Flexible working, co-working and the home office


There are many ways of working today. The more traditional styles of working are still dominant. But, new ways of working are becoming more common. For example, flexible working, co-working and working from home. It’s great to have more flexibility in the way we work.

Flexible working pros and cons

Businesses around the world are embracing flexible working for employees. And it’s expected to become more popular. Flexible working laws vary around the world. But, the basic principle is employees and employers negotiate when and how work gets done.

Flexible working provides many benefits for both employees, employers and the environment. While there are downsides, the pros usually outweigh the cons. Susan M Heathfield’s article highlights some of the advantages and disadvantages of flexible work.

Running my own business means I get to play around with flexible working. I can choose where and when I work. Often, I work from my dining room table at home. Sometimes I work from a café. When working with a client, I’m able to negotiate the hours I work. And when I work at their office verses working from home.

Pros for employees:

  • Easier to meet family needs

  • Reduced travel time and fuel costs

  • Reduction in stress and burn out

  • Reduction in child care costs

Pros for employers:

  • Improved staff moral

  • Staff retention and ability to attract talented staff

  • Reduction in absenteeism and lateness

  • Extended hours of operation

Cons for employees:

  • People who prefer working in an office may not ‘get’ their ‘flexible work’ colleagues

  • Varying schedules can make working with others difficult

  • No clear boundaries between work and home

  • Friends and family may, unknowingly, impact on your ability to work at home

Cons for employers:

  • It’s harder to establish and maintain team dynamics

  • Some people abuse flexible work arrangements

  • Managers may have trouble adjusting to staff not being in the office

  • Clients may struggle when key staff members aren’t available

Co-working pros and cons

Co-working is a global trend and is catching on fast in New Zealand. In Auckland co-working space have almost doubled in 12 months. This increase isn’t restricted to the big cities. They’re popping up in small towns and rural areas. Some people think co-working is just a fad and others think it’s here to stay. This Stuff article, by Nikki MacDonald explores whether co-working is the future or a fashionable fad.

There’s a co-working office near my home so I test out ‘hot-desking’ for a few months. It’s beautifully fitted out, has stunning views of Auckland harbor and is full of cool people. I really enjoyed it and would love to co-work again.


  • A separation of work and home

  • Great locations and excellent facilities

  • Collaboration and knowledge sharing opportunities

  • Regular networking and social events

  • The buzz of cool people doing cool things


  • It can be hard to get to know people

  • Not enough people take advantage of networking opportunities

  • Co-working space can be expensive, and prices vary between places

  • You need to be extra careful with sensitive information and intellectual property

  • Competitors could end up in the same space

The home office pros and cons

Home businesses have been part of life for centuries. Today many employees remote work from home. I mostly work from home and love it for many reasons. But it also has challenges. It’s a constant battle to balance working long hours and getting off task. In this Stuff article, Jen Mead gives us six lessons about working from home


  • No commuting in peak hour traffic

  • It’s easy to fit in household tasks, exercise and appointments around work

  • Little or no cost to set up a work space

  • A proportion of your rates, power, insurance and mortgage interest is tax deductible. IRD’s Using your home for the business web page has more information

  • I’m not restricted by office hours and can work the days and hours that work for me

  • Being able to use my own nice clean bathroom


  • It’s easy to get distracted and get off task

  • It can be hard switch off and work late

  • It’s way too easy to snack when you get bored

  • Working in isolation can get hard

  • Your business work space can end up in your living space

What I’ve learned

  • In many countries, it’s law that employees can negotiate how, when and where they do their jobs

  • Co-working office spaces are becoming more popular all-over New Zealand

  • I loved working in a co-working office space and think they’re very cool places to work

  • There is no perfect way of working, and there are pros and cons to all styles of working

  • While I enjoy working from home I miss being around people and working in a team


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