Freelancing is a Lonely Business: Should I get an Office Space or Work from Home?

June 10th, 2014

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It’s one of those big questions you face as a freelancer, both when you start out and when you’re a seasoned pro; “Should I get an office space or work from home?”.

It may be that you’re debating spending that £200+ a month on an office space, feeling that it might be a waste of money when you have a perfectly good desk at home. Or maybe being a freelancer you feel it’s the dream to be able to work from home so you should take advantage of that.

There’s no right answer, what suits one person may not suit another, but I’m all for working from an office space, and here’s why:

Office Pro #1: Getting out of the house.

It may sound like the most obvious reason you’d ever hear, but getting out of the house when you work for yourself is so important. Going to work each morning and coming home at the end of the day makes your separation between home life and work life so much easier to define.

Office Pro #2: Relieve relationship stress.

Working from home can put strain on a relationship; if you have a partner who works normal office hours, the likeliness is when they finish work they will want to come home an relax. However, if you have been working in the house all day, the likeliness is you’ll want to be out of the house, feel restless or feel the urge to carry on working. Having an office space to go to means you’re more likely to feel relaxed when at home and not stuck in work mode.

Office Pro #3: Meeting new people and collaborating.

I work in a co-working studio where there are several other companies and freelancers working there. We often share work, socialise together and help each other out with issues surrounding work. Being a freelancer from home can be a lonely business and having likeminded people around to support you can make all the difference on both good days and bad. Share your success and confide in others when things aren’t going so well. It’s the best thing about sharing an office space.

Office Pro #4: Increase in business.

Since working in an office and having a physical space to bring clients to for meetings I’ve found business has increased by at least 25% since I stopped working from home. This may be coincidence, but speaking to fellow freelancers and small agencies at networking groups the resounding answer has been the same; having an office space increases income. Even the benefit of having a physical address on your website will give your business more credibility online.

Office Pro #5: Get inspired.

Seeing the same four walls all the time at home can’t be that inspiring? Getting out and about, even if it’s commuting ten minutes to work every day, you’ll experience and see new things that could help inspire you. It’s a great way to clear your mind on the way in and out of the office every day.

What are your experiences?

In 2007 I worked from home for four years before finally moving into an office space in 2012 where I now reside running both my agency and freelance businesses. What has been your experience? Do you have any tips for working from home or reasons for/against working in an office space? Please comment below.

Written by:

Freelance front end developer, organiser of Portsmouth Freelancers Meet, Director of Starboard

5 responses to “Freelancing is a Lonely Business: Should I get an Office Space or Work from Home?”

  1. Jon says:

    So, the question is: Where’s good for professional, creative office space in Portsmouth, aside from Port 57…?

  2. Paul Tansom says:

    I’ve been revisiting this question every now and then over the years I’ve been paddling my own canoe. There’s definitely no one answer for everyone. For me it tends to come back to working from home each time, for several reasons.

    On the work side of things convenience of having everything to hand is one advantage. That may seem odd for someone working in IT with broadband, the Cloud, etc., but whenever I’m off to work on a customer site, or somewhere other than my home office I end up loading up the car with tons of stuff, tools (I end up inside the computer quite often) and various gadgets mainly. If I had an office to go to I would have a ton of stuff to move there, books, servers, tools, spare parts, etc. – that puts share work spaces out of the question. I could move all my data into the Cloud, but being a techie I have more faith in running my own server and backup, and it is far cheaper too with the amount of data I have. Then there’s the frequency with which I have a thought in the evening or weekend and just pop into the office for 20 minutes to check something. If I’d shifted all my stuff to a remote office I would be stuck.

    I find working form home helps the work life balance too. It can be easy to end up either working too much or not working at all, but with a family it is great to be able to get up, do a little work, take the kids to school, work again and then mid afternoon pick them up and go back to work. That flexibility isn’t there if you’re not at home, and with my wife having ME this is invaluable.

    As for meeting people I try to network at various tech meets and spend quite a bit of time with various voluntary things, being a school governor, Code Club, sailing, etc. I do miss the tech chat on the coffee break that I used to get when working for a large company though.

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