Coworking is great – It gets you out of the house, lets you meet new people and allows you to find new clients in the offline world. If you want to read more about coworking, I covered some reasons why coworking is great for freelancers and other professionals in my last blog post.
However, coworking isn’t the only option to get yourself out of home, boost your productivity and inspire you.
Here are 7 great alternatives to coworking spaces for freelancers and professionals:
If your freelancing career calls for a fixed office space or you’re building a startup, office sharing might be an option for you.
How does it work?
There are a couple of different models, but in general companies with excess office space rent it out to freelancers and other businesses.
I’ve also seen groups of freelancers and startups get together and rent a desirable office space to share with each other.
If you keep an eye out and negotiate right, you might end up paying just as much (or less) than you would for using a coworking space.
Beware of legal issues. Depending on the country, region or city you’re in subletting may or may not be legal.
Make sure you read and understand your rental/leasing contract and check that everything is aboveboard.
If you’re interested in finding office sharing opportunities near you, here’s a list to help you get started.
Workspaces are like coworking spaces, without the bustling community (and interruptions).
There are a host of business centers and executive suites offering space, conference rooms, Wi-Fi access and others business support services for a fee.
If this sounds more like your cup of tea, check out the link in the previous section.
One good example of this is Regus. They are a chain that offers workspaces in cities throughout the world.
Regus has a huge global network of office spaces, but tends to focus on the premium end of the market, i.e. travelling business people and larger companies who want to setup a local office on the cheap (for them).
This one is a classic and easy to overlook.
True… It’s kinda hard to hold a meeting in a coffee shop and might get a little uncomfortable if you overstay your welcome.
But it gets you out of the house and around other human beings, without tying you down to a contract. Besides, coffee shops are way more chilled out than formal workspaces and come with a really energizing vibe.
There’s nothing like typing away at your laptop with the buzz of a cafe in the background.
Most coffee shops offer free Wi-Fi and the easy availability of snacks and beverages is a plus.
Hey, even if that’s not for you, it will spice up your daily routine and let you experience something different - which is healthy, motivating and just plain fun.
And for the more adventure-oriented, we have a solution too: pay your lunch by doing exercise or get all the snacks you want FOR FREE… but pay for the hours you spend in there. Ahh, the freelance life – it never gets dull, does it? :)
Sure, I hear you – exercising for your food and drink might not be your thing and paying by the hour can turn into a disaster.
So here’s another work around.
The Local Library
This one might be a little hard for digital nomads living in developing countries, but a lot of places have really good public (and private) libraries.
Libraries are great places to work from! They cost very little or are completely free. Most important of all, libraries are quiet.
If you’re working on a big project, need to get out of the house but want to work in peace and quiet – you know where you should be headed to.
Ok… the Wi-Fi might not be as fast as at the coffee shop or workspace, but it’s generally good enough to carry out your work.
You will have to step out to take any phone or Skype calls, but that’s just common courtesy.
Worried about librarians? Don’t be. Most are really cool people and glad to have people come in and use their facilities as a resource.
Besides, if you need references, what better place than a library?
Hint: Type ‘closest library near me’ into Google to find the nearest library
Is today sunny with a bright blue sky? Work from your favorite park.
Grab your picnic blanket, pack some snacks and head out. Find a comfortable place to work from and off you go.
Don’t worry about internet access. Many cities now offer free, open WiFi hotspots – if you’re not that lucky, just turn your smartphone into a mobile modem.
Does anything beat getting some fresh air and sunshine while also getting work done?
This might not be the most practical solution (few parks have electrical outlets), but it’s most definitely a welcome change in your working environment – even if just for a few hours.
Tip – there are some pretty awesome portable, foldable laptop desks that will turn your outdoor office experience from MEH to AMAZING. Click here to check out a few of my favorites.
Stuck or out of ideas? Visit and work from a park, it might be just what you’re creativity needs to get going again.
A good deal of hotels in any given city will let you sit in a plush lobby or café with Wi-Fi and nobody to bother you.
(And some will let you work from their awesome pool-beach front patio).
Yes, it’s more expensive than your local coffee shop, but it will allow you to get your work done without the accompanying hustle and bustle. It will also put you in proper ‘businessy’ state of mind.
Is there more? Sure there is. Hotels they can be fantastic venues to meet interesting people. ‘Freelancer loneliness’ is now a thing of the past.
So, yes, hotels can be expensive and might have policies about accessing their facilities if you aren’t a guest – but in a pinch, they will do.
I stumbled across something really interesting – ‘digital nomads’ and startup founders are increasingly organizing or going away on working holidays, or ‘workations’.
The idea is to find a nice, quiet place somewhere beautiful and get people working on their various business ideas and projects – with lots of masterminds, networking, drinking and other fun activities.
Why not escape to a work ‘retreat’ with lots of likeminded people?
If you’re struggling with an important project and everything (or everyone) at home is just distracting you, or if you need to get a bit of a motivational kick in the butt, why not get out into (or out of) the country?
Or why not organize your own, private, solo workation?
If you live close to a big city, it’s likely that there are some awesome tourist spots close bye.
More importantly, if it’s the off-season you could go stay in a really nice place for a couple of days at a much lower price.
Hey, maybe they even have a spa and you can get a massage after you’ve finished your work for the day!
Just don’t forget that you’re there to work ;-).
Phew… today we’ve covered 7 alternatives to coworking spaces for freelancers.
For those looking for a more permanent solution to working from home, office-sharing, workspaces and libraries might be the answer.
If you just need a little bit of change from your daily routine and working from home, move your office to your favorite coffee shop, park or hotel.
And for those big, exhausting projects, setup your own work retreat into the beautiful, relaxing countryside, or join a group of likeminded entrepreneurs on some exotic, adventure-filled ‘workation’.
Coworking alternatives are all around you. Just try them and see what works best for your productivity and budget.
Keep on rocking,
PS: Wherever you go, a cool decal from Freelancer at Work will help you stand out and meet new people. Click here to find your decal today!