If all you need to pursue your freelance career is a laptop, it may be hard to see the appeal of co-working spaces. You don’t need one! That corner of the dining-room table is perfectly fine!
But as nice as your dining-room table is, co-working spaces have a few advantages that may not have occurred to you.
They can offer fewer distractions than home
Now, you may be lucky. You may be one of these freelancers who has the house to themselves all day, with family and friends who understand that freelancing is a Real Job and leave you alone, even when you are Working from Home.
Your mobile may sit beside you in silence except for work-related emails and calls. You may be completely free of visits from people trying to sell you windows, patios, gutter-cleaning and religion.
Your home phone may not be bombarded with calls from people trying to persuade you that you’ve had an accident or just need to answer 145 simple questions.
The housework, that gripping book you’re halfway through, the biscuit tin, that friend who lives opposite and is always free for coffee; none of them may lure you away from your work.
If all that’s true, then you are a rare species indeed. For many of us, our homes can be full of distractions and sometimes just too darn homely. Co-working spaces may be full of other people, but they’re not full of your nearest and dearest, your bookshelves, teetering piles of guilt-inducing dirty clothes and a year’s supply of digestives.
And that, my friends, is an advantage.
It’s an economical option
Of course, some people do avoid the problems of working from home by renting an office. But co-working spaces tend to be much cheaper. Often, they’ll have better wi-fi, and some even have free hot drinks and, er, biscuits.
A change will do you good
We all need a change of environment and habit now and then to ensure we’re not becoming jaded and stuck in a rut. Not only will a co-working space make a change from working from home, but there are also co-working schemes that offer a choice of locations.
You can change location just for the sake of it or because it’s conveniently close by to a meeting you have booked, perhaps, or a lunch date with a friend.
It’s certainly more exciting than moving to the other end of the dining room table.
You might get more work done
Even if your home is quiet, we all know that peace and quiet don’t always guarantee productivity. And at home, there’s nobody to see you slack off or get distracted. Being surrounded by other people who are being productive may inspire you (or guilt you) into being more productive yourself.
You’ll find company and companionship
Whether you chat to your fellow co-working space users is up to you, but even if you don’t, working among other people can make you feel less lonely and more motivated. Even a quick smile over the coffee jug can make you feel more connected to the real world.
If you do talk to them, then who knows – you might make a new friend or two. Isolation isn’t great for our mental health or our productivity.
They can offer networking opportunities
Co-working spaces bring many people from many different professions and companies together. They can be a great place to learn and make connections; to seek advice, give advice and find new opportunities and potential partnerships.
Don’t forget, you don’t have to have an all-or-nothing approach to co-working spaces. There are usually options to use them as much or as little as you like, so you could use them just one day a week of you like – or whenever you want a change of scenery or can’t work at home for some reason.