With a wealth of choices including home offices, coffee shops, libraries, or co-working venues available it’s difficult to know the best option for getting stuff done.
To help you, we’ve put together some of the pros and cons of each of the most popular choices.
Working from home
By far the most popular choice for those just starting out, working from home is cost-effective and reasonably hassle-free. After all, are there many other places where you can work in your pyjamas at 10am, surrounded by creature comforts?
With most contractors working from laptops or tablets, you don’t even need a dedicated room to work from – the kitchen table or sofa will do just fine.
Of course, there are downsides too. You might struggle to stay motivated at home, and many people find it difficult to switch off after the working day is done.
- It is by far the cheapest option for anyone starting out
- You can be totally flexible concerning your working hours
- There’s no long (or expensive) commute required
- It’s very easy to get distracted by domestic stuff like doing the dishes or watching TV
- If you’re at home on your own, it can feel a bit isolating
- You’ll need to find an alternative venue for client meetings
Coffee shops and cafes
Perhaps the most popular choice for freelancers or contractors is working out of a local coffee shop or cafe. It gets you out of the house, and the general buzz of being around people often helps you to focus on your work.
That said, there are shortcomings with this option. At busy times you might struggle to get a table, and you’ll probably end up drinking quite a lot of expensive coffee. On top of this, the Wi-Fi gods can sometimes let you down, and you’ll be left begging the barista to reset the router.
- The ambience of a cafe or coffee shop can help foster productivity
- It’s a relatively cheap option (providing you have some willpower!)
- Every town and city in the UK has a wide range of choices when it comes to cafes, so you’ll always have plenty of choices
- You might feel awkward if you’re there for prolonged periods
- Toilet breaks can be frustrating if you have to pack all your stuff away
- Public Wi-Fi tends to be less reliable than that of a dedicated workplace
In many of the UK’s larger towns and cities, some libraries are excellent work spaces for freelancer or contractors. They are generally quiet, inspiring places and the large majority now have dedicated cubicles with Wi-Fi access. And, of course, membership to a local library is free, so you’re getting all this for nothing.
The library life is far from perfect, however. Those quiet booths tend to be popular, so you might well find yourself waiting for someone to leave before you can get to work. Also, the Wi-Fi in public libraries isn’t known for its stability or speed so you might end up using the 4G on your phone.
- Many libraries (particularly in the major cities) are beautiful, inspiring places
- Membership is free at virtually all libraries in the UK
- The tranquil environment will help you to focus on getting work done
- At peak times it can be hard to get a booth or somewhere to set up
- The quiet atmosphere can be slightly off-putting for some people
- You’ll probably end up using mobile data to get online as the Wi-Fi can be slow
Virtually unheard of a few years ago, coworking spaces are now popping up at a rate of knots all over the UK. From big names such as WeWork and The Brew, through to boutique offerings like Manchester’s Ziferblat or Duke Studios in Leeds – there’s a wealth of choice for the freelancer.
They’re the perfect option for someone who wants all the amenities of an office, without the financial strain of a rental contract.
However, although coworking spaces undeniably have a buzz about them, it can sometimes distract you from getting things done. Similarly, they tend to be open plan so getting a private space for client calls can be difficult.
- Coworking spaces are full of people in a similar situation, making them perfect for networking
- You can get nearly all the benefits of your own office at a much lower cost
- For a fee you can book out meeting rooms at most coworking places, making them perfect for client meetings
- Although cheaper than renting an office, it’s still by far the most expensive option in our list
- The opportunities to network and chat with other business owners can reduce productivity
- Most coworking spaces feature an open plan layout, which won’t suit some people
With freelance contracting and non-traditional working methods becoming more popular, we expect the range of choices to grow even more in the near future. But, for now, we hope this list has helped give you some ideas on some of the places you can get down to business.
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