Are freelancers actually losing out by working alone?

Posted on Mar 10th, 2014 | Workspace

Freelancers are more inclined to a solitary working life with a cat or latte for company than a co-worker.

Sure, you may interact with plenty of people on a regular basis but not in the same structured way as office employees do with one another. When it comes to the bulk of your work, freelancers will usually opt for a more personalised space.

Is this necessarily a bad thing? Co-workers can offer plenty of distractions to what is often a job carried out by an individual – which is half the benefit of being a freelancer in the first place, and why on earth would you want to substitute the comforts of your home for the confines of an office?

According to a recent study conducted by Erasmus University, Rotterdam School of Management, the answer is, apparently, yes – supposedly the practice of working alongside other freelancers is conducive to productivity.

If you conduct a lot of your work from your bedroom, this isn’t a suggestion that you open your doors to fellow freelancers and invite them to share in your ‘working’ space.

Instead, it’s to create an environment that pools together loosely connected business professionals into a ‘coworking space’ – providing freelancers with an increased chance to establish contacts, improve business knowledge and reap the benefits of networking on a regular basis.

Many participants of the study found that the quasi-office environment acted as an incentive to work when motivation dropped, and found that having similar freelancers within proximity meant they could overcome a number of problems on hand, whereas they would otherwise have sought outside help.

Many employees in offices dislike the environment they work in and their colleagues, yet it’s a necessity to drag themselves out of bed and into work every day. The idea of coworking spaces is that the impetus is on freelancers to choose to benefit from working closely with others and also have the option to leave if they wish.

As the working community continues to evolve, the idea of virtual offices is becoming increasingly attractive, as is the freelancing community and working from home. This begs the question of what we may be losing from the traditional office and how we can apply it to freelancing as we move forward into a brave new world.

Photo by Zhao !

Join Crunch Chorus:
The free community for the self-employed

You'll get access to a range of benefits, such as invoice software, jargon-free business guides, great networking opportunities, discounts, plus much more

Written by Calum Morrison

Useful tools and resources

Business guides

From understanding expenses to starting a limited company, we've a range of jargon-free business guides for you to download and keep.

Invoicing software and templates

Create, send and store sole trader invoices in a snap with our free invoice software. You can also download a selection of invoice templates for all business types.

Take-home pay calculator

Use our Take-Home Pay Calculator to work out your true earnings and see if you could save money with a different company set up.

We make accounting simple

With Crunch, you’ll have unlimited advice and support from your dedicated client manager and our team of accountants, alongside innovative online accounting software so you can keep on top of your bookkeeping with ease. No appointments, no fuss.

Find out more