Where Are the Best Places for Freelancers to Work?
I was certain that I wanted to go freelance, and handing my notice in at my 9-to-5 job felt right, but there is one aspect of being self-employed about which I am less sure. Where should I actually carry out my day-to-day business? Where are the best places for freelancers to work?
When I told people that I was quitting my job, many of them raised concerns about the concept of me ‘working from home’, knowing that I have a four-year-old daughter and 11-month-old son. It’s certainly true that there is a very good reason why businesses don’t, as a matter of course, invite toddlers in on a regular basis. Imagine the yearly reports being presented to the board adorned with Paw Patrol stickers, or the chaos that would ensue from half a pint of milk being spilt into the colour printer.
Here are the best places I’ve found to work remotely from so far:
Despite the very real concern about child-based distractions, I have managed to work from our kitchen table on a number of occasions. It’s only really something I can do when Elsa is at pre-school and Seth is taking a nap, but it feels good to have cut my commute from a 40-minute schlep through the winding country roads of Yorkshire to a 40-second skip from the bedroom.
- Plentiful tea and coffee.
- No commute.
- Can work in my pants (please note, if I write a blog for you, I never do this in my pants. Ever. Honest.)
- Plenty of distractions.
- Potential not to step outside all day.
- Too much biscuit temptation.
We have a fantastic, volunteer-run library in Burley-in-Wharfedale, which is a real hub of the community. On my first full day of freelancing, I headed there in the afternoon to avoid the general toddler/baby carnage. It was quiet, warm and I had no problems finding somewhere to plonk my laptop.
The only distraction was the view to my left as I crafted some creative content.
You never know how disconcerting it is to try and work with BBC gardening expert Monty Don staring over your shoulder until it happens to you.
I also happened to be working there during chess club, but thankfully it is one of the more sedate pastimes, and I was still able to focus. I get the impression I wouldn’t be so lucky grafting at the library during Tuesday’s singing, story and craft session for the under fives.
- Free to use.
- Quiet (generally).
- No tea facilities.
- Irregular opening hours.
- Loud (occasionally).
Café Indie, Scunthorpe
Cafe Indie is one of my favourite cafe/bar/gig venues anywhere in the world. It’s a fantastic co-operative that supports its volunteers in gaining skills to help them move forwards with their lives, and so when I was arranging a meeting in my home town of Scunthorpe, there was only one possible venue. Here’s a video I made celebrating Scunny, featuring Indie:
After the meeting finished, I stayed to catch up on some work and felt every inch the clichéd ‘freelancer on his laptop in a coffee shop’. Not that I’m hugely bothered by that, which is good because I have an idea I’m going to have to get used to it.
- Great coffee and food.
- Felt like a hipster.
- Helping support a great community organisation.
- Have to pay for great coffee and food.
- Felt like a hipster.
- About 70 miles away from my house.
More Suggestions for Places for Freelancers to Work?
It seems the perfect freelance work location needs to strike a balance between a regular and affordable stream of tea and coffee (most important for me), warmth, convenience and minimal distractions. It’s a little early in my self-employment career to commit myself financially to a designated hot-desking space, but I certainly don’t mind having a selection of different venues to choose from every day.
If you are a freelancer, where do you go about your business? What do you look for in a workspace? Let me know in the comments.