Working from home can be amazing. You can sleep in, don’t have to worry about choosing an outfit, the morning commute is a breeze, and (depending upon your setup) you may be eligible for a tax break. Of course, there are downsides too. Let’s look at the downsides as well as some alternatives to working from home.
Getting Out of the House is a Good Idea
There can be downsides to living and working in the same space:
Distractions – Being at home means you’re surrounded by things you love and by all of those little household chores you need to take care of. So, it’s very easy to get preoccupied by non-work tasks, which will cut into your billable hours.
Separation of selves – For many, the commute to and from work serves as a distinct marker between their work life and their professional life. Working from home means that there’s not really a natural start or finish to the workday, so you may find yourself constantly thinking about work or you may have a hard time getting into a productive mode. In the morning.
Loneliness – Working at home means no co-workers, no water cooler chats,, and no office hustle and bustle. It’s just you and four walls.
One of the biggest benefits of being a freelancer is that you can work anywhere. Here are some are workspace alternatives that extend beyond your living room.
Coffee shops are practically synonymous with freelancing. Among the reasons why they make ideal workspaces are:
They’re everywhere - There are over 20,000 coffee shops in the US, which means if your favorite coffee house is too crowded, you can easily find an alternative work spot.
They have power and wi-fi (usually) – Most coffee shops are equipped with wi-fi and electrical outlets which mean it easy to use a laptop.
Access to good coffee – It’s very easy to get your caffeine fix for the day.
Creativity boost –According to a 2013 study, the ambient noise found in coffee houses is the perfect level for enhancing performance on creative tasks.
If you do decided to set up shop in a coffee house, be sure to at least buy something every couple of hours.
The Neighborhood Bar
There’s a growing trend of freelancers working from bars. At first glance, a bar may not seem like a great choice for getting work done. But think about it this way – a lot of bars have wi-fi, they’re generally pretty empty during peak office hours, and they often times have larger tables than coffee shops.
You’re probably wondering about the combination of work and alcohol. A lot of the freelancers that work form bars, stick to non-alcoholic beverages such as soft drinks, club soda, coffee, tea, etc. during the work hours. If you do feel like channeling your inner Don Draper, you may want to take a sober look at a recent study conducted at the University of Illinois at Chicago that found a positive link between alcohol and the creative problem solving.
A Public Library
If you’re someone who needs a quiet setting to be productive, then a library is the perfect venue for you. They offer large tables, wi-fi access, they’re free, and you’ll be surrounded by some of the greatest minds in the history of mankind.
- Networking – You’ll be surrounded by other freelancers, startups and entrepreneurs. This means you’ll have peers with whom you can brainstorm, commiserate and learn from. It also means that you’ll have access to people that could become clients.
- Education – A lot of coworking facilities will bring in speakers and host events that could help you to improve your business skills.
- A Place to Hang Your Hat – Unlike a lot of the other venues we’ve discussed, with a coworking space, you’ll be returning to the same spot every day, which means you can leave work materials in one spot rather than lugging them around every day.
Breather is mobile app that is kind of like Airbnb for temporary office space. You can book rooms by the hour or by the day. This can be a great solution if you don’t want to commit to a long term coworking space contact or if you need to conduct a business meeting. As of this posting, the services is only available in New York, San Francisco and Montreal, with plans to expand into more cities in the near future.
Your Own Hidden Gem
If you want to find a unique solution, you might want to download an app like Wi-Fi Finder, which lets you locate free and paid wireless connections in your area.
Do you have a great freelance workspace solution? If so, tell us about it on Twitter.