7 Home Office Alternatives for Freelancers

One of the greatest appeals to freelancers is the ability to work from anywhere. So why is it that so many of us find ourselves slogging the day away in a home office, or at the kitchen table? Not only is it sometimes unhealthy to never leave the house, it can be quite distracting to try and work from home. Between household chores that you notice, kids interrupting you, pets walking across your keyboard, and a myriad of other distractions, it’s a wonder we get anything done sometimes. On these occasions, singling out a block of time and a place to ensure several hours of uninterrupted work is usually what you need in order to get caught up. Here are some options for doing just that.

Library

Of course this is one of the tried and true alternatives for freelancers. You’ve got a well-lit, peaceful atmosphere free of noise and distractions. You can spend hours there without anyone getting upset that you aren’t spending any money, and you have other resources available to you for reference if you need it. The downsides are that many libraries are beginning to restrict hours that they are open due to budget cuts, and don’t often allow for evening and weekend work.

Shared office space

There are “shared offices” or “cooperative workspaces” popping up all over the place. In these new environments multiple small businesses or individuals each pay a portion of the rent and utilities in order to have a reliable office space and internet access. This can help save money over having to put up all the overhead yourself, and because you’re paying one monthly fee for electricity, heat, bathrooms, internet, and sometimes even the coffee. You can generally access them 24/7 if you need to as well. The downside is that you may wind up working in a space with an overzealous startup team or someone who can’t seem to stop interrupting you. There’s also an issue of making sure that your work and materials are secure when you are not in the building.

Private office space

This is perhaps the most difficult one to pull off if you find yourself struggling with the distractions of home, but it can be done. You will generally need to have a space separate from the rest of the home such as a basement office, or even a converted outdoor shed or workshop that has heat and A/C. You’ll want a door you can close, and also a way to make sure that those distractions (such as children, spouses, or pets) don’t find a way to disturb you. You can also look into renting space in an office building, but this can be expensive. This is a good option if you have lots of face-to-face meetings with clients, or your work needs space, such as graphic design or other art.

Coffee shop

Coffee shops are a favorite alternative work-space for many. Most of them have Wi-Fi, and there’s of course all the coffee you could possibly need. You may find yourself chatting with people and networking when you take breaks, but you can also put on some headphones with music and get in several hours of uninterrupted work. It’s generally a good idea to avoid the morning rush though, and if they’re too busy, you may find yourself with more distractions than you would at home.

Park

Unless you’re really lucky or can find a bench nearby a local business, you’ll have to work offline. But sitting outside at a picnic table can be a refreshing way to help get you focused. Daylight, fresh air, and lack of noise can all be helpful in keeping you motivated. Downsides include bugs and potentially running for shelter if the weather turns, but if you’re an outdoor enthusiast, there’s no reason not to enjoy yourself in the sunshine while working.

Local bar or restaurant

It may seem counter-intuitive, but there are actually some good reasons that working in a bar can be a viable option. Avoid the lunch rush, but spending those slow afternoon hours between 2 and 5 sitting at a table having a few drinks is a remarkably great way to work. Drinking on the job is usually frowned upon, but if you’re having writer’s block, a few drinks may be just what you need to get the creative juices flowing. Another bonus is making arrangements to meet someone for dinner, and working right up until they arrive.

Working vacation

This isn’t the same as deciding to freelance while you travel, though that certainly is a valid option. A working vacation is when you book a hotel or rent a house, or a cabin in the woods, just for the purpose of having some quiet time to yourself. It’s not usually economically feasible, but if you’ve got a looming deadline and you can’t seem to focus, shelling out a bit of money for 2 or 3 days of uninterrupted time alone can help you finish up a big project. Order Chinese food or Pizza and lock yourself away for a little while. If you find yourself slowing down, swim a few laps in the hotel pool or hit the fitness center to get things going again.

These are just a few of the options where you can sit down and get a few hours of work done outside of your home. While some may appeal to you more than others, and some may not be economically feasible for your work, there’s a good chance that one of these will be a great way for you to get ahead while working for yourself.

Monique Craig is a blogger and an employee at Oneflare, a reliable online marketplace connecting Australians with local businesses. In her free time, Monique enjoys reading self-improvement books and learning more about new technologies and strategies that allow businesses to grow and expand.

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Comment by Jackye Clayton on May 16, 2016 at 6:35pm

I needed this.  I work at home and sometimes I want to burn the whole place down!

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