By 2020 more than 40 percent of American’s will be freelancers, contractors, and temp workers; the fact is, Americans are shifting towards a more independent work style. The future will see more and more workers migrating out of the office environment and adapting their home or favorite coffee shop to be a work environment. While having an isolated work environment can help some, often times it can deprive freelancers from the important social dynamic that stimulates ideas and creativity. Being able to work in your pajamas without having to worry about the judgment of your coworkers is great, but if you’re not engaging with other professionals you’re losing valuable networking resources.
So, what’s a solution for a freelancer’s woes in isolation? Why not try coworking? A Deskmag survey of those who cowork have shown that they find their creativity, productivity, and concentration improved since they started coworking. Having the chance to rub shoulders with like-minded professionals gives you the opportunity to flesh out new ideas and be inspired by your fellow “coworkers”. Improved concentration and productivity is something any professional could use, but as a freelancer with an unconventional work schedule: it’s imperative. Staying on task and staying sharp is what gets a freelancer steady work.
Coworking spaces are also perfect for the be-your-own-boss type by allowing you to avoid unnecessary commutes and office expenses. Membership at a cowork space means free internet, coffee, access to printers/ink, and general office supplies. Some might be insignificant expenses by themselves, but can add up overtime. Commutes are not often a characteristic of a freelancer’s work schedule, however being able to telecommute instead of brave the traffic of the Baltimore or DC area saves the unnecessary stress and expenses. Also, most coworking spaces (including Cowork Frederick) offer conference rooms so any member can meet with clients or work associates quietly.
The most valuabl e resource at a coworking space for freelancers or any professional is the networking opportunity. At Cowork Frederick, we have a diverse bunch of professionals: there are writers, social media experts, graphic designers, website designers, and IT specialists. Let’s say you’re a freelance writer trying to develop a website to showcase your portfolio;there are professionals who can give you tips on how to build your site, how to create graphics for it, how to promote it on social media, or how to solve your IT problems. Kimba Green, CEO of White Lion Social and coworker since 2012, describes the community of Cowork Frederick as an “agency where you can reach out to each other creatively”. Coworking spaces are not just places where people work, they become their own small communities. Along with this community, there is the understanding that you can reach out to each other to solve problems. The freelancer who works from home might find it difficult to get unstuck from a problem, but at a coworking space it’s likely you’ll find someone who can help.
The age of the freelancer is on the horizon and it’s no wonder why; many freelancers report that since they began freelancing they are happier and expect to make more. That said, a freelancer should take any opportunity to increase their field of networking and improve their productivity. A coworking space can be an asset to a freelancer who has these difficulties, or is just looking to improve upon their work creativity and meet like-minded professionals. So, if you’re a freelancer already or considering shifting to doing freelance work, consider joining a cowork space.