Freelancer Friendly Working Environments

Nicki CawoodI’ve been self-employed for over eleven years now and a full-time freelancer for over eight years. I can’t imagine ever being employed in the traditional sense again. Working for yourself is something that you’re either going to love or hate. It’s the working version of Marmite. There are pros and cons of course however for me there’s nothing better.

If you’re going to get the most out of freelancing or being self-employed and working from home in any capacity, there are certain things you need to get right. First of all, you need to be self-motivated or find an accountability partner to chivvy you along (more on this another time) and you need to find freelancer-friendly working environments. Secondly, you need to have the right sort of internet, namely fast broadband without interruptions. I work on projects for clients all over the world. That means meetings and sometimes working odd hours. I’d be in trouble if I found my internet slow at night. Even when working for UK clients we all know that deadlines can mean working later than you usually would.

Working from home initially is perfect. It’s free, you don’t need to leave the house and who will know if you’re working with giant fluffy slipper boots on? There comes a time for many a freelancer however when working outside the home office, even if for short periods helps with focus, motivation and tackles the very real problem that many freelancers face, and that’s being isolated. When you’re logging into social media at lunchtime to get your fix of people contact you need to consider how best your needs in this area might be met in the real world.

Join a Jelly

This isn’t anything to do with food, I promise!  UK Jelly is a movement where individuals set up no hassle,

Logo credit: Anil Amrit

free monthly co-working events in the local area. These events are free and are perfect for taking along your work to if you’re avoiding procrastination, to collaborate with other freelancers, to have face to face contact with real life people (the people you see in the supermarket don’t count) and to work companionly alongside others with the same mindset as yourself. I’ve very recently set up a local UK Jelly coworking group, the first session being this week (16/11/17). If you want to see if there’s a Jelly local to you just search UK Jelly and see.

Freelancer Office Space

Sometimes you just need to be working in an office. If you regularly meet clients at work or need the structure of going out to work daily, then looking for a space via somewhere like Pall Mall Estates could be the answer. You may choose the perfect working environment for yourself and your business, either by yourself or with colleagues or others in the same boat as yourself. If done properly, i.e. speak to a solicitor if thinking about a shared office space, you could find yourself with a perfect freelancer working environment.

Home Freelancer Working

mindfulness, Nicki Cawood

There’s a lot to be said for working from home, I do much of the time. It’s the cheaper option (although you have to feature in the extra costs of having the heating on and electricity use during the day). I think that the most important thing is to create somewhere in the house that you feel good about working. I have several places. We moved recently and realising that I rarely used my home office set-up in the old house, I haven’t actually got one here. I use the dining room table, with music on and a candle lit. I have fabulous hidden storage in here (I’m writing this in our dining room now) so that I have everything to hand, all my files, folders and everything else however it looks like a normal un-cluttered dining room to the uneducated eye. It works for me. Sometimes sitting under a blanket on the sofa with the laptop works for me too.
If working from home as a freelancer find somewhere that works for you (and avoid too many sofa working sessions, they’re terrible for your posture).

I do sometimes hit the working space and take advantage of the free WIFI at the local library too so that I can escape the house!

In Summary

I think the perfect freelancer working environment depends on the freelancer and the area they work in. Some need a more structured office environment, some would feel stifled by that (me included). Some like to mix and match, working from home, attending co-working events and so on. Sometimes my perfect working environment depends solely on whether it’s term time or whether I am working with my boys at home. What would you say your perfect working environment is? I’d love to hear more about what ticks the boxes for you.



Getting the Heavies In

As most of you will know I work from home full-time (hours often starting at 4am during the week so that I may get the work in and not cut back on any time with the kids). I have childcare for the youngest for three days a week and Kieran is at school. Holidays are taken care of by the same childminder for Taylor and a local fabulous playscheme for Kieran.

I have a good balance of childcare, working hours and home time with the kids which I love though unfortunately it doesn’t leave a huge amount of time for washing, cleaning, shopping, banking, school activities and everything else that us parents have to fit in. I manage to keep on top of the washing (mostly), and the other housework in truth however never seem to get the time to do “The Big Kitchen Clean” or “The Big Bathroom Clean” and I honestly can’t remember the last time I dusted (in fact Roy dusted last time).

Due to this chronic lack of extra time I am considering calling in the heavies and doing a ring around of local Cleaning Companies. I’ve not quite made the leap yet although it would make perfect sense to do it, leaving me a little extra time and reducing the stress levels! What I’d be looking for is someone to come in once a week, do me what looks like a commercial clean through the high traffic areas and some light dusting etc. I’ve never had anyone “in” as yet so aren’t sure whether it would work but I guess you don’t know if you try.

There is a little guilt attached to the idea of getting someone in, after all why can’t I balance 50hrs work a week, kids, school outings, meals, shopping and everything else? The problem is while I can balance it all it means very little time is left for me to spend just being me. I rather think I’d like to have some proper leisure time with Roy and even *gasp* maybe a social life.

To be honest, I’m not sure why I have a slight guilty hang-up about the idea of having someone coming in and cleaning because I used to pay for Garden Maintenance once upon a time (I had an 80ft long garden which hadn’t been maintained for years before we moved in).

My question for you today is: Do you use a cleaner? Would you? And do you spend so much time cleaning up before the cleaner comes that you’ll feel it wasn’t worth it? I’d love to hear other people’s perspective on this as it might help me make up my mind.


*This post was written in collaboration with the mentioned business however is true to my thoughts, feelings and experiences.