Coffee Shop Or Coworking Space?

coffee shop office vs coworking spaces

In this new age of remote and flexible working, a growing number of people are shunning the idea of working full-time in an office, and looking for flexible working environments that allow for a better balance between office and home life. Some have opted to work full-time from home, with some mixing it up between their home and the old office. Other companies have opened up in coworking spaces that allow people to work in an office environment that’s closer to their home or easier to reach on public transport. 

Entrepreneurs who are starting businesses from their homes argue strongly against the needless expense of an office space, even a flexible coworking space, claiming that you can get all the benefits of an office by just setting up your computer in a coffee shop. But are they right? Is a coffee shop a good way to get the out-of-the-house workspace without increasing overheads and getting an office or renting a coworking desk? 

Coffee Shop: The Plan 

Last time we checked, there’s no rent chargeable on a coffee shop table. You can arrive in the morning, enjoy your favourite beverage while getting your work done, grab a sandwich and another cup for your lunch break, and then get a load more work done in the afternoon before heading home. You’ll likely bump into other professionals there and be able to network, too. This all seems better than the stress and overheads of running an office! 

Coffee Shop: The Reality 

First of all, your coffee shop office reality will cost you more than you know. Right now, in Australia, according to the Cafe Owners and Baristas Association of Australia, the average cost of a coffee is about $4, but that’s set to rise to $5 soon, and could hit as high as $7 if world events keep unfolding as they currently are. 

Taking the middle figure there of $5 a cup, and assuming you take the bare minimum of 2 cups of coffee in your pop-up office, then that’s $10 a day, right there, or $50 a week, $200 a month. 

Let’s say, however, that you throw in a blueberry bagel for breakfast at $4.50, maybe throw in a raspberry yoghurt and muesli pot because why not, right? Cafes and coffee shops wouldn't really appreciate you bringing your own food after all, or you might feel guilty of mooching off their free Wi-Fi daily. That’s another $4.50. At lunch, you keep it light with a spinach and feta croissant (another $8.50) and a custard tart ($5.50). That brings your daily total to a much steeper $33, or $165 a week, or $660 a month! 

OK, you might not get the same things every day, but that’s a fairly conservative estimate of one’s daily food and drink intake, and it doesn’t include transport costs to get to and from there. Gas prices are rising rapidly with no sign of slowing down. 

Coworking Space: The Expectation 

It’s quite normal to assume that if you’re moving into an office, it’s going to be an expensive and stressful deal. Besides the rent, there’s the phones, Internet, furniture, meeting room space, common space, and even a kitchen you have to install and manage. Nightmare, no? Who needs the agro? 

Coworking Space: The Reality 

This is the reason that coworking spaces exist. They help remove the financial risks of office use by first allowing you to use just however much space you need rather than estimating how much you need now and how much you’ll need soon and throwing all your money at it. 

Second, you don’t have to invest in phones, Internet, and other infrastructure because it’s all built into your office costs. Any additional rooms and facilities you need you can just hire as and when you want them. You’ll quickly find that the reality of a coworking space is less financially worrying even than an apparently “free” coffee shop space.

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