There’s something about having access to an external office that still beats a home office if you’re a freelancer, independent contractor or work-at-home profesional. Actually, several somethings.
Maybe it’s the coffee. Yes, you can buy yourself a spiffy new machine with all those cute little cups and the latest blends…and then you find yourself buying more, and more, and more…it gets old after a while. Another thing that gets old? Guilt coffee. What’s guilt coffee? It’s the beverage(s) you buy because you feel guilty hogging a table and chair all day. Do you really need that much coffee, or would it be better to just be in a place where coffee is included and you aren’t paying for a gallon of espresso every day just to have a chair and table to work at?
Maybe it’s having a dedicated meeting room. Your living or dining room might not cut it. Are the kids’ toys scattered across the lawn or the carpet? Will your festive or silly family photos on the walls set the wrong tone when you talk to your client? Have you dusted? Have you vacuumed? Are you going to offer your “World’s Greatest Mom” coffee mug? Or maybe you’ve decided to meet at the local coffee shop, only to arrive at a time when it’s been taken over by the lunch crowd from the Florida Hospital Health Campus in Winter Garden. You might be setting yourself up for a meeting fail.
Some people like the entrepreneurial life, but still prefer to separate work from home. That’s perfectly understandable. At home, domestic distractions exist in abundance—unpaid bills, kids, lawn mowing, pets, dishes, laundry…et cetera. Working in an office away from where you live avoids some of those all-too-easy temptations. “It will only take a minute,” you tell yourself. Yet once you start doing one chore, something else comes to mind, and before you know it, you’ve lost half the morning working around the house instead of finishing the project sitting on your desk.
If all else fails, maybe you just need to talk to other people. Not just your kids, significant other, or barista. You might need to talk to another entrepreneur or work-from-home individual who has a common understanding or set of problems. You might need help with a particular situation. You might be looking for a business partner. You might just need to vent and are tired of holding up the line at the coffee shop.
In-person discussions also can be more useful than telephone or even video conferences. Regardless of the number of text-based communication tools we have, we humans still depend quite a bit on facial expressions and body language. Dynamics and subtleties can be missed. This is why, despite all our technologies, executives still fly across the country or halfway around the world to meet with customers and sign “big deals.”
Lastly, freelancing can get lonely—even for dedicated introverts. The quiet and isolation can get to be too much after a while. It’s good to have people around. We need to look someone in the eye or watch how they react. We need to hear friendly voices. It’s how we’re wired—and coworking fulfills that need for the mobile worker.
As it happens, Horizon West in West Orange County has a coworking space with all of these things, including the friendly voices. We call it ScribbleSpace. Drop on by!