Co-op Offices, Home Offices, Coffee Shops or the Beach: Where Do You Work From?

Freelancing is usually synonymous with pyjamas and furry friends as your co-workers/supervisors.

But it’s not all hobo appearances and loneliness so crushing you start drawing on the walls in crayon so you can make a 2-D wall family. (As much as you talk to Pirate Steve, he just won’t talk back. And if he does, you really have problems.)

There’s also a belief that freelancing or working from home can make you less productive.

But contrary to popular belief, freelancing can actually make you more productive. A study reported in Business News Daily found that 70 percent of those surveyed said they are happier freelancing and 79 percent said they’re more productive as a freelancer over being a full-time employee.

There are tons of creative freelance work environments out there, all catered to how different people work best, whether it’s with the soothing sounds of nature, in complete isolation so you can focus or in shared spaces that allow you to be among humans.

Co-op offices

One of the biggest trends in recent years is co-op working spaces for freelancers and other self-employed people. It’s where different workers share the cost of a more traditional working space. Some spaces are also heavy on work collaboration, making it a great opportunity if you love to work with and around others. It’s a great way to strike out on your own, but keep the social element.

As an example of such a working environment, The Guardian reported on a collaboration space between music teachers. The local authority closed down the instrumental teaching service, so Swindon Music Co-operative was born.

Director Janet Hodgson told The Guardian: “We collectively work to share ideas, enabling teachers to meet each other, support each other with resources and carry out training sessions. We also set tuition rates each year for parents and pay rates for teachers.”

Home office

Co-ops are a good option for people who want the extra social element and the benefits that come with collaboration, but if you left the traditional work world because you wanted more time to focus by yourself, the home office is still a viable option.

There are a number of reasons to go for the traditional work-from-home office:

  • You work best alone and the quiet time in the day helps you focus.
  • You have children, older family members or pets you want to care for between your work.
  • You want to save on the overhead that can come with office space.

For instance, working from home is great for me because I have a quiet house to work in while my husband is at work. I work best without distractions.

When I first started freelancing, I was shocked at how much work I could get done at home when you took unscheduled phone calls, meetings and having to run things past management out of the mix.

Plus we can deduct the home office in our taxes.

Coffee shops

Working from a coffee shop is a good halfway point between the two options above. You get out among people, but they’re generally going to leave you alone.

Plus, there’s something exciting about following the image of the digital nomad building their empire from a laptop in a coffee shop.

This isn’t a great option if you can’t tolerate any background noise while you work, though. But some people actually find it beneficial.

Moderate background noise can actually help fuel those creative juices. A study in the Journal of Consumer Research stated:

“Results from five experiments demonstrate that a moderate (70 dB) versus low (50 dB) level of ambient noise enhances performance on creative tasks and increases the buying likelihood of innovative products. A high level of noise (85 dB), on the other hand, hurts creativity. Process measures reveal that a moderate (vs. low) level of noise increases processing difficulty, inducing a higher construal level and thus promoting abstract processing, which subsequently leads to higher creativity.”

Basically, with moderate ambient noise like you’d find in a coffee shop, the brain has to work to drown out the ambient noise, tripping it into a higher degree of creativity. It’s a similar concept to studying better with background music.

Tropical relocation

And here’s the ultimate in freelancer dreams: doing engaging and interesting work as the sound of waves soothes you in the background and sea breeze invigorates you.

Freelancers are making this a reality. Alex Singleton details his travels in South East Asia at go media:

“After those first few days though I had a realization — I’d had WiFi connection everywhere I’d been.

I’m not just talking bars and restaurants here (although each and every one of those has their own network), the whole of Hội An actually has a giant network that you can connect to, just to make sure you’re still able to send those tweets between cafes. One of the days I actually decided to rent a motorbike (which was all of $3 for the day) and see if I could find the coast. It took me maybe ten minuets to reach a stunning almost deserted beach and guess what I found? Free WiFi.

It was insane, I was in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited, I couldn’t seem to actually spend my money everything was so cheap and I could genuinely have worked from the beach.”

And over at FastCompany, Jeanna Barrett details how she left Silicon Valley to work in the Caribbean month-by-month. This is happening.

A work shed

Maybe the beach, a co-op or a coffee shop would be too distracting for you. Maybe to you, the beach is purely for play. But your house is overrun with loud family members all hours of the day.

Enter the work shed, a trend among the writer types.

No, you’re not trying to complete your work next to the lawnmower. These beauties are fully functional offices, complete with computer desks, bookshelves and actual windows.

Author Chuck Wendig did a wonderful job of detailing his writing shed (which is dubbed “The Myth Lab”) at his blog terribleminds. He needed a separate space so he could get work done apart from the constant ball of energy that is his kid.

He also mentions that one of the neat features is that his emails and social media notices go to his phone in the house, leaving him to do his actual work in the shed. It’s a neat productivity hack if you tend to get bogged down by digital communications while you’re trying to meet a deadline.

All this illustrates a wonderful truth of freelancing: whether you like to hole yourself up in the woods alone to create your mad genius or you’d really like to stay in the bustle of it all, or somewhere in between, there’s a freelancing environment for you.

Source: Medium:Remote Working
Co-op Offices, Home Offices, Coffee Shops or the Beach: Where Do You Work From?

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