The freelance workforce is constantly growing, with experienced professionals from a variety of sectors shifting into new modes of operation as independent contractors. While the default “work from home” setup might be perfect for some, many new freelancers find a lack of a dedicated work environment unsustainable over time.
There are a number of reasons for this, the most common ones being a lack of inspiration, distractions at home, and plain old loneliness. Coworking has been gratefully adopted by the freelance community, and it’s not surprising why. As a freelancer, you’re essentially the single-human version of an entire company. The problem is that your resources often don’t reflect that of a company at all. Coworking can really assist in filling in the gaps, creating a complete business ecosystem around just one person and their services.
The Home Office Blues
The fact that a freelancer can work from home is seen as a significant cost-reduction factor in their business equation. The problem is that without making a focused effort in separating work from life at home, the two can become intertwined, and not in a good way. In terms of our career metabolisms, home is where we recharge, both mentally and physically. We rest, eat, nurture our relationships, and do whatever it is that we love to do in our spare time. For many freelancers, the work dynamic can ruin this almost holy personal space. And once it’s been tainted by the pressures and demands of work, it’s hard to win it back.
Leaving the house to go to a defined space for work is like a breath of fresh air for freelancers. It allows for a very clear boundary between the two mental states. Work means applying yourself, being focused and reaching targets. Home is for all the rest. Keeping them separate is key to a healthy work-life balance.
Look! Cool Office Stuff!
No matter how much you invest in your home office, whether it’s a corner in your living room or a separate room altogether, you probably aren’t going to have 5 different types of imported coffee, state-of-the-art conference equipment, an always-ready printer, luxurious meeting rooms, and wallpaper picked out by a trendy interior designer. Even if you do, that stuff needs to be bought and requires maintenance, which eats into your valuable time and budget. By coworking, freelancers get access to an environment that is decked out in the latest equipment and amenities. It saves money, but even more importantly, it saves you a major headache.
Lonely, I am So Lonely…
Besides the occasional meeting with clients, freelancers end up spending a lot of time alone. Not only can that become depressing, but it can also be quite harmful to our levels of motivation, inspiration, and creativity. Humans are social animals on the whole. We are sensitive to shared rhythms. A bustling coworking space can do wonders for pushing freelancers to join in a vibrant rhythm of work and really get the creative juices flowing. Seeing others knuckle down for some hardcore task-related sessions can also be vital in upping your determination to hit those hard-to-reach targets. Leading coworking spaces invest a lot in their communities, holding regular events that enrich their members on a social and professional level.
Where It’s At
Coworking spaces are often situated in the most vibrant and illustrious parts of a city, but more importantly, in areas that harbor leading businesses. As a freelancer, this can be pivotal as it positions you at a junction where companies are hustling to grow. When they need the type of service you offer, you’ll be right there to provide it. This takes care of one of the most important parts of being a freelancer — getting new clients. At a coworking space, to take care of “networking”, you just have to show up with a smile and be open to meeting new people.
By being exposed to other projects and fields, a freelancer has the opportunity to explore many new directions that otherwise may not have even come to mind. A casual conversation in the kitchen can become a fruitful collaboration. A shared beer at an after-hours event can lead to some invaluable advice.
There really is a lot for a freelancer to gain from coworking. It’s a truly healthy work environment that’s easy to adapt to, and by leaving the home intact as a place of rest and recreation, it’s vital in helping to maintain a work-life balance.