Some freelancers love working from home and have no problem getting their work done, but others find it tricky. Home can bring a myriad of distractions and for some people, it just doesn’t feel like a workplace, so they struggle to be productive.
If you’re a freelancer who feels working from home isn’t for you, either temporarily or long-term, then what are your options?
Co-working spaces are areas where you rent a desk or workspace in a larger area, alongside others doing the same thing. There’s usually a charge, although a few free co-working spaces are beginning to appear.
Some companies require a membership fee, which gives you access to all their co-working spaces, while others let you book a day or even just a morning; some offer hotdesking or dedicated working spaces.
It’s an idea that’s gaining popularity and momentum, but at the moment, co-working spaces are rarely found outside major cities.
If you do, however, you can check out our top picks of co-working spaces in Birmingham, London and Liverpool. While internet access is usually included, free coffee and biscuits could be your deal-breaker!
Rented office space
You can rent a small office of your own or a space in someone else’s office or building, although you may find it pricey. You might need to use it on a daily basis to make it worth the cost, so think carefully before committing yourself to a long-term rent.
There are fewer around than there used to be, and many have had their opening hours cut, but if you’re lucky enough to have a library nearby, they can make great workspaces. However, they’re not the strictly silent places they used to be, so unless they have dedicated silent or study areas, beware events such as Toddler’s Storytime and plan your schedule accordingly!
Coffee shops and cafes
Many coffees shops and cafes are more than happy to let you sit there and work, providing you buy relatively frequent drinks and don’t drag out your own packed lunch from your bag. You may help make a quiet place look busier!
If you need the internet, though, make sure you’ll have free and sufficient access, and they may (understandably) not be keen to let you charge your laptop or phone (not only because they’re paying the energy bill, but also because of their insurance terms and trailing wires). Pubs and hotel lounges or bars can also be cosy – and help you save on your heating bills in the winter!
Desk surfing or swapping
You’ve heard of couch surfing, so it won’t take much of an imaginative leap to work out what desk surfing is. If you have an obliging friend (or two?) with desk space or a home office that goes unused for much of the day, how about asking if you could use it? How this works will depend on your relationship, as obviously there’s a certain amount of trust involved.
You could offer to pay or offer a return service like babysitting or gardening. Perhaps you have a freelancing friend who also finds it hard to work in their home but could easily do so in yours. Why not swap? You probably won’t feel so compelled to do their laundry or washing-up when you hit a tough patch, so their house should be far less distracting.
A home (not for far) away from home
If there’s no space to shut yourself away from distractions inside your house, what about outside? If there’s room in your garden, it could be an ideal place for an office. The separation from your house could be all you need to ignore the siren call of the snack cupboard, TV, phone and domestic chores.
There are a huge range of styles, prices and sizes, depending on how much comfort you want and can afford, but it’s usually a lot cheaper than a loft conversion or conservatory!
Roald Dahl, Dylan Thomas and Virginia Woolf all worked in garden outbuildings of one kind or another, so if it was good enough for them, why not give it a try?
A not-so-holiday holiday home
Some freelancers like to escape to a caravan or holiday home, not for a break, but to work. Again, how practical this is will depend on your location and budget. Some freelancers book cheap rooms in hotels or B&Bs, others choose a caravan, and one freelancer I know has a beach hut. Read about Jane Holland’s beach hut and why she rented it, and who knows? You might be inspired to rent one of your own.
Have you tried one of these techniques when working from home? Leave a comment below and tell us what works for you!