Many small business owners and sole traders find working from home an attractive option thanks to low overheads and minimal setup costs – and the very short commute!

But there can be some downsides to working from home, too. Here we look at ways that a co-working space could improve your business and perhaps even contribute to its growth.

Separation of work and home

This is a skill some people are able to master by having a dedicated room in the home for their ‘office’, setting strict working hours and limiting their distractions.

Others find it very difficult, especially if there are young children at home, their office is simply a desk in their bedroom or communal living spaces, or if they live with a flatmate.

By physically leaving the home to work, even if it’s just for a day or two a week, it’s much easier to slip into a working mindset and increase your productivity.

Meet and greet

One of the biggest downsides of working from home for a customer or client-based business is where to meet clients. If you have a separate studio or home office, this might not be such a problem. However if you work from the family home or a shared house, you do need to think about first impressions when meeting new clients. Visiting a home office may seem too personal, and meeting in a cafe can be too noisy and even inappropriate if you are discussing confidential information.

Co-working spaces offer professional meeting rooms at an affordable hourly rate, and you can make the most of on-site technology for client presentations.

There’s also excellent opportunities to boost your business by using meeting rooms to host seminars or workshops. Co-working spaces regularly host training events by guest speakers so users can tap into these to expand their business knowledge – it’s much more fun than YouTube.

Avoid the inevitable isolation

Working from home can suit many people for many reasons, and working alone can be a coveted situation for many. But there are also those people who have started their own businesses after seeking a career change, or being made redundant, who aren’t used to the solitude of a home office. They may miss the communal office atmosphere, and feel isolated without other people to use as sounding boards or simply thave a coffee with.

The beauty of a co-working space if that you can choose the level of interaction you have with others.

If you feel like having an in-depth discussion about the latest updates in accounting software (or maybe just the footy results from the weekend) you can. Or if you just want to put your head down and get stuff done with a few minutes of small talk around the water cooler thrown in, you can do that too.

Collaboration and inspiration

This is a natural segue from the point above. Operating your business within your own home ‘bubble’ means you might not always be aware of the opportunities to learn from other business owners and potentially collaborate to grow your own operation.

Many business owners who meet within co-working spaces use each other’s services and build referral networks which in turn increase customers and profitability.

New ventures have also been formed directly as a result of business owners coming together and discovering a shared passion or purpose, and decide to work together towards a joint, beneficial goal.

The cash factor

Sure, there is a cost involved with taking a spot at a co-working hub, but most may not be aware that cost is fully tax-deductible. That’s not the case for anyone who works from the family home which is mortgaged. The Australian Tax Office has strict laws regarding deductions for those people who choose to set up a home office and work there exclusively.

And if you rent your home, you can only claim the percentage of the home in which you work – and that, sadly, does not include the bathroom or the kitchen.

Using a co-working facility is also much more affordable than trying to lease your own office space, even if you live in a regional area.

Business Hub at Queenscliff Marina is now inviting local business owners to provide valuable feedback about what the space can offer them. Those who register their interest and take a tour will have the chance to win three months’ free use after the Hub launches. For more details email, call 1300 643 375 or visit our website: