). This cost is now swallowed up into the coworking fee so it’s only an incremental cost increase for me.
  • I pay on a monthly rolling basis, no long term leases, so minimal stress if my circumstances/needs change.

And as for the downsides of my coworking lifestyle?

  • Petrol costs have gone up so I plan meeting and non-meeting days more carefully now.
  • You can’t choose who else will come and start coworking. So far my fellow coworkers are awesome but I’m realistic that this could change in the future and I may be sat next to a constant chatterbox/distractor etc…
  • That’s all!

Overall, coworking is really working for me and is helping me move my business to the next level. Is it time for you to take the plunge and try out coworking or are you a die-hard home worker?

Posted in: Coworking

8 Comments on "My journey from home working to coworking"

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  1. Rosie Slosek says:

    I do a kind of coworking sometimes when my partner has deadlines and we need to get out of each other’s way. I go to a local society I am a member of and work in their quiet room.

  2. Kay Heald says:

    Jan gives some compelling reasons, but I think I’m still sitting on the fence! I’m lucky to have a quiet dedicated office at home to concentrate on my client work, but being disciplined enough to separate home and work can be a struggle. I’m not quite talking to the wall yet (Shirley Valentine reference), but if I do, it’s good to know there are some excellent co-working spaces out there to complement my home office.

    • Judy says:

      Coworking spaces really are a brilliant development. It can be a lifesaver to have somewhere else to go for a few hours a week for a change of environment and to talk to likeminded people.

  3. Annette says:

    Brilliant post ladies – thank you – such a good balancing piece for “Jelly” ! You have both been wonderful supporting the start of Jelly events in southern France and this is a great way to illustrate that Jelly can be more than a ‘networking social’, and it can take time for participants to be aware of the benefits of investing in a coworking space. Bravo!

  4. Judy says:

    Thanks, Annette! I think Jelly is a great way to try out coworking and could well give home workers the appetite for working with others more often.

  5. Nice article. This is an idea that interests me greatly; having worked from home for about ten years, I, too, have found I’m much more effective when out of the house than when in it.

    Try as I might, though, I can’t find anything along coworking lines in my area. I may well just be failing to find facilities that do in fact exist. Can anyone point me towards any online directories or the like?


    Adrian Higgs, copywriter

  6. Judy says:

    I tried Googling Newbury and coworking but it comes up with a place in Newbury St, Boston MA, which isn’t exactly round the corner from you! is one directory, but no results. But comes up with a pageful, albeit cafes, pubs, hotels and Regus (which has started to call itself a coworking space, much to the derision of many a coworker).
    Of course you could always set up your own Jelly 🙂

  7. Thanks Judy – I shall look into it…