Why Freelancers Benefit From Coworking Spaces
Why isn’t working from home the stress-free, commute-less, pajama-clad paradise I had always expected? Unfortunately, large numbers of freelancers ask this question and come to the same sobering realization–that home-working can be lonely, isolating, distracting and demotivating.
Many of those working from home come to the unwanted conclusion that their enterprise may well end up suffering from them being cooped up at home. Of course, many freelancers do flourish at home and the advantages are clear: no office rental, no stressful commute, and no depressing cubicle. However, for a large proportion of home-workers the pitfalls far outweigh the benefits and often the benefits aren’t actually so beneficial for business.
The lack of human interaction can leave freelancers feeling isolated and lonely. Although avoiding office politics and horrible bosses seems heavenly, we do need human interaction to keep our spirits up and this will always be harder to achieve at home. At first, the comforts of home might seem like a luxury, but they can soon become distracting and demotivating. Lying on the couch in your pajamas on Monday morning (as you probably did on your lazy Sunday afternoon) hardly arouses the entrepreneurial, go-getter spirit necessary to succeed. On top of this, the distractions and chores of the home will make it harder to focus on your tasks. Although the commute and the office may feel miserable, the delineation between home-life and work-life is actually key to help us work properly as well as relax properly.
The massive rise of coworking is in part because coworking spaces offer freelancers a solution to these problems. As the remote workforce continues to grow, more and more workers will likely choose coworking spaces. That the growth of coworking shows no signs of slowing, not only serves to prove that these spaces offer a solution to the home-workers woes, but that they are beneficial to freelancers in general for a number of reasons.
Those who spend time in coworking spaces consistently report increases in their productivity. This increase in productivity is likely a direct result of the fact that coworking spaces offer the opposite of the demotivating aspects of homework. They give freelancers the opportunity to get up and out of the house in the morning and head to a real workplace– instead of heading back to the couch. Once at the coworking space, freelancers won’t be distracted by the chores of home, but will instead be invigorated by the vibrant and professional atmosphere. Rather than only having their cat for company, freelancers will be surrounded by entrepreneurs and freelancers whose spirit will be infectious.
This combination of structure, focus, and the positive working atmosphere is what essentially guarantees a marked improvement in productivity to the average freelancer. Coworking spaces were set up to maintain the freedom that freelancers enjoy, whilst also providing them with the structure and community necessary to succeed. Maintaining a structured and disciplined work day whilst at home can be a surprisingly difficult task, whereas the inbuilt structure of a coworking space will provide that marked improvement in productivity.
Clearly, working from home is cheaper than working from a coworking space. The advantage of not having to pay for your workspace is obvious and undeniable. However, it’s when that space can no longer be described as a workspace that its cost-effectiveness becomes less clear. Not being able to focus and concentrate can soon have a detrimental effect on your output, which could, in turn, have a detrimental effect on your earnings. It may well be the case that paying for a coworking space is more cost-effective than not.
Firstly, shared offices are the most cost-effective office option, especially for freelancers or startups. Additionally, they have flexible terms meaning freelancers can pay to use them as little as once or twice a month if this is all they can afford. Secondly, as mentioned, the ability to focus properly will make your output better which only has positive ramifications when it comes to your earning power. On top of this, the networking opportunities available are so vast that they could massively help grow your enterprise. Lastly, coworking spaces are often built to help their members succeed and, as a result, earn more money.
This is why coworking spaces, although clearly more expensive than home-working, should be looked at like investments into your business or enterprise.
Whereas home-workers are likely to become isolated or lonely, coworkers are in constant contact with like-minded, motivated people. However comfortable with working alone you may be, we are social creatures and isolation will soon become problematic for any freelancer. Coworking offers a clear and obvious solution to this problem. By joining a coworking space you will share your workspace with people just like you and create business relationships as well as personal friendships. Rather than ending the day feeling tired and desperate for company, you will have spent the day enjoying interactions with fun and inspiring freelancers like yourself.
Many may respond that one of the advantages of working from home is avoiding office politics and unpleasant colleagues. This seems fair enough, but things really are different in a coworking space. Coworkers are not forced to be together, they choose to be together. Coworkers are not forced to collaborate, they choose to do so. The typical hierarchies of traditional offices aren’t found in coworking spaces. It’s a combination of these hierarchies and workers being forced together that tends to fuel office problems. Coworkers, on the other hand, essentially all work for themselves thereby eliminating any hierarchy relationships in the space. After that, everyone is free to interact with whomever they do or don’t want.
As has become clear, the networking and collaborative opportunities are abundant in coworking spaces. Gaining contacts can be vital for the success of your enterprise, whatever it may be. Creating professional contacts can feel impossible when working from home, whereas people who join coworking spaces often cannot help but build their network. The spaces are essentially designed to foster interactions with your co-workers. Coworking spaces will often host events and functions, which only helps facilitate this atmosphere and makes it easy for coworkers to get to know their fellow members.
Freelancers who don’t feel well-versed in the business practice of networking can join coworking spaces and network without even realizing they are doing so. The advantages of these networking opportunities are enormous for burgeoning enterprises. Numerous startups, businesses, collaborations, and deals have sprung up as a result of interactions in coworking spaces. Best of all, these interactions won’t feel like uncomfortable, forced ‘networking opportunities’ but, more often than not, friendly interactions with your desk mates that blossom into something bigger.
Coworking spaces offer freelancers a sense of professionalism which is simply unavailable when working from home. By offering meeting rooms, secretarial staff, and a professional office address, coworking spaces give freelancers an appearance of professionalism that might just be necessary for winning work. Whether it is fair or not, prospective clients are far more likely to work with freelancers or startups if they have these professional airs. A professional, impressive meeting room is clearly preferable to a loud, busy café when trying to drum up business.
Coworking spaces are built with the intention of supporting their members. So, rather than feeling alone or confused, freelancers feel supported by their workplace provider. Not only will your fellow coworkers and office managers help with advice, but the space will often host talks and events by experts. Access to these events and these people gives freelancers an opportunity to learn more about their business and how to grow their operation.