If you don’t have to report to an office, a coworking space can seem like an ideal place to collaborate, brainstorm and complete tasks. However, a new survey suggests that shared office spaces have drawbacks, too.
To gain insight into workers’ experiences, Clutch — a business-to-business ratings and reviews platform — surveyed 501 people who have worked in a coworking space in the past year.
A third of respondents (33%) said coworking spaces were their preferred working arrangement. However, a larger percentage (39%) said they would prefer to work remotely. Another 28% said they would prefer working in a traditional office environment.
The drawbacks of coworking spaces
As more companies allow employees to work virtually, a growing number of workers will find themselves weighing the pros and cons of coworking spaces.
Whether respondents preferred to work in a shared space or not, an overwhelming majority (88%) admitted to experiencing some challenges when working in coworking environments.
Nearly half of respondents (48%) cited distractions and noise as a top concern. With multiple people sharing the space, workers may find themselves disturbed by the conversations taking place between others in the facility. Also, 48% of respondents said they found a lack of privacy to be challenging. Other challenges experienced in coworking places included:
Limited space for people to work and put their belongings (39%)
Insufficient equipment for work-related tasks (31%)
Inability to personalize one’s workspace as one might be able to do in a traditional office (31%)
Issues related to safety and security, such as insecure Wi-Fi connections and a lack of secure locations for personal property (23%)
There are various reasons why someone might choose a coworking space:
They might enjoy the sense of routine they get from working outside of the house for a set number of hours a day.
They might prefer to work in an office setting to avoid personal distractions such as young children at home.
There is even evidence that some workers are less productive when working from home. But no work arrangement is perfect. If you have the option to work anywhere, your choice should largely hinge upon where you feel most comfortable and where you are more likely to be the most productive.
Another factor to consider is cost: Coworking spaces aren’t free. While some employers may pay for employees to use coworking spaces, you may have to foot the bill on your own. If you do have to pay for a coworking space, make sure the cost doesn’t outweigh the potential benefits.
An earlier Clutch report found that most employees who have worked in a coworking space (77%) were satisfied with the experience. However, the new research found that aspects of working in them left much to be desired.