For the freelancer on the go having an office to use as a base in between jobs can seem like a haven. Just having a reliable internet connection can make all the difference when you have a tight deadline to meet!
Recently we spoke to Fran, a freelance photographer and Work.Life member, who has given us an insight into how coworking has improved her working life.
Fran Hales – Freelance photographer
My life changed the day I chose to sign up for hot-desking with Work.Life.
That might sound dramatic, but until I sat down in London Fields for the first time, I hadn’t realised just how miserable I was working from home.
I’m a photographer. I shoot mostly on location, with a large majority of my work being events. When I’m out working, I’m often surrounded by a lot of people, but my job itself is pretty solitary.
I rarely shoot with a crew of people, and when I’m working, I’m pretty much left to my own devices. Think of me as a one man band!
After a big shoot, I then need 1 to 2 days to edit the mass of photos that I then need to deliver to my client. For a number of years, that involved either locking myself up in my room and ploughing through the images, or mixing it up a bit and working from the kitchen or the living room. On days that the house was too much, I would go to the local café and sit for an afternoon, often in chaotic surroundings.
Many people who work in offices think that working from home is living the dream. It’s not. My distraction levels were at an all time high. For the best part of an average day (when I wasn’t on a shoot), I’d do everything but edit my images. I’d find myself doing the washing, cleaning the kitchen, sleeping in, clearing out cupboards, going for coffee with friends – you get the picture. As a result, I’d find myself sitting up until 2am finishing up the work that I’d been too distracted to actually do during the day.
My home was not my sanctuary anymore, it was my office. Something had to change.
One day, a friend invited me to spend a day with him doing a free trial at Work.Life. I’d always made excuses about coworking spaces, saying that I couldn’t afford them, or I didn’t think that they would benefit me, as I needed to focus on myself and just get a better routine at home.
How wrong I was!
On my first trial day at Work.Life, I did more work in those few hours than at least 3 days of working from home. It was as if someone had switched the light on.
In less than a week, my mood had lifted, I was more productive, more positive, more focused. For the first few weeks, I loved it so much I was even coming in on the weekends! It gave me back my routine, and that all-important sense of structure that I’d been missing so much.
Whilst routine might sound like an ugly or constraining word to many, it’s pretty important when you work in an erratic and unpredictable industry like mine. I now had a place I could come to and only focus on my work, with no other distractions, during normal hours. It also meant that my house became my sanctuary again, and not my office.
On top of the productivity, the benefits Work.Life has given back to me have been more than I ever expected. I love the daily social interaction (something that I just wasn’t able to get when working from home!). I’ve met lovely people, and have even collaborated with quite a few, including Work.Life themselves! I have photographed all of their locations for their social media and website, so there’s a pretty good chance you’ll see some of my work if you’ve ever checked them out!
Being a photographer that doesn’t work from a base such as a studio, Work.Life has provided me with all the things I need to feel more professional in the way that I work. Having access to meeting rooms, quiet booths, and facilities, such as printers and couriers, have made life easier and less stressful. The great coffee and fast WiFi is fabulous, and having the sense that you’re part of a community, whilst still working on your own, is a benefit that I never realised was so important to me.
I look forward to getting up in the morning and coming here each day.
In the short time I’ve been here, my stress levels have dissipated, my productivity levels have risen, and I’m overall a happier person.
Joining Work.Life has been one of the best decisions I’ve made this year. My only regret – not doing it sooner!
Are you a freelancer looking for an office to use in between jobs? Try flexible, pay as you go coworking with Work.Life Flex.