From the outside looking in, a career in freelancing appears glamorous, freeing, and the ultimate in work goals. Working to your own schedule from the comfort of your sofa can seem like the absolute dream setup, but for those in the know, it is far from the perfect home office.
While working from home can be liberating, to begin with, for the majority of freelancers it can quite quickly become a very big distraction that impedes productivity.
Over the years, we have spoken with hundreds of freelancers, and there seems to be a running theme when it comes to what brings them to a coworking office in the first place! Everything from the poor conversation at home (the cat has very little to contribute it turns out), to household distractions like washing up, vacuuming and of course – TV, have been real contributing factors to why working from home is not all it’s cracked up to be!
With the number of people opting for self-employment on the rise, it’s no surprise that the draw of a coworking office is stronger than ever.
There are a number of reasons why any professional may opt to work from a coworking office, particularly in places like London, which has been dubbed the global capital for coworking spaces. However, for freelancers, there is a specific set of benefits that we have picked up on over the years at Areaworks that are worth noting if you are currently going through your options as a freelancer!
Statistics have revealed that by 2020 approximately 40% of the coworking community will be freelancers, and with no sign of the coworking industry slowing down, it is as good a time as any to start considering alternatives to the “soft office” that is working from home!
But, what is in it for you? Today, we are going to be looking at some of the biggest reasons why you, as a freelancer, can benefit from a coworking office, and enjoy all of the perks on offer to improve your business and turn that lack of motivation round on its head!
#1 Propels Motivation
One of the biggest things we hear, as a coworking office is that working from home drains motivation. For anyone who has worked in your traditional office environment under the pressure of deadlines, targets and an overbearing boss, the idea of working from home being anything other than perfection may seem surreal. However, that being said, studies have actually shown that around 74% of those who have gone on to work in a coworking office are more productive in their work.
The fact of the matter is that coworking offices are specifically designed to encourage hard work and innovative thinking. From the desk space and the colour of the walls to the type of lighting and even what sort of coffee is on offer – it is all designed with motivation in mind.
When you step back and consider what the work setup is like from home, it’s a no brainer that the vast majority of freelancers struggle to stay motivated. With the call of the TV and that binge-worthy Netflix show too strong to resist, it can be all too easy to put work to one side for an hour, and then before you know it, another day is gone!
Whether you are easily distracted or not, a work environment that relies on your own structure can be a challenging one to thrive in, and that’s where the buzz of a coworking office comes in. It offers diversity, structure and a multi-functioning space for you to really get your head down.
#2 A Display of Professionalism
Even the most dedicated, driven and successful freelancer can face difficulties when they are working from home. When it comes to meetings with clients, receiving important packages and documents and the ability to be flexible, a home office can often fall short of the mark.
For any freelancer, their reputation relies solely on their shoulders, and without the reputable backup of an already established brand name behind them, appearances can go a long way. It is for this reason that the last thing any freelancer wants is to be hosting important meetings from the dining room at home, or worst still, avoiding meetings full stop.
Whilst coffee shops, bars and restaurants can all serve as suitable places to meet with clients, there is just some business that should be done in a professional office setup, and besides all that, the expenses can soon rack up!
Shared workspaces can offer an affordable place to run presentations, host meetings and even serves as a place away from home to receive work-related deliveries.
With statistics revealing that a huge 60% of freelancers felt more relaxed at home since moving to coworking, it certainly pays to have a work/life split, and this is something a good coworking office can offer.
#3 Avoiding Isolation
Whether you love to work in peace and quiet or not, we all appreciate a solitary environment every now and then to really knuckle down into work. Anyone who has worked in a traditional office will know how distracting it can be at times with other colleagues around and the general hubbub of office life going on, so sure, the idea of working from the peace and quiet of home can seem ideal!
However, despite the way homeworking appears, it is for so many freelancers a very isolating and lonely environment, which quickly leads to a lack of creativity and even feelings of self-doubt.
Co-authors of Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements found that most people require around six hours of daily social interaction in order to create a healthy sense of wellbeing. So, when we consider how much time a freelancer may spend alone each week when working from home, it’s no wonder that there is a consistent rise in the numbers opting to work from a coworking office.
68% of freelancers working in a coworking office were able to focus better on their work, and we have seen first-hand how the infectious atmosphere of like-minded people influences this.
Shared workspaces like ours offer freelancers a place to get on with their own work, with the freedom to choose whether they want to socialise or not. From cosy one-person nooks to big open desk spaces that are shared with others, freelancers have the autonomy to choose and can grow alongside their coworking colleagues in a healthy and driven environment.
#4 Invaluable Connections
For the majority of freelancers, one of the biggest challenges can be accessing information and other services. Unlike the traditional employee setup where management will often supply information, resources and skills where needed, a freelancer is tasked with taking everything on by themselves, and this can be a pretty trying task.
One of the most valuable assets a coworking office has to give is the free and easy access to a wealth of industries. In truth, shared workspaces like ours offer a diverse range of clients, all experts in different fields, and with many who will likely work in your specific area as well.
We have spoken before on how coworking helps you to network, and for a freelancer, this is even more relevant. As a common flaw of homeworking, many freelancers get used to a lack of human interaction, so the chance to connect with other professionals can really boost confidence and morale.
A huge 90% of freelancers felt more confident in themselves after working from a coworking office, and we have seen that a lot of this self-belief is born from making great professional and personal connections in the workplace. In addition, on top of these obvious benefits, there is also the likelihood that your services will be utilised by coworking colleagues, meaning the extra business potential for you.
#5 Saving The Pennies
Finally, and perhaps one of the most important points for many freelancers is finances. Now, let’s address the elephant in the room first and foremost; yes, working from home is obviously the cheapest way to run a freelancing business, that is a given! However, when you weigh up the benefits and attributes of a coworking office, there are some huge points to be considered when it comes to saving you money.
If you are brand new to freelancing, with a small handful of clients and a humble income, then working from home may still be working well for you. But what happens when your business starts to expand? Will you still be able to retain the high standards of your business when you have double or even triple the clients?
A coworking office provides freelancers with the opportunity to grow in their business, without having to pay out any huge amounts of money. You can meet with new and potential clients in a professional setup, bring on team members without the expenditure of your own office, and can even benefit from discounted business services through your coworking office.
50% of freelancers who work from a coworking office report a higher income, and with the no-strings-attached ethos of coworking, there really is nothing to lose by taking the plunge.
There is no doubt that opting to take your freelance business out of the home can be daunting. Not only is it stepping into the unknown, but it is also giving you a chance to showcase your business as you step into a professional office setting.
However, that being said, the benefits of coworking for freelancers are pretty endless, not to mention a lot more fun than working from the sofa! If you’re interested in having a look around one of our London coworking offices, then why not get in touch? We would love to take you on a tour!