The life of a freelancer or small business owner can be a solitary experience. When most of your communications being conducted either by email or phone, it’s easy to miss out on meaningful face-to-face interaction when you’re working from home (this comic sums up the problem nicely).
Regardless of how nice your home office might be, you might be more productive by working elsewhere. As wonderful as working from home can be, it can cramp creativity, happiness and productivity.
Fortunately, there are plenty of options available for renting office space that doesn’t necessarily cost a fortune. With these options, you can pop in when you’d like to get some serious work done while continuing to do some work from home when needed. It can be the best of both worlds, assuming you choose your space right.
A Coffee Shop
One of the most obvious—and inexpensive—sites to get some work done is the coffee shop. That’s nothing new, as some of the world’s finest writers did their work in cafes. If it’s good enough for Ernest Hemingway, then it’s definitely good enough for anyone else, right? The laptop-carrying customers at Starbucks prove these writers were on to something. Many of these coffee shop commuters experience the perfect amount of distraction to get their work done without being burnt out.
The “coffee shop as an office” habit has grown so vastly that there’s something of a backlash to this trend. Beginning a few years ago, an increasing number of coffee shops to put an end to this practice by banning laptops.
Coffee shops are perfect for a short change of scenery, but you might need a better place depending on the size of your project. The distractions of a busy cafe is sometimes counterproductive and regularly meeting clients from the same corner table isn’t ideal. The dirty looks from a barista after you’ve been in the same spot for hours is another reason why another space might be needed.
A Coworking Space
For something a little more professional than a coffee shop, consider a coworking space. These communal working spaces, where you pay for a desk rather than a full office, are rising in popularity all over the world.
Paying for a shared space rather than a private once sounded rather odd. However, it’s actually become desirable. Instead of signing a lengthy lease, members can join on a month-to-month or even day-to-day basis. For a fraction of the price of an office, members of a coworking community receive fast internet, fax/copy/scanning amenities and even free coffee.
Those are all important aspects of an office, but the social aspect of the coworking space is also appealing. Instead of being surrounded by café patrons, the coworking spaces are full of like-minded people trying to find success in their work.
Coworking spaces are popping up in just about every medium-sized city, so do a search in your area to see what’s available. If you’re often on the move, services like Copass let you join a network of coworking spaces around the world.
A Business Incubator
Coworking spaces are stripped-back compared to business incubators. While many of the surface-level amenities and offices look the same, the resources here are far greater.
The goal of a business incubator, according to the Entrepreneur magazine, is to “[speed] up the growth and success of startup and early stage companies. They’re often a good path to capital from angel investors, state governments, economic-development coalitions and other investors.”
To that, business incubators offer coaching, access to capital and other features that can help a business be successful. You’ll typically find a dozen or so other businesses and startups trying to build their companies. This is a great environment to be in, if it fits on your goals.
To find an incubator that might fit, search the International Business Innovation Association.
Someone Else’s Home
You can trust the Swedes when it comes to experimenting with productivity. It’s this nation of 9.5 million that’s leading the way in implementing shorter workdays. The latest trend in this Nordic nation is to work from a stranger’s home.
The Hoffice movement hopes to kickstart creativity and limit isolation by letting freelancers, students and others work with others inside someone’s home for a day at the time. It’s like a coworking space but with a much more homey touch.
The movement isn’t just limited to Sweden. Companies like Spacehop in the U.K. are like AirBnB except for office spaces. Such services aren’t available everywhere just yet, but it looks like the Hoffice movement is here to stay.
Find What Fits
Freelancers and small business owners put a lot of thought into their work, their products and their investment decisions. Where they work should be given just as much consideration. The perfect working space increases productivity and keeps happiness levels high.
Think long and hard about what sort of space would work best for you. Ask yourself what sort of enviromment would help with your work. Don’t hesitate to try out a new spot to get some work done. You might be surprised by how beneficial a change of scenery can be.