Beware the “Home Office”
It's never been easier to work from home. For under $2,000, just about anyone can fully outfit a home office in a single afternoon: laptop, printer, scanner, wi-fi. Plug in, power up, produce —that's it. You're in business!
Yes, but. It is equally true that one can easily and quickly face the work-at-home blahs. But let's wait on that for as moment. First the good news:
Working from home is cheap, easy, and convenient. When it's time for lunch, you can open the fridge and grab a snack. When it's break time, take a load off in your favorite chair. When you're feeling tired, go take a nap in your own bed. When work is overwhelming, then call it quits and clean the kitchen or the bathroom, fold your laundry—and hey, haven't you been meaning to detail your car?
Sweet! Or is it?
When work is slow or frustrating in your home office, it's easy to distract yourself with household tasks…
Sure, it's great to roll right out of bed and bring your coffee from the kitchen to your desk, but working from home can be, well, overwhelming, not to mention lonely. Your home is full of distractions. Everywhere you look you see a to-do list. And when work is slow or boring or frustrating, it's easy to distract yourself with household tasks, rather that putting your nose to the grindstone.
And by the same token, if you work from home, then you may find it difficult to power down—your work day never ends because you never leave the office. You live, sleep, shower, work, and eat in your “home office.”
Maybe you are ready for an independent work space. Welcome to the world of co-working.
Co-Working for the self-employed, home-based business
For freelancers, one increasingly common answer to the “home office” conundrum is “co-working” in a shared office. Co-working is exactly what it sounds like: a group of individuals gathering in a shared space to work independently.
Co-working spaces are a relatively new phenomenon. The first co-working spaces were founded in the late 1990s by tech entrepreneurs seeing an alternative to the isolation of the home office. Within a decade, dedicated co-working spaces began popping up in every major city.
So why do they work?
Because co-working isn't just about the space. Shared offices allows professionals of all kinds—artists, entrepreneurs, freelancers, inventors—to build a supportive, functional community. Often, individuals who share a co-working space also share a set of core values. That is pretty cool.
Coworkers might engage in “open source” collaboration by inviting comments, criticism, or suggestions from their neighbors. In this way, a co-working space not only frees you from the distractions of your home office, but it also encourages you to build a dynamic business network with a group of like-minded individuals.
Flexible, Inexpensive, Easy
Most shared office spaces have a few common features: IT support, post services, 24-hour access, kitchen facilities, and storage. You can rent a single desk or a larger portion of the office—whatever you need. Show up any time, day or night, after all — this is your office, after all.
Shared offices aren't for everyone. Depending on the nature of your business (and your personality), you may find co-working spaces prohibitive or distracting. But for a lot of freelancers, moving into a shared working space can reinvigorate their business. You get all the energy, all the benefits of business contacts and collaboration, but you get to keep your sense of independence.
Not to mention: co-working can be a lot of fun! And you'll have a coworker or two to high five when the work day's done!
Have you discovered the benefits of sharing an office when you're self-employed? Why not write a blog post about your story, and send it to us today?