Anyone working full-time at home or in an office knows that both environments can be periodically less than ideal for creative flow and overall work quality.
Working at home offers a great degree of autonomy and can eliminate the key negative issues of an office environment, but there are downsides that can get in the way of productivity and creativity. In surveys, at-home workers have pointed to such things as a lack of separation between work and personal environments, random distractions, feelings of isolation, and periodic lack of structure. "I often find myself wearing my sweats or bathrobe all day, while simultaneously trying to work, answering the doorbell and multitasking around the kids", said one respondent.
An office has all the necessary tech, communication infrastructure and materials, but these can come with a price. Travel time and expense are items high on the list of surveyed negatives. Entrenched office politics and personalities can be difficult to ignore. The exact same place and routine every day can be stultifying, and can diminish the freshness and creative spark needed in todays' climate.
Co-working spaces are a viable creativity-enhancing alternative. They've been described as “serendipity accelerators” by University of Lyon associate professor Bruno Moriset, and their value to the creative process and to overall work quality is increasingly apparent. Working within comfortably close proximity with people from varied company backgrounds and projects can have a positive effect on workflow, sparking exchanges of creative ideas and networking information. These collaborative exchanges can bring out the best quality of work, deepening the ability to think outside the "normal" parameters that are sometimes a part of the office structure. Interacting with others and seeing how they apply creative solutions to obstacles can increase the quality dynamics of one's creativity and problem-solving. There's also a broad collective spectrum of skillsets within a co-working environment. This is useful when you're stuck trying to find a solution to a problem, but don't have the adequate experience or knowledge. By networking with those in your co-working space, it's possible to outsource specific parts of projects that need someone with different expertise than yourself. This allows you to focus on the things that actually fall within your skills.
Balancing work life and home life is an ongoing struggle and can be detrimental to the creative process, while affecting work quality. Working at home makes it extremely difficult to separate the two, and commuting to an office can add stress and take up valuable time. A co-working space allows a separation of work and home, while often providing an atmosphere rich in ideas and exchange of concepts. Using a co-working space also forces you to stick to a more efficient work schedule and focus in a distraction-free environment. That's a great work motivator, and ultimately enables both creativity and work quality to flourish.