Freelancers can design their own place of work or workplace very flexibly. You can also quickly take care of private matters from your home office. Accepting parcels, cleaning out the dishwasher or watering the plants. Is the home office therefore less productive than a separate office somewhere in the city? In my freelance work I have tested many variants. From the work corner in the living area, to a separate work room, to an independent office in a commercial property. But where is the best place for productivity?
Work corner in room
To achieve high productivity in a work corner requires a lot of discipline. If you like to be easily distracted from your work, the work corner in your room is probably the least productive place to work. Also the distinction between professional and private activities is often much more difficult with a work corner than in a separate study.
When I was a student, I could not afford an apartment with a separate study room. Nevertheless it was possible to work productively in my work corner, which I could even see directly from my bed. Important for a good productivity in a work corner is
- creating a to-do list with fixed times when which task is processed (similar to a timetable). It is useful to create the list the evening before.
- that the living area is tidy so that you can work without distraction
- tidy up the desk at the end of the day so that you do not have to keep professional documents in view at all times during your free time
Separate study in the apartment
In a separate study the demarcation works a little better. While the laundry to be dried may still be standing behind you in the study corner you can design the separate study much more freely. You can adjust the position of the desk, furniture and lighting to suit your needs and ensure optimum ergonomics at the workplace. Despite physical separation, I recommend that you also plan fixed working hours for work in the separate room. You can claim the additional costs for your room for tax purposes under certain conditions.
The mobile workplace
Depending on the type of freelance work, a mobile workstation may also be an option. Put a notebook under your arm and off to the café or the park. Especially in creative professions this can be a great way to gather inspiration. As a graphic designer, however, finding ideas is only one part of my work. The production of graphics, layouts, etc. is much more efficient on my iMac with a graphics tablet in the study than somewhere in the pampas with a notebook or tablet.
Separate office in commercial property
In terms of productivity, I find an office in a separate commercial property rather overestimated. I have also tried this option over two years. Travel and the not always efficient chatting with the office neighbour eat up a lot of time. You have to earn the additional burden of rent costs first. That also costs time and is at the expense of efficiency.
Certainly, there are many reasons for a separate office. For frequent customer contacts or project work in groups, such a workplace makes sense. Additionally, there can be interesting network effects with neighbours. However, if most of your communication with customers and business partners takes place via telephone and e-mail, you should consider investing in a separate office. In my opinion, there are more efficient ways of networking than through the neighbourhood in offices. Also, contact with customers is more fun at a joint business dinner than in a stuffy office atmosphere.
The question of the most efficient workplace cannot be answered in a generalized way. It depends very much on your own personality. The perfect workplace is not primarily measured by the equipment and type of furnishings. Rather, it depends on the personal attitude to work. If you try to distinguish yourself more strongly from your work, the work corner and perhaps a separate study in the apartment is not a good option.
If you are passionate about your work and enjoy doing it in your “free time”, it doesn’t matter where you work. You can save additional costs for a separate study or an office in a separate property if the nature of your freelance work allows it. Additional costs and travel to and from work are eliminated. This makes your work much more efficient.
For me, the combination of a separate study in the home and a mobile workstation works best. Where do you prefer to work? Do you like being in an office because you need people around you? What reasons do you think are most important for choosing a workplace? Write in the comments and share your opinion with other freelancers.