- Self-employed and freelance workers are making up a larger part of the workforce than ever before.
- While some self-employed workers are content to work in their homes, the in-home office isn’t always sufficient.
- Here, Holly Welles explains what to expect from a flexible space, and how this type of workspace can serve self-employed workers.
The workplace looks a lot different than it did during our parents’ careers. The gig economy is growing, and more varied than ever. Order your dinner from GrubHub, call an Uber to get to work and rent an Airbnb for your next vacation.
Self-employed and freelance workers are making up a larger part of the workforce than ever before. Upwards of 44% of gig workers use this unique form of employment as their primary income, with another 56% using it to supplement their regular income.
While some self-employed workers are content to work in their homes, the in-home office isn’t always sufficient. How can flexible workspaces serve self-employed workers, and what should you look for if your home office isn’t cutting it anymore?
What Do Flexible Workspaces Offer?
Home offices are incredibly convenient. Instead of a morning commute, you walk into whatever room you’re using for your office and get to work. It might sound ideal, but you may find yourself longing for a more collaborative office environment. That’s where flexible workspaces come in. They help bridge the gap between home offices and the professional spaces you’ve come to know and love, and might miss.
Flexible workspaces can come with all sorts of different benefits and features — and one might offer something another hasn’t even considered. In general, though, what do these spaces provide?
- Furnished office suites that can be private, collaborative or a mixture of the two, depending on your needs.
- A stable and fast internet connection.
- Conference rooms and other shared spaces, as needed.
- Amenities, ranging from coffee and pencils to high-quality printers and other equipment.
For self-employed individuals, getting your hands on all these features and more might require a substantial real estate investment — not to mention all the money you’d have to put into the space to furnish it and get it up to snuff. While this is an option, it is often out of reach for the average self-employed person or small business, with 85% of small business real estate transactions costing up to $2 million.
The Less Tangible Benefits of Flexible Workspaces
These aren’t the only things you might find in a flexible workspace, however. They’re often much more comfortable than a home office — especially if you haven’t splurged for the perfect ergonomic chair you’ve had languishing in your Amazon cart since you started working from home. Plus, if you share your home with a spouse, children or roommates, coworking spaces help you get out of the house and focus on work.
These collaborative spaces can also provide you with a sense of community — something you might find yourself lacking in the otherwise solitary world of self-employment. This sort of employment is wonderfully flexible, but it can also be isolating and lonely. Coworking spaces give you the option to be alone together, creating a community of self-employed individuals, even if you’re all working on different projects or for various companies.
Choosing the Best Flexible Workspace for You
What should you look for when hunting for a flexible workspace?
Start by going over the benefits and amenities each workspace offers. As we mentioned before, these details can vary dramatically, depending on the company. If you can’t live without free coffee and doughnuts or a high-volume printer, add these to your must-have list.
Another thing to look at is the proximity to your home and the distance you’ll have to travel to reach this workspace. The perfect workspace will be close enough to access easily. You shouldn’t have to make long commutes or sit in traffic jams to reach a coworking center.
Finally, ensure the cost fits into your budget. Look for places offering flexible terms, especially right now, when lockdowns and social distancing make it more challenging to meet up or work in person.
Self-Employment and Flexibility Work Well Together
If you have the perfect work-from-home office, complete with a posture-preserving ergonomic chair, you might not need to find a coworking space or another flexible work arrangement. For those who love the freedom of self-employment, but might still be looking for a sense of community or a top-quality printer, these workspaces provide the perfect balance between the two worlds.