Working freelance has a huge number of advantages: a work/life balance many would kill for, the freedom to choose exactly how you want to work, the luxury of being able to dictate your own prices, pay rises and bonuses, and the opportunity to get to the post office / bank / gym when everyone else is at work. One of the other plus-sides is the freedom to work in your pajamas all day if you want to, or indeed not get out of bed at all.
Although this sounds like heaven to those of us stuck in grey cubicles all day, forced to listen to Rhonda from HR’s gossip about Tim in Accounting while avoiding leery Jeremy from Marketing, large numbers of freelancers report feelings of loneliness and isolation when working alone from home, which often undermines all of the advantages for which they chose to go freelance in the first place. But there is an alternative option open to freelancers who can’t bear their own company any longer and are desperate for someone, anyone (other than the cat) to talk to, collaborate with or simply be around during their working day and that option is coworking.
So what are the advantages of coworking?
1. In a coworking space you are never alone
So the first and most obvious advantage of coworking is that you are never alone. You are surrounded by other like-minded freelancers who are looking for a little bit of company in their otherwise solitary working lives. You will find that if you join a coworking space you are not just signing up for a desk in a room, you become part of a community, with many coworking spaces hosting parties, social events and after work drinks. Also, if you were dying to get away from an office environment when you went freelance, you will probably notice how different your coworking space is from an office. You come and go as you please, everyone is generally polite and respectful (they are freelancers too, remember) and with no manager or boss looking over your shoulder, your productivity will soar
2. You don’t have to worry about your facilities
When you work for yourself you have to, always, have a stable internet connection. Without one you will lose jobs and clients very quickly. You will also need coffee. Once you are part of a coworking space you no longer need to worry about these two essentials, you will be connected from the moment you walk in the door to both internet and coffee before you’ve even said hello. In a coworking space you’ll also have a decent chair, with back-support, a nice desk and perhaps even a window! Although you might have hated your office environment in your permanent job, you’ll certainly appreciate some decent furniture when you’ve spent months sat with your computer on your lap on the sofa and your back is about ready to snap.
3. You’ll find more work
When you’ve spent all day on the sofa with the cat the number of potential clients you will have interacted with is precisely zero (unless Fluffy happens to be looking for a web developer!). However, plant yourself in a coworking space and you’ll be instantly surrounded by other freelancers who could potentially offer you work themselves, or pass work that they can’t do onto you. Coworking is excellent for networking and therefore excellent for your career. If you’re a web developer you’ll meet entrepreneurs who need programming skills, if you’re a UX designer you’ll soon be propositioned by developers, and so on. On the other side of the coin, if you need someone to do a job for you, you probably won’t even have to advertise! If there isn’t someone in your coworking space who’s qualified you’ll bet there’s someone there who knows someone who is!