Fed up of your home office? Five signs you’re ready for a shared workspace
Has the novelty of working from home in your pyjamas worn off? Here are five signs you may be ready for a shared workspace.
Working from home as a freelancer or contractor can seem like the perfect setup – especially for mothers. You have the world’s shortest commute, unlimited tea and coffee breaks, and can even try desk yoga without strange looks from your colleagues.
You also get to work in the hours you choose (no more dashing out of meetings that ran on 15 minutes longer than planned to make nursery or school pick up) and can design your workspace exactly to your taste.
Five signs you’re ready for a shared workspace
But while this may be heaven for some, for others the novelty can soon wear off, and you can find yourself longing for some human company during the day.
So how can you tell when it’s no longer working for you? Jenny Winslow from Intouch Accounting explores the five signs you’re ready to find a new, more productive working arrangement, such as a coworking space.
1) Procrastination is your new favourite hobby
Surely there’s nothing wrong with doing a few household chores or surfing the internet during your working day, right? Wrong! The working hours you’ve set yourself should be just that – for work.
Procrastination is the first sign you’re not as focused as you should be. So, if your daily routine is slipping, you’re starting work later and finishing earlier, splitting up the day with rewardless non-work related tasks, or are just not getting the same amount of work done, then it may be time to consider a new workplace.
And if you want to turn around your productivity you could do worse than look into shared working. A study by Deskmag and Deskwanted found that 74% of coworkers are more productive. And not just productive – more than two thirds said they felt more creative and collaborated more on projects, and a third reported an increase in income.
2) Your appearance is slipping
When you first started out as a freelancer, you dressed for work. Okay, you didn’t have to stick to office smart – the kind of clothes your old boss would have approved of – but you still took care over your appearance, and felt good about how you looked.
But what about now? Do you still consider what you’ll wear for work if you’re not meeting clients that day? Or do you reach for your most comfortable around home outfits? Or worse – do you not even bother changing out of your pyjamas if you don’t have a school run to leave the house for?
While there’s nothing wrong with swapping smart for slouchy every now and then, if a track suit has become your new work ‘uniform’ it’s a sign you need to spend more time in the company of other adults again.
It can also affect how you approach your work; research indicates that the clothes we wear while working from home have an effect on both productivity and our professional attitude.
Working with other freelancers in a coworking space will force you to reconsider your 10 year-old jeans and stained sweatshirt, and dress like the successful, productive freelancer you want to be.
3) Loneliness is creeping in…
For some, silence is golden. But for others it’s deafening. While silence can help you focus on the task at hand, it can also be a distraction, especially if you enjoy speaking to colleagues or bouncing ideas off others.
And with the kids at nursery or school, and your partner at work themselves, when you work for yourself from home you can often find yourself with just the cat to talk to.
If that works for you, great! But if you find loneliness creeping in, try these tips on banishing it. If they don’t work, look into local co-working spaces. They may not give you colleagues, but they’re the next best thing. And you’ll usually always find someone to chat to, or seek advice from, when making a coffee (besides the cat).
4) You’ve lost passion for what you do
When passion dies it’s usually time to move on. But before you make any drastic decisions about your work, ask yourself if it’s the industry you’re in, being self-employed, or your environment that has made you question why you don’t enjoy it any more.
And unless something in you has fundamentally changed, or you’re really not suited to freelance work, it could be your work setup that’s not working for you.
If so, jot down the things you don’t like about working from home and the things you really love. Can you change the things that are making you question what you do? If so try those first, as it could just be a case of making small amends before changing the big things.
And if not, before you abandon your career – or freelancing full stop – check out the feasibility of working in a shared workspace. You can often try them out without commitment, just dropping in for the days that suit you without a contract.
5) You’ve lost the hunger of the chase
Remember that feeling when you won your very first contract? Now compare that to how it makes you feel when you win one now. Is it the same? Or has it lost a bit of its sparkle?
Sometimes it’s easy to forget there are other contractors out there, and that it’s not just a one woman race. Maybe you’ve got used to working for the same few clients, or types of clients, and become bored by the work you do, or lack of competition or variety,
The thrill of the chase can help you keep that hunger alive for your next big win. And surrounding yourself by other contractors or freelancers in a co-working environment can help you rediscover that again. It can also open you up to a new, wider range of clients and projects, and better or more challenging work, keeping the excitement of work alive.
Final thoughts – finding the perfect fit for you
Has this article made you curious about shared working? Love to know what kind of options are near you Take a look at this fantastic list of co-working spaces across the country, and find something coal that suits you.
There’s usually a very good reason why you decided to go freelance. So don’t let a little thing like your working environment stop you from achieving your self-employed greatness!
Jenny Winslow works for Intouch Accounting, the expert contractor accountancy firm for Limited Company contractors.