As a freelancer, you have the option to work from anywhere; but that doesn’t mean that all work environments are created equal. Although working from home has its benefits – especially for those with childcare commitments or caring responsibilities – it doesn’t work for everyone. In fact some find it can be isolating, too distracting, or that it can stifle their creative juices. Not to mention the stress when the Wifi goes down…
Luckily, for freelancers who don’t want to work from home every day, but want a flexible, productive, and affordable space to work, there are plenty of other options available. In fact, in 2022, there are workspaces popping up everywhere; from bars and restaurants, to hotels and members clubs. But when you’re comparing an environment made for working with one that’s not, what’s the best (and importantly, the most cost-effective) option?
We’ve broken down the cost of working from a coffee shop as a freelancer, vs. the cost of a coworking space, so you don’t have to.
First up, the coffee shop. Hardly revolutionary – but coffee shops have always been a popular choice for freelance workers in need of a space to work. For it to be used as a workspace, a coffee shop must of course have a few key things; internet, a table, and coffee (duh).
If you work from a coffee shop, you’ll be expected to buy something at least every hour or two.
The average cost of a coffee in London is £2-£4, and if you’re adding a snack, you’re already looking at closer to £10. Most coffee shops won’t let you bring lunch from home, so if you’re staying for a full day you’ll also need to factor in buying lunch from there. And if it’s table service, you might also be expected to add a tip on top.
Staying for the whole day can add up. Say you work a 9-5 day at a coffee shop:
1 coffee when you arrive, and again every 2 hours = anywhere between £10-£20*
Snack = approximately £2-£5
Lunch = approximately £4-£10
+ 10% tip = £1.60 – £3.50
= £17.60 – £38.50
*We wouldn’t recommend drinking 8 coffees, so do substitute your Americano for something caffeine-free.
Additional costs to factor in (not included at a coffee shop):
In conclusion, a coffee shop works for a few hours of solo work, not for a whole day.
So what’s a good alternative that won’t break the bank? Here’s where coworking comes in…
The best thing about coworking is that it can be just as flexible as working from a coffee shop. Many coworking spaces have pay as you go options, allowing freelancers to use workspace for as long as they need; for an hour while they’re in between meetings, a few hours of a morning or an afternoon, or an entire day.
Taking Work.Life’s Flex membership, and a similar 9-5 day:
£3.50 – £6.50 per hour + VAT, depending on location (daily caps: £22.50 – £40.00)
What’s included as standard:
So, what’s the conclusion here? In terms of cost alone, coffee shops might seem like a slightly cheaper option at first, but if the same amount is spent every day over a long period of time, it can really add up. Plus, you’ve got to factor in that working at a coffee shop doesn’t always guarantee a table of your choice, and it definitely isn’t the ideal place for a Zoom call or to host a client.
Not that we’re biased, but if you’re looking for a dedicated workspace with everything included for you, hot desking at a coworking space might just be the perfect option.