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Your Freelancing Castle - A Comfortable Office or Workspace
(Page 1 of 3)
Near the end of my comparison of online freelancing and traditional
employment, I discussed the important
matter of work environment. And there I listed “Work from the Comfort
of Home” as an advantage of online freelancing—and “Work
from the Discomfort of Home” as a disadvantage. The lesson
in this simple: the degree to which you will enjoy freelancing depends
at least in part on how well you set up your “freelancing castle”:
your home office.
Office or Workspace
Ideally, you should have a room in
your home that is dedicated to your work. The advantages of a dedicated
office are many:
- It has a door. This goes first because the ability
to close that door is, in my opinion, the most important advantage of
having a “real” office. (Ask anyone who’s worked in
a cubicle, and they’ll tell you.) The door allows you to make a
clear distinction between your workspace and the rest of your home, and
allows you to work more productively with fewer distractions. A dedicated
office without a door gives up much of its benefit.
- You can set it up the way that makes the most
sense for your personal tastes, so you feel at home and at ease.
- Those who work trades that require space, such
as photographers, artists, designers and others, will have room to set
up the equipment they need.
- You can play music without disturbing others,
if desired (see below).
- You can potentially write off some of the cost
of the home against your freelancing income, depending on the circumstances.
Consult with a tax accountant about this.
Of course, it’s not always possible
to have a dedicated home office. You may simply not have the room, and
especially if you’re only working part-time, it might be very hard
to justify the cost of setting aside part of the home just for this purpose.
A good “runner-up” solution
is to choose an appropriate room in the house to “multitask”
as an office. For example, your bedroom could be a good choice, since
most of the time it will be empty during the day. Of course if you have
a spouse or partner whose schedule is wildly different from yours, that
may not work well. Another option is to make a combination of a home
office and a guest room. Naturally, this means your ability to work is
impeded when you do have guests; there are always trade-offs.
The least advantageous approach is
to simply set aside part of a room to use for work. The problems here
are obvious: little space, no ability to separate yourself from goings
on in the home, and many distractions. However, it is doable if you put
your mind to it, and in many cases there simply is no alternative. My
family lived for several years in a log cabin that had only two small
bedrooms, a family room and a large kitchen. My “office”
consisted of a triangular modular desk unit in the corner of that
kitchen. It wasn’t ideal, but I was able to make it work. That
said, I did have one big advantage: I was home alone most of the working
day. When my family was home, it was much more difficult to get anything
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Last Site Update: February 1, 2012
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