Freelance work: the benefits of coworking versus homeworking
An attractive alternative to a regular desk job, freelance work is the wave of the future. It offers tremendous benefits and flexibility that you don’t get with a traditional 9-to-5 job. It is no surprise that, since 2008, the number of freelancers, independent workers and self-employed people in the UK has risen exponentially.
As a freelancer, you are your own boss and answer to no one, other than your clients. Freelancing means professional freedom and gives you the chance of:
- operating on your own terms;
- controlling your workload;
- choosing what you do and how to do it, as you are no longer working to fit into an imposed modus operandi that might put you under physical stress;
- setting your routine work hours around your most productive time;
- working for clients across the globe, as you are not geographically limited to serving only local clients;
- choosing the clients you wish to work with and the projects to work on;
- dropping difficult, slow-paying clients, if you want to.
Freelancing can be a lonely business, though. Most freelancers work from home and it can be hard for them to draw the line between work and personal life.
For some office-bound workers, working from home and reducing their commute to zero is the appeal of freelance work, but for most people working alone can result in endless procrastination, too many distractions, working longer hours and getting terribly lonely.
All alone, it is easy to slack off and get sidetracked by children needing attention every 30 seconds, household chores piling up, deliveries, TV, pets and the couch begging to be napped on. It takes extreme discipline to ignore the multitude of distractions at home that deter you from being as efficient and productive as you would like.
Coworking is an easy fix. A relatively new arrangement, coworking spaces offer shared working environments to freelancers, startup founders, digital nomads, remote employees and self-employed workers who want to break free from the isolation, boredom and distractions of homeworking.
If you respond well to physically getting out of your house and going to work, then you could be better off leaving your dining room table behind and moving into a coworking space. Done properly, coworking can provide the advantages of an office space, without the expense, hassle and rigid formality of being trapped in a traditional workplace.
So, here are the main benefits of coworking.
1. Avoiding loneliness, boredom and alienation
One of the main plus points of coworking is enjoying the company of other like-minded peers. Working at home can have an isolating and alienating effect, while having other human beings around makes you feel happier, more productive and less lonely. Even if you are working by yourself, you are surrounded by brilliant people and this definitely makes your day more energizing and fun.
2. Greater motivation
Productivity spikes when you are working across the desk from other people, as you can learn from each other. Coworking spaces can be a great place to find someone to learn from, share expertise with and improve your skill set. Background activity enhances concentration and working alongside other professionals can be a big motivator for those coming from a work-at-home situation.
3. A professional venue, address, outlook and meeting space
Coworking puts you in a professional, ready-to-work frame of mind, which disciplines your approach to freelance work and makes you take yourself and your business more seriously than working at home semi-nude or in your pajamas.
If you have an important meeting with potential clients, partners or investors, your living room or the loud coffee shop around the corner may not be the best places to impress them, but a beautifully designed office with a swanky meeting room with whiteboard and conferencing tools surely is.
Furthermore, a coworking space lets you have a professional office address for receiving mail and packages, without having to put your home address on your business cards and website if you don’t want to.
4. Networking and collaborating
Coworking allows you to become part of a bustling community of professionals with different skill set, and collaborate with a wide range of bright minds. There is collaborative energy, entrepreneurial spirit and a sense of camaraderie in every coworking space.
Working amidst smart professionals from diverse backgrounds, from copywriters and graphic designers to filmmakers and web developers, can help you break out of your comfort zone and discover new sources of ideas.
Coworking gives you more quality social interaction and the chance to meet potential partners, collaborators, investors and technical experts from other fields. You never know how far a connection can take you.
Instead of bearing the cost of a traditional office space, you share the cost with other members. In a fully equipped coworking space, you have the resources you need right there, from copier and scanner to printers, coffee machine and high-speed Wi-Fi.
Workshops, office supplies and networking events for making connections are usually included in your rent. The financial costs of using a shared workspace are much lower than the benefits it creates.
6. Get your work-life balance right
If your bedroom, garage or kitchen table are covered in files, you often find yourself not having had dinner yet at 1o:30pm and find it hard to switch off from work in the evening, a dedicated coworking space may be a better option for you than working from home, as it promotes a healthier work-life balance.
Moving into a coworking space may help you reestablish your idea of home as a place of respite and relaxation.