One of the best and worst things about being a full time blogger is being able to work from home. That may sound strange as most people would give anything to be able to work from the comfort of their own home, so how can it possibly be bad? In this article I’m going to tell you why it’s not always as brilliant as you might think and why shared working spaces and virtual offices could be a dream for professional bloggers.
From a year of working full time from home I have now experienced the good and the bad. Sure, it’s great I can sit on my sofa to work, be surrounded by things I love and not have to deal with annoying co-workers. If I didn’t have kids to get to school and nursery, then I could even work in my pyjamas all day. I never need to miss deliveries, can be here for meter readings and can nip out whenever I need to pick something up from the store or if I have an appointment, within reason. Sounds great doesn’t it?
But believe me there are plenty of negatives and I’ve been feeling them more than ever lately. There’s no separation from work and home life, meaning I always feel like I’m at work and could be working. It’s difficult to switch off when you have an overflowing inbox and you’re always able to do work. Working on your own all the time can get quite lonely. As much as co-workers might be annoying or you might not get on with your boss, at least there’s some human interaction in your day at an office or most types of employed workplaces. Chances are there are people you get along with, even colleagues you’d call friends and maybe even a social life. Being at home all the time for work and play may sound like the ideal scenario, but believe me, cabin fever does set in, especially in winter! Spending so much time in one environment and not being able to even work outdoors in the garden because it’s too cold means you start feeling like a prisoner in your own home. Not good. There are coffee shops with WiFi, but sometimes these can be too noisy and distracting if you have important projects to work on.
So what’s the solution? Flexible office spaces and work environments that provide an alternative office or desk, if only for one day per week, to break up the mundaneness of sitting in your house 24 hours a day, working, sleeping, eating, living, playing there. It’s only natural that our eyes want a bit more excitement and to see a different environment for at least part of the week.
Here are the top benefits of co-working spaces for professional bloggers:
No house distractions
When working at home it’s really important to try to set working hours and distance yourself from the chores of the household, but that’s often easier said than done when there’s a mountain of laundry staring you in the face. It can be all too easy to stop working and crack on with housework losing valuable workhours in the day. A dedicated office or desk outside of the home will have no home distractions and you could even have any online shopping delivered to your new workplace so you don’t miss it!
Many people struggle with being productive in their cosy home environments, not being able to get into work mode as they’re too comfortable or tempted by the surrounding entertainment of TVs and social network sites. I’m not saying you can’t have a TV or access Facebook if you share an office, but as you’ll be paying for the office space to actually work whilst you’re there, you’ll probably be less tempted. A fresh environment, dedicated workspace away from home and the incentive you use the time wisely will all result in a more productive you.
Meet new people and network
You’ll stop feeling so isolated and lonely as you’ll always have people surrounding you in other offices and to natter with in the communal spaces. It could also provide great networking opportunities as you’ll never know what complementary businesses may be in the building or who might rent a space in the future. It’s a fantastic way to introduce your business or blog to a variety of new people and they may even need your services already.
A better work-life balance
If separating work and home life is difficult when your home is your office, then co-working spaces could be the solution. You have the opportunity to set actual office work hours and leave the work in the office as soon as you leave for home. That distinct separation could be all you need to reduce stress at home and create a healthier work-life balance.
Unless you have a dedicated office space at home that’s neat and tidy, you might not want to take a client video call in your living room or kitchen. A shared office gives you a professional background for those all-important Skype calls and even in person appointments.
Shared office spaces are usually very flexible with contracts starting from as little as one month or three months so a heavy commitment is not needed. It’s great for small home business owners or bloggers to get a feel for working in their own office outside of the home without the fear of a long contract or huge financial commitment.
There are no hidden extras and most offices provide exactly what you need. Business broadband, free parking, a communal kitchen, cleaners and toilets are often standard when renting a shared office space. There are no long term lease payments or business rates to cover, just the rent. It’s much more affordable than buying or renting an entire business building to yourself.
I’m definitely considering hiring office space as soon as my youngest enters full time education. It may not mean I never work from home again, but it will create a professional and productive work environment for me to focus my business time on, as well as give back dedicated family time in the evenings and weekends.