Working From Home Harder Than You Anticipated? Try Hot Desking
Most people who choose the freelance lifestyle do so while dreaming of avoiding the loneliness and monotony of being confined to a dull grey cubicle; they avidly seek the freedom to work on their own terms, on their own time, so as to retain the flow of their creativity.
While this seems like a good idea when taken at face value (most offices aren’t known for being artistic havens, after all), many freelancers and entrepreneurs fall into a different kind of uninspiring rut: The doldrums of working from home.
Having the opportunity to work from home is frequently regarded as being almost heavenly by those who have never tried it, but in reality, it is fraught with pitfalls, and can be even more damaging to a person’s creativity and workflow than the much-maligned cubicle. Before you scoff at the prior statement, consider the following traps which one easily falls into when working from home:
-Distractions. Even if you have the discipline to avoid T.V. and online diversions, there’s not much you can do about being interrupted by children, your spouse, and friends and neighbours. When you’re at home, people automatically treat you like you’re available.
-Isolation. Isolation from the outside world not only frequently leads to depression, it also means that you no longer benefit from collaboration. Never sharing ideas with other creative people tends to have a deleterious effect on the quality of a person’s work, while also inducing feelings of boredom and burnout.
-No work-life balance. When you work from home, it’s impossible to properly separate your work life from your home life, which can prove absolutely exhausting over time. We need clear boundaries between our work environments and our home environments in order to truly relax, to let our minds know when work is officially over for the day.
How Can Hot Desking Help?
Hot desking (also known as “hot design”) is a modern office layout model which retains–and encourages–the positive aspects of working in an office, while ditching the dated cubicle. Hot desking eschews conventional desks and dividers, instead turning the whole office building into a communal workspace (generally with tables, couches, workstations, etc.). This open approach facilitates relaxation, communication, and ultimately, collaboration, creating the ultimate compromise: All the freedom and comfort of working from home, without the isolation, distractions, or loss of work-life balance.
Many small businesses are turning to hot design solutions; Lisa Calhoun, for example (founder of the PR firm Write2Market) originally envisioned a company where all employees could work from home. “But there was no cultural transmission remotely,” she explains.
To correct this stagnant atmosphere Calhoun rented a small office, and employees now spend about a quarter of their working hours in a flexible environment. “It’s more fun now,” she says. “Morale is higher.”
When Should You Start Hot Desking?
To get started with hot desking, you will need to rent office space–obviously, such a decision is not to be taken lightly. Before renting office space, you will need to ensure that you’re turning a regular profit: If you go six months to a year making enough of a profit that you can afford to rent the type of space you have in mind, chances are good you’re ready. (Don’t forget to check for hidden costs!) You will also need to seek legal advice, set aside enough money for a security deposit, and ensure that you can get a space which is accessible to both you and all of your employees.