By: Joshua Danton Boyd
As a freelancer, chances are you don’t work from an office. Well, not in a company office anyway. You might call your unkempt desk in the corner of your bedroom an “office”, but let’s face it, it’s not. There’s no dress code, no forced awkward conversations with people you’d be glad to never see again, and the only person’s food you have to smell is your own. You’re completely free to go and get your work done wherever you please and shun office politics to the distant past. So, what are some of your options?
Ah! Safe, friendly cafe. Big, comfy sofas with oversized cushions. Coffee and food always available. Heating that you don’t have to pay a penny for. There are many reasons why freelancers flock to cafes to get their work done. To certain people they can even be inspirational as they watch the world flicker past outside. It’s sort of like those French movies where people stare wistfully out of windows and write flowery letters to their lovers fighting a war in a foreign land. Ah! Now this is why you became a writer!
That’s until a child begins making a noise more hellish than fives foxes having a knife fight and the waiter spills coffee all over your notes/laptop/face. Suddenly the idyllic farce collapses and you realised you’re in an over-priced, noisy room with total strangers who have no regard for your comfort. It’s pretty much like work, except at work you got free coffee. The child is screaming still and your face is sticky and burnt. It seems like this cafe was the wrong choice, only for you to discover that most of them are like this. Even when you’re lucky to find somewhere suitable, it won’t be long before the hordes discover it too.
You’ve got to be onto a winner here. There’s a chance your library doesn’t sell coffee, but at least everyone has to be quiet. You’ll have no trouble concentrating, so you’ll be able to knuckle down and get some proper work done. On top of that, you’ll often be allowed to use a spare plug socket which some cafes can be quite tetchy about. You’ve even got a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips. Sometimes it’s nice to eschew Wikipedia and re-live your primary school days of thumbing through an actual book to do some research.
Then the students come and suddenly it’s impossible to find a seat. They all just get in the way learning, while you’re there to actually get something done. In the meantime, you notice that even libraries aren’t safe from baby human/fox hybrids as parents trundle their prams in to get some kids books. Your peaceful haven has once again been invaded with an orchestra of typing, crying and increasingly obnoxious shushing. The final straw is a paper cut from a book you picked out, the internet never cut you before.
The Co-Working Space
What could possibly go wrong here? Everyone else is pretty much the same as you. They need some peace and quiet to get there head down and work as do you. There’s no chance of babies breaking eardrums here unless someone happened to give birth there and then. You’ve got access to a fridge and a kettle, so you can keep costs down by bringing along your own food, while you get to chat with like-minded people. You could be really lucky and end up finding some work through contacts gained at the space. Perfect!
Well, nearly. It’ll soon dawn on you that just because the other people are freelancers, doesn’t mean they won’t irritate you. A co-working space might have a more creative vibe, but that doesn’t mean the sink won’t get filled up with cups in ten minutes or that the whole place won’t be stunk out with someone’s reheated cabbage soup. Then of course there’s those people who think everyone else wants to know about their super-cool project they’re working on for a client they can’t name, but who is really, really, big guys. They’re the worst.
Okay, you might struggle to get wifi at a zoo, but think of the benefits. The list is pretty much endless. Apes jumping around cages and beating each other up, lions lolling about in the sun and talking parrots insulting you with vigour. Why would you ever want to work somewhere else again?