The Freelancing market makes up 35% of the global workforce, which works out to 1.1 billion workers. In Europe Freelancing has grown by 45% between 2014 and 2019. Since this career path entails a lack of a traditional office, freelancers have a choice to make regarding their work environment. However, having more possibilities can complicate the decision-making, raising the question: What are the advantages and disadvantages of different working environments? We’re going to answer this question in this article, focusing on four of the most prominent working environments: home offices, cafes, executive suites and coworking spaces.
- Price: the most obvious advantage of working from home, it’s free.
- Convenience: set your own schedule and eliminate the commute entirely, you don’t even have to leave your bed.
- Comfort: a comfy couch can be your desk and pajama pants are completely appropriate office attire
- Work-life balance; a lack of clear borders and deadlines can make it difficult to focus. The transition from relaxing with a TV show to starting a project is rarely seamless.
- Distractions: kids, flatmates, pets, household chores… oh my
- Loneliness: there’s no one to chat with by the coffee machine, no one to celebrate your small victories with. Working from home can be lonely, being lonely can be depressing, and being depressed makes it hard to do your best work.
- Procrastination. Even if you don’t feel lonely, working alone removes many of the external social motivators and feedback that helps most people stay motivated and to stop you from watching just one more episode.
- Stagnated learning and professional development. It’s hard to find a mentor, a collaborator, a teacher, or just an answer to a simple question such as where to print business cards in the neighborhood when you’re at home all day.
- Work/life separation: just changing your place of work and getting out of the house will give you this separation.
- A motivating social atmosphere: sometimes just the mere presence of other people working on their laptops can provide a break from loneliness and the motivation to stay focused
- Refreshments: if you feel like rewarding yourself, cafes have no shortage of drinks and snacks.
- Distractions: music, loud customers, and the constant grinding of coffee beans, all create an environment that can be hard to focus in.
- Price: once you factor in the expensive drinks and food you end up buying, cafes can become a costly option.
- Reliability: Café WIFI connections are notoriously unreliable. Additionally, if the cafe is a popular working location, power outlets and even tables could be difficult to secure
- Stagnated learning and professional development: similar to working from home, cafes can lack meaningful networking interactions and professional growth opportunities.
- Work/life separation: private offices provide this change of location and separate ones work from their life
- Convenience: your set-up will remain in your office, no need to commute with it
- Professional environment: executive suites often provide many amenities and possess the infrastructure that facilitates one’s productivity (high-quality internet, good printers, mail receiving services, furniture, meeting rooms).
- Privacy and confidentiality: you can meet your customers in a professional location without having to worry about prying eyes or ears.
- Price: While they remove the initial cost and time that comes with setting up your own home office or unfurnished private office, they are definitely the most expensive option on a month-by-month basis.
- Location: executive suites are often located in the city centers or are part of the Central Business District.
- Work/life separation: just like the three previous entries, coworking spaces offer their users a chance to separate their life from their work.
- Professional infrastructure: coworking spaces provide professional work environments with resources like meeting rooms, printers, high-quality internet, and projectors.
- Location: coworking spaces are experiencing a surge in popularity, leading to more diverse locations like both city centers and residential areas.
- Variety: the work atmosphere of coworking spaces varies widely and can cater to most preferences. Coworking spaces can have a relaxed café-like atmosphere to a more executive-suite-like environment.
- The community: Coworking provides a space where you can work alongside other like-minded people, without any office politics. They tend to organize networking events and facilitate communication among members to build a sense of community and connectedness in ways that you’ll rarely find in an executive suite or at a café.
- Professional development opportunities: Coworking spaces offer opportunities for further learning and growth in one’s area of expertise. If you find yourself in a new country, the network of members can help you navigate the regional particularities of your profession.
- Security and storage: Unlike cafés or most libraries, you can store your personal belongings in lockers in the space and also feel more secure when leaving your laptop at your desk, knowing that the other people in the space are your colleagues.
- Flexibility: many coworking spaces offer a wide variety of memberships (1 day passes to multi-month commitments) making them suitable for visitors and longer-term city residents. Additionally, some of them may have 24/7 access adding work-time flexibility
- Value for price: Coworking spaces allow their members shared use of office infrastructure at a fraction of the cost they would pay while purchasing their own. Furthermore, members save money on refreshments, since many coworking spaces provide hot drinks for free.
- Distractions and lack of privacy: while coworking spaces facilitate fruitful interactions being surrounded by people inevitably leads to a lack of privacy and distractions.
|Home Office||Cafe||Executive Suite||Coworking Space|
While every work environment we covered has its advantages and disadvantages, the good news is that unlike working from a corporate office, as a freelancer, you really don’t have to choose! You can mix it up, working from home, cafés, the library, or a nice coworking space depending on your mood or needs. If you still don’t know whether which environment is right for you, we encourage you to give a couple of spaces a try! Why not start with a coworking space? You can get a free day at Locus, no strings attached. Better still, try us out for a month and get a real sense as to whether Locus is right for you! First-time members get 1000 Kc off a Full-Time Membership for the first month. Happy working!