Remote Freelancing and Where to Work?

Since I began working as a remote freelance developer I have been questioning why I rent an office as surely there must be other alternatives to where one can park their bum and laptop for the day?

Sun May 06 2018

I rent an office but quite often I just work from home or wherever I choose, that I’ve begun to question the real need for having the office. So watch this space as I wrestle with a decision ultimately. I may ditch it in favour of a smaller desk back home and a membership within a local co-working space. Having said that, the rental costs aren’t bad but there are now cheaper options available.

nick

Remote working offers you all the unique options to work from wherever suits you. You’ve saved yourself from the commute, you can simply roll out of bed into the next room and begin coding, writing, consulting, designing, drawing or whatever it is that you do as a freelancer. However sometimes it’s still nice to travel somewhere and find a place from where you can perch for the day with your laptop. Yes such extraordinary flexibility. So long as,of course, you get the work done that is expected of you and you can raise your invoice, feed your family, feed the cat and renovate your old Victorian house (such as where we live).

There is no denying that with great flexibility comes great responsibility. Keeping focussed is key and part of this is down to where you work best. What fuels your enthusiasm for what you do and if it means working from inside an old converted barn, factory or even an old operating theatre (yes seriously a friend of mine does!) then that’s perfect. I can guarantee you’ll feel the buzz of excitement and creative thinking will flourish.

Too quiet for too long, may lead to distraction after a period of time, as you find yourself seeking some life and a place with a bit more of a buzz other than the boiler clicking into action or your tummy rumbling, the cat purring for attention. So the office is a good place, there are other people around but I can still shut the door on them when silence is needed for those moments of hyper focus and when you enter the “flow”.

At times something more lively is required maybe a cafe, you can grab some drinks whenever you need them other than just tap water or instant coffee in the cupboard. You can earwig other peoples’ conversations when your concentration drifts. I am a procrastinator after all and can totally equate to Tim Urban’s “Instant Gratification Monkey” (see Wait but Why?)

In the past I’ve worked at the following places other than my own home or rented office:

  • You can always rely on the big cafe names such as Starbucks and Costa coffee here in the U.K. However don’t forget your local indie cafes as many of them are happy for you to work from a table for awhile, so long as you don’t become a burden when they hit their peak times. Do always buy drinks. Probably one every hour and maybe set a limit on the time spent there. I will always return home before the day is out, as that is partly the reason I choose to work this way.
  • So let’s not forget freelancing is a choice and it can be hard work. I’m a web developer so it’s possible for me to do this as a laptop for the most part is all that I need. However let’s not forget the people I’m working with, there a dozen or so of them. We are scattered all over the U.K. working from various places. So I do need to be contactable at any time. Slack is our communications tool and it is superb for our kind of team. We do frequently call each other and it’s important that the background noise isn’t too much or that we cause disturbance when working from a quiet place, such as a public library!
  • Coworking spaces are also gaining in popularity and have been over the past few years. Originally mostly found in London and for me I’ve tried to avoid the daily commute into Town every day despite the fact it’s only 30 minutes on the train it’s painful at peak times with more people onboard each carriage than can surely be humane. Towns such s Guildford and Reading are starting to gain in this field though and I’m intrigued to try them out. Rumour has it that there is one coming to Farnborough where I live, if so, that will be fantastic!
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Nick Lewis

Nick Lewis Freelance photographer, web developer and blogger