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Where Do You Work?


Assuming that you have a choice available with no outside factors involved – choosing whether to work from home or a rented space/studio is a decision every freelancer should spend time thinking about. Importantly, it’s a question that one should probably ask themselves at regular intervals of their freelancing life… There is no right or wrong answer; it is ultimately a personal decision for the lone freelancer.

I Have A Dream Link

Working from home has its benefits and many will spout a million different possible ‘benefits’. In my opinion, there are only 2 that are worth taking serious note of:

  • It is cheap – low fees / overheads.
  • It is convenient – the dream working lifestyle.

The obvious, clear and undeniable advantage is that working form home is virtually free. It is a marginal percentage of the fee that often comes with a rented space. One big concern of any freelancer is cash-flow; signing onto another monthly bill is a prospect that appeals to few of us.

Getting up at 11am , having a long chill-out, starting some work at 1pm… stopping, going for a walk, watching day-time TV, then doing a little more work at 8pm.. sounds like a dream? To most, its nirvana. This is the romanticized version of the freelancer lifestyle – the idea of working when YOU want to work.

I personally work from home and honestly, on a good day,
I am up at roughly 10am and I stop working at roughly 7pm. Breaks come when I travel to meetings and maybe 90 minutes or so right in the middle of the day. Furthermore, my working week often extends into the weekend. As a freelancer, we do it all; administrative work, marketing, project management, sales, etc.

If you are one of the lucky few, are you as successful as you could be? If you have lived a life of habitual procrastination and irregular patterns, then this has surely has left you not being as productive as you could be.

How many of us actually live the romanticized freelancer lifestyle?

What A Waste Of Money Link

Work Home

Many see paying for a rented working space as an unnecessary expense. However there are clear advantages to a dedicated working space:

  • Prestige
    Meeting clients at a business address.
  • Psychological
    ‘I am going to work’ and ‘I have finished work and am going home.’
  • Professional Environment
    Your possible office space might be around other creative professionals.

Having a rented place gives you the psychological uplift of having somewhere to head to in the morning. When you get there, you know you are there to work. There is a mental lift when inviting clients to meet and discuss projects and there is an image of a truly professional outfit. Starbucks and little cafes aren’t everybody’s cup of tea. It also helps you to separate your work life (freelancing is a job!) from your social life with a distinct line that helps you know when to stop.

One of the things that we often overlooks as freelancers is that we need a routine to be productive and efficient. Rented space; because you’re paying for it – is an incentive towards establishing a working routine. Of course the obvious disadvantage is cost. Others include the fact that many freelancers are freelancers to escape being cooped up inside a space whilst working.

Decisions, Decisions Link


Taking those I know as a sample, I think its fair to say the vast majority of us work from home. Maybe as freelancers, we are motivated enough to work hard in the comforts of our houses. Also, the negatives of saying ‘I work from home’ are not as taboo as they once where a decade ago. It is almost ‘trendy’ to say so now.

Either way, making the right choice for you is important; where you work is one of those overlooked factors that could be the thorn or spur in your success! Link

Where do you work?

It’s your turn. Let us know where you work by leaving a comment below. You can also share with us the reason why you rent an office or why you have decided to work from home. We’d love to have an interesting discussion about this subject so feel free to contribute to the discussion. Thank you for reading the article. You can follow the Design Informer on Twitter here1.

Footnotes Link

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I am a 23 yr old entrepreneur, designer, blogger, scientist from London, UK. Thanks for reading through whatever I was rambling about this time. I blog about business here, design here, and talk nonsense on just about everything here. Follow me on Twitter. Take care!

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    Very interesting discussion here, personally I would like to work in office for the prestige and psychological reasons also I would like to work with other professionals and learn something new from them. Mel thanks for great article.
    .-= Tomas´s latest Blog Entry – Daily DesignTweets #11 =-.

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    I have never ‘worked from home’ but I’ve often wondered how it would feel to set up a home office. I do agree that the whole routine of going to work every morning does have its benefits in that it provides a separation between professional life and recreation. I like that balance and divide.

    Excellent article!

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    I would definitely go for the office work. When you are able to setup a good working environment, nothing can beat it. Sharing ideas, getting in the mood, no distractions, going for lunch in the nearby restaurant and feeling the city vibe, etc…It’s very good to have work separated.
    .-= h1brd´s latest Blog Entry – Showcase: Top Web Design Agencies Websites =-.

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    I work from home for now. I have two young ones that I get to see throughout the day. Nothing beats popping in and playing with the kids at a moments notice.

    I may have a small office for meetings one day soon, but unless I have a meeting, I prefer to save the commute time and have the luxury of walking down the hall to the office.

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    @Tomas – Thanks for starting the discussion. So you’re one of those guys who like to work at an office? I personally would love to just work from home full-time. I used to do it before, and I might again do so in the future.

    @Josh – I would have to agree with you. That is probably the main reason why I would like to work in an office. It helps you have a routine. But hey, if you have a lot of character and you are able to push yourself to work in your home office, then more power to you.

    @H1brd – You bring up some good points to discussion. The main one for me in those reasons you have is sharing ideas. It’s a lot easier to share ideas face-to-face rather than through email.

    @Joe – That sounds great! I think working at home is ideal for some because they get to take care of their children and become more involved in their children’s day-to-day lives. Do they ever bother you while you are working though? :)

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    @Graphiste – Really, that’s some nice equipment you have there.

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    I work from home and I really enjoy it, I start working very early in the morning, As I live in the city center, if I want to see people, i just go out . No need of car, no transport time waste, no office rent. Good for the budget and good for the planet!

    I understand that it may be difficult for some people. I can feel sometimes a little isolated but I have the choice. People working in offices don’t have the choice, they have to be there and they have to deal with people all the time.

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    @Jad still don’t know where I would like to work but I guess that after school and studies I would like to work in office.

    @Graphiste your office looks great, thanks for showing it.
    .-= Tomas´s latest Blog Entry – Invoicera Partners with WebDesignFan for an Exciting Giveaway! =-.

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    @Tomas – That’s great. I currently work in an office right now, and have been doing it for about 8 months. I do love it here. Although, I really wouldn’t mind going back home and working there.

    The only thing about my current job now is that it’s 25 miles away, and with traffic in the morning, the drive can be quite horrible.

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    Been working from home for a little while and, frankly, I miss the personal interaction with others. I am excited for the new year because I will be working for a local ad agency in addition to my from-home freelance work.

    Nice article.
    .-= Preston´s latest Blog Entry – 17 Left-brain exercises for creative people =-.

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    I work for myself in my home office in Murrieta, CA… will post pics soon, once i finish setting it up :)

    ~ Aaron I

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    @Preston – Glad that you found a job. It can be very stressful though, to have a job and freelance at the same time. I do that now, and it is very hard to work a FT job, run a growing blog, and finish my freelance projects. It really does take discipline to get everything done.

    Good luck on your new endeavors!

    @Aaron – Looking forward to those pics man. Definitely post them up here. You can embed them with on the comments. Thanks!

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    Great article! I work from home currently but would love a swanky space one day, especially for client meetings. It would be nice to have a space to feel inspired in and appear more professional. But working at home is soo nice! I can take care of home stuff if needed.. oh the dilemma!
    .-= Shannon Noack´s latest Blog Entry – Black Friday Designer Deals =-.

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    people say im a workoholic, i work as designer in a newspaper, very boring and facistic, but good pay, and, in the other hand, also have my freelance at home, sometimes with father – – ->

    this lets me more freedom to create, have a boss and a style to be attached to, is some way slavering, but a good reference for future works

    great article

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    Work (if you call it that) at our family business and web/social media has made a HUGE boom in our niche. Hours pretty flexible and can do things at home, at the office and from next year will be doing alot of it while traveling other countries :)

    Cloud FTW!

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    Great post! It mirrors what I read in Miles Burke’s “The Principles Of Successful Freelancing”. At this point, I’m just starting out, so I work from home. My parents do own a commercial building, so I suppose I could always set up an “office” there at no additional cost, but I guess it’s just the principle of the thing.
    .-= Yawhann Chong´s latest Blog Entry – C4, moving out, and losing Internet for no apparent reason. =-.

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    @JAD – They never bother me. Sometimes I’ll be on the phone and hear a DAD, DAD, DAD, DAD! because my son wants to play. My clients are aware that I work from home and they understand there may be a rare “dad” calling from across the house. Sometimes it’s a great icebreaker as they’ll ask about my kids, I’ll ask about theirs and it helps build a little relationship off the bat.

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    Been working from home for a couple of months and I’m starting to think I’ll be more productive in an office. I work from pretty much 9-5 (get up when OH gets up, stop work when he gets in) but the distractions of the fridge, facebook, internet, washing, cat, stopping at shops on way to meetings etc etc are getting too much. If I had a stable income from freelancing then it would be easier to justify the relaxed routine. However, I don’t (yet!) so the guilt of ‘working’ from home is kicking in. Vicious circle really as I can’t afford to rent office space…:)

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    I’m working at home, and totally love it. I like being at home, with my cat (and wife when she’s not working), without having to travel to go to a boring office.
    I work at home since 2006, so I ‘m used to it and know how not to be distracted.
    .-= Jean-Baptiste Jung´s latest Blog Entry – How I made over $200 with a simple blog post =-.

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    I go both ways… Get up at 7-8am, check mails, drink coffee, go to the “office” around 11am, which is actually a rented place where I meet with and work with other members of the team from newly started company, and I get back around 5-6pm. Then I do my own stuff, and work for another company till around 1-2am, and then go to sleep. As you can see, the day is pretty crowded, and please don’t ask me how I manage to meet with friends, girlfriend, and relax, because I simply don’t know. Have one policy though, no working on weekends. Except when something breaks, but only if they manage to get me on the phone, or by email/im, which is very hard because I completely shut down all that stuff :) Before establishing relations to those 2 companies, it was very chaotic :) Irregular working hours, sleepless nights, etc. Being my own boss with my own company is the ultimate goal of course, but until that happens, this is the way I’ll continue to function.
    .-= PrintRadar´s latest Blog Entry – 7 Great Stories And Resources From The Past Week #4 =-.

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    I currently work in a corporate environment and do a little freelance on the side as the work comes in. It is very hard to do full time graphic design, run a blog and Freelance. I would agree that the benefits of working in an office is the stability, but I think that stability could be transferred to the work from home environment, with a little time management and discipline.
    .-= loswl´s latest Blog Entry – Mark Lawrence Interview =-.

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    This is a great debate…

    I have worked from home and in a rented office and personally I must say that the I was most productive and creative actually working in an office.

    Currently I am back to working from home.
    What I have tried to do is to create an “office” or “work space” at home that looks and feels professional to help me make that psycological shift.

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    Glad my article has so many of you thinking about where you work. Interesting, that despite knowing most of the disadvantages of working from home – most of us still choose to do so!
    .-= Acuity Designs´s latest Blog Entry – 5 Articles To Understanding Your Websites Bounce Rate =-.

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    Working from home is fine as long as you have two things, dedication and proper equipment.

    Unless you are dedicated to waking up seven days a week, working constantly, and managing every ounce of your business, go far it. Anyone who questions whether they will be able to do this or not, probably shouldnt.

    As for equipment, if you have a 6 year old pentium 4 laptop, with a 20gb hard drive and cant afford a workstation, or at least a better laptop, dont even consider freelancing. You need a budget when opening any business, especially one centered on technology.

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    Wow.. I personally think that I’m more productive at office because at home I can’t really concentrate on my work. Maybe if I have my own house (currently I live with family), I can focus more on my work. Great insights though

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    As I have yet to begin Freelancing (as I am still in my studies for design & development ) I do have the benefit of working from home with my Full Time Job – so this is “prepping” me for when I do begin to Freelance. I will continue to stick to a routine and will probably continue to work my 8 – 7/8pm schedule (of course it will be nice to benefit to get out for an hour or so). Thanks for the article. Great site @ Acuity – I visit often.

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    I have been in both situations, starting out freelancing in my bedroom with a desk, moving to an office and working there for a year with my business partner, then moving back into an apartment where the desk is in the living room next to the TV. When you work at home, especially in the same room as say, a living room or bedroom, it’s extremely hard to separate work from free time. You always find yourself sitting at your desk trying to work even when you’ve mentally told yourself it’s free time now! For almost the same reason, sometimes it’s hard to be productive unless you have deadlines from clients. We got rid of our office because it was really expensive and you have to “duplicate” your equipment for work and home. If you run a website or anything, you still need access to a computer even when you are away from the office, and that means that you either have to have a laptop with a screen at home and work, or two computers like two iMacs. You have to pay for internet at home and at work, and rent, utilities, etc really add up. I am going to experiment by moving my living room “office” into its own room and see if that helps. I think it will!
    .-= Daniel Errante´s latest Blog Entry – Dried rose =-.

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    i have a home office, but keep that structured and professional atmosphere by having a clear work area in my home, and setting regular business hours 8:30am – 6:30pm M-F. While I do enjoy having the flexibility of being able to run a few errands in the middle of the day or take an impromptu afternoon walk, I do not do this unless unless work is slow for the day or I have been putting in extra hours and am rewarding myself.
    .-= liz´s latest Blog Entry – Best Gifts for the Design Nerd & Internet Geek You Love in 2009 =-.

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    It’s nice to hear everyone’s comments about where they work and where they would rather work.

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    I work everywhere! I work at the office, have a studio at home with a nice view and quiet atmosphere, use the table in my dining room late at night, and sometimes head for coffee shops in the mornings so I can be around human beings.
    .-= Brandon @ eGrace Creative´s latest Blog Entry – Six Questions for Processing Those Cool New Ideas =-.

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    Great… Interesting discussion. Thanks…


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    I just mainly work out of my apartment. Definately saves overhead. I work 30 hrs doing delivery for maintaining cash flow, and graphic retouching for another 30-40 hrs. Part of that is my photography and independent contracting jobs. I have had the opportunity to work at a studio, but with the drive and everything i didn’t like it. I schedule meetings with certain photographers to keep active and meet deadlines. Delivery keeps me interacting with customers and even on how customers react… kind of a social experiment if you will on customer expectations. This is a great article and the posts are very informative. Thank you.


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    It’s a very interesting article. I would someday like to work in an office setting again, but it would not allow me the flexibility to also raise my young kids. I enjoy burning the midnight oil anyway, so working from home has become an ideal place to set up shop.

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    I love my home, and I love my office. With that said I would have to say my ideal work space is in the office. I like to leave home more casual and if I work there I have a tendency to over work my welcome with my family who are wanting my undivided attention. Also, I love to work with other creatives and even other people in not so creative areas of the business, I think the ideas that come out of working, playing and creating with a team can’t be beat!

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    Great discussion brought out here…. Am into freelancing last 6 months and I work from home…

    Though it had its share advantages and disadvantages its upto us to convert certains things into advantages. At home you have quite a lot of distractions like TV (a cricket match), or ur cozy bed to be inviting… etc etc…

    But you gotto cross all this and realise freelance is equally professional it works bigtime…
    Just that as freelancers or consultants (I guess thats the better word) we are bound to be more responsible and professional than working in a firm.

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    Once you work at home, it’s hard to ever work in an office again. You just have so much freedom. I sometimes think about trying out a coworking space (e.g., but haven’t really ever needed a place other than my home office to call “work”. I find that the local Starbucks works like a champ for impromptu meetings. I’ve never been questioned about my lack of an office either. My clients generally see my working situation as a benefit to them since I have such a low overhead, my costs are lower.
    .-= Brandon Dove´s latest Blog Entry – (PLUGIN) Conversation Manager =-.

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    I work from home one or two days a week. I have a desk in the kitchen, the quietest room in our tiny house. I love it. It’s nice and isolated from the rest of the house. The other days I work at the office. I do enjoy the office more, but only because we have such a sweet space. I can always grab a nap on the couch, whereas at home I can’t do that without toddlers climbing on top of me.

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    How funny is that, honestly just today I’ve phoned up a commercial property salesman to show us around some places to lease today at 4pm so I’ve checked my feeds and read your article :P

    I am just sick to death of
    1: Procrastinating
    2: Never knowing when to stop (ie seperating work/social life)
    3: Inability of having clients around
    4: Customer perception that if your from home your cheap!

    The list goes on. We’ve been going for nigh on 5 years now at home, and I am tired of working from home! I want the regime of going ‘to’ work back in my life and the idea that when I am at work I work and get to finish and go home and leave ‘work’ behind!

    Surprisingly (at least here in Australia) its definately more a buyer/leaser market right now with places to lease just about anyway! This is good because most of the time owners are willing to move properties on at a good rate! To my amazement the price you see online isn’t always the price their willing to accept (for example a place we are looking at was advertised online for $350 a week, but upon speaking with them they are happy to take $250 inc outgoing but + GST and they are happy for a short lease just 12 months!)

    I am also of the opinion that getting out will also increase our exposure and hopefully increase out bottom line as well (otherwise whats the point?)

    I guess all I can do is trail it, I mean 12 months isn’t going to send me broke, while on the other hand it could possibly make my life alot more profitible and as impossible a thought it is give me some much need ‘home’ time!

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    Working for your Boss in a paid job is one thing but working at home in your own home business is a different kettle of fish altogether. Unfortunately many people who start a home business realize this rather too late and find it difficult to make the necessary adjustments and end up in failure.

    Working at home is fun, enjoyable and remunerative, if you know before hand what you are in for. This will enable you to prepare yourself for most eventualities and situations you may come across in your day to day work in your business.

    When you work at home, your working environment will be completely different from that of your normal work place you are used to. No office mates, no hustle and bustle. You will probably be working all by yourself in your home office especially if you are an internet marketer.

    Adapting yourself to this new environment is very important since you will be working long hours all by yourself. Though you might experience a sense of loneliness, the advantage is that you will be free of office politics and other connected problems and situations.

    You are certainly going to miss the advice and guidance of your colleagues and superiors when problems arise in your work at home job. Hence it is important that you are very knowledgeable about your home business or you are sufficiently passionate and determined to acquire knowledge and grow your business as you go along.

    One thing you will certainly enjoy when you work at home is that you will not have your Boss breathing over the back of your neck and pressurizing you.

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    I’ve been working from home for about 3 years now. But the last year I’ve been living with my parents and the distractions occur very often.

    Since I have to drive 15 miles to go to school every day, I’m looking for a small office near the university, I hope the work/office environment will help me concentrate and focus on my daily tasks.

    Great post!

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    I work from home, which sucks as my missus always thinks I do nothing so she expects me to have the household chores done by the time she gets home, give me a desk space in an office any day! Cheers M.

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    I agree that there are major benefits to working in a space that’s not your home. Having your bed a 20 second walk from your workspace might sound convenient, but working from home, you miss a lot — creative colleagues, work-life separation, and lots of other things the posters above have mentioned.

    Also, working “when you want” isn’t as good as it sounds. At home you might take frequent breaks, and in effect be working from morning till night without getting much done. Your brain doesn’t store those little 20 minute breaks as leisure time. You’ll still feel overworked!


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