Welcome to guest writer, Peter Ames
Working from home is a cheap, flexible and comfortable option taken by many freelancers. You can spend the day close to your loved ones, there’s no commute and the best part is you don’t have to pay for a separate business property.
However there are drawbacks. A recent survey commissioned by Regus has shown how distractions can be all too tempting. Over half the respondents said dealing with family matters was the biggest distraction when working from home, which also shows how distinctions between work and home could begin to blur. If you have to spend all your workday dealing with family matters, you then could find yourself spending increasing amounts of ‘down-time’ staring at your work.
This is where office life can be great. It can boost your productivity and having a separate workspace could really your improve work/life balance as well. Even the dreaded commute could become an invaluable time in which you get into the mind-set for work, and allow you to wind down at the end of the day!
However, renting an office from a landlord in the traditional manner is perhaps not the best option for a freelancer. Firstly you will have to sign up for a minimum lease term, meaning you are tied down to a property for a potentially lengthy period. It may also be tricky to find an office for a freelancer that isn’t just a claustrophobic box. Thankfully though, there are alternatives out there.
The Alternatives: No. 1: Shared Offices
More and more businesses are monetising empty desks by renting them out to freelancers and other businesses that require a small amount of desk space. The major advantage these hold over a traditional lease is you get the benefits of office life without having to deal with all the inherent administration. In contrast to renting your own property, you can focus all your time on work rather than having to worry about health and safety assessments, replacing faulty appliances and scouring the internet for the cheapest gas rates.
In addition, spaces are often immediately available and flexible month-to-month contracts mean you can get out quickly if you need to move location. Sharing an office with a forward-thinking and hard-working company can also be a really inspirational experience that can motivate you to work at the very top of your ability.
Shared offices are often a fantastic workspace option for any freelancer without specific requirements for things such as broadband and security. Do remember that you might be sending sensitive data through another company’s network, and also you may have to leave expensive devices in another company’s property overnight. If you don’t like the sound of this (or the alternative, which is to carry all your equipment around with you), then a shared office may not be for you.
The Alternatives: No. 2: Serviced Offices
Serviced offices are purpose-built buildings designed to provide an all-inclusive workspace solution. They are like shared offices in that you will be sharing the property with other businesses; however you will generally have a small, walled-off space to call your own. The service level is general higher and you could have access to any of the following (and potentially even more): executive meeting rooms, phone and physical receptions and even childcare.
However, this higher service level is reflected in the cost, as these are often the most expensive workspace solution. Furthermore, ask yourself do you require such a high service level; are large executive meeting rooms really essential to what you do?
So all you have to do is work out what exactly it is you want from your workspace. Whatever this may be, there are a wealth of options out there so what are you waiting for?
Peter Ames is the web editor for www.officegenie.co.uk, a site where you can search thousands of spare desks in the UK.