Freelancers are accustomed to flexibility. Being able to set their own schedule and wear pajamas at work are just a few benefits that many freelancers have. However, as many of them can attest to, one of the most challenging aspects of freelancing is a lonely working environment. As opposed to the hectic yet stimulating interaction of a typical office, freelancers may find themselves too secluded for their own good when working from home.
A Rising Solution: Coworking
One solution to this that’s growing in popularity is coworking, which is the concept of renting a work space for a period of time alongside others, most commonly freelancers seeking a similar type of working environment with both flexibility and interaction. The other freelancers in the space can provide interaction and the feeling of an actual working environment, but without the pressures of a typical workplace since they are not employed by the same company or contractor.
Inspiration rarely comes from sitting in a dark room alone all day. Even the slightest of human interaction stimulates the brain; studies at Stanford and other prestigious sources have found social ties are beneficial to one’s health. Coworking fulfills the benefit that social interaction has on the brain, resulting in better and more fulfilling work.
How Freelance Designers Can Take Advantage of Coworking
Designers, in particular, can benefit immensely from the advantages of coworking. A large chunk of design work is based on a per-project basis rather than hourly, so flexible working hours are a must — especially since creativity can strike at any moment. At a typical office that opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m., a designer may have to resort to cluttering up her apartment in order to work on a project.
Also, the social networking aspect of coworking is bound to benefit designers, as the relationships that grow as they work alongside each other can result in significantly more attention for their projects. “Our business grew much more quickly because we are in such a public space,” says Christina Hilliard of Richmond, VA, design shop Campfire and Co. “People are able to see our process and how we work with one another and our clients, as opposed to us hiding out in our homes.”
As Hilliard and other designers continue to reap the benefits of coworking, there’s little doubt that the newly emerging workplace concept will continue to grow in popularity within the freelance design niche and many others.
Do you work in a coworking space, or is it something you are considering? What makes it such an appealing option for you? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!