Being a freelancer is all about making important decisions. Which site to choose for finding freelance assignments? What field to specialize on? And most importantly, where should the base of operation be? Most people would immediately say ’at home,’ since home office work is what draws people to this kind of lifestyle to begin with.
However, there is another alternative more freelancers should consider: working from a coworking place in an office building, where you can be among other freelancers and workers of the new economy. Potential collaboration opportunities with others, the buzzing feeling of the workspace and a more distinct separation between work and home are some of the key advantages. So a more accurate question would be the following: what are the pros and cons of home office work and staying at a coworking place?
Inexpensive and Comfortable
Flexibility, freedom and no-cost space are the main selling points of working at home. By already owning or renting the place you save money that would’ve been spent on office space – including utility and communal fees – since your home is your office. The concept of a home office also grants you the greatest level of freedom: you manage your time the way you please – such as adding custom breaks to do, for instance, the groceries – and you have the option to pull a night shift if you wish to have the afternoon for yourself. In addition to that, using your place as an office means a more comfortable environment, as not only is everything at hand, but (as an unexpected extra) your favorite snacks won’t be eaten by other coworkers, too.
The Danger of Isolation
Unfortunately home office work isn’t without its downsides, including but not limited to the threat of slacking off on jobs and almost complete social isolation. Using your own home for work seems like the best thing in your life, but as time passes, you’ll find it harder and harder to concentrate by a constant bombardment of never-ending distractions.
Without direct supervision, remote workers are often tempted to waste valuable time on social media sites and make needless breaks, thus inevitably producing cheap quality end results. Sadly there is more: sooner or later the familiar environment could trap you in an unbreakable shell, separating you from interesting social interactions and, as a direct result, leading to home office workers feeling lonely outcasts.
Networking and Socializing
Co-working, the renting of a small office space, is on the other side of the scale and can be considered an ultimate motivator to work better. You are surrounded by like-minded people, who are more like friends in arms than actual coworkers whose work depends from yours. With coworking, the advantages of freelancing and a full-time job are combined: the coworking environment comes with far less distractions by putting you at an office-like mindset plus it adds the advantage of fully flexible work time to the mix, allowing early arrivals and leaves to avoid busy traffic periods.
Unlike freelancing, coworking is an extrovert’s dream, full of networking options with colleagues and many possibilities for brainstorming at the water dispenser during small breaks. And last but not least, having a coworking space – an office if you please – contributes to your image as a true entrepreneur.
No Country for Certain Freelancers
As with appointing your home as your base of work, being in a rented office isn’t just all sunshine and lollipops. First and foremost, coworking space costs a lot of money, especially if it’s a high-quality place situated in the heart of the city. In other words, the rental fee will likely be one of your highest overheads. At the same time you are more likely to eat out, buy a coffee on the go or go for fancy drinks after work, making the freelance life all the more nicer and all the more expensive.
Another thing to be taken into consideration is the lack of privacy: being surrounded by a large group of people – often in a fully open space – means that nothing you do remains a secret for long, which is one of the particular reasons full-time employees cannot stand office work. And to top it all, returning to the ‘real deal’ after a long time of home office work and being forced to withstand the noise and rowdiness of others could seriously damage your work efficiency.
Which One to Choose?
Hopefully we didn’t discourage you from doing home office work or switching to coworking – our intention was just to bring some new perspective to the question. To be fair, even pro freelancers hesitate when it comes to choosing between the two.
Our advice is that beginner freelancers and introverts should stick with the home office, while more business oriented individuals who crave human interaction and networking should choose coworking instead. Still, the best suggestion we could give is this: let your personal preferences choose for you and see how it works out. Most coworking spaces offer the opportunity to trial their office space and services, giving you the chance to find out yourself how it works out for you. You’ll quickly discover if it’s the right formula for you, experience tells best!
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