As Bob Dylan once said, the times they are a-changing. A large proportion of Australians are abandoning the 9-to-5 grind in favour of self-employment and better work-life balance. In fact, a study conducted by the research firm Edelman Berland found that 4.1 million Australians (32% of the workforce) had freelanced between 2014-15. The trend is so clear that its even been given a name. It’s called the gig economy. Thanks to the improvements in digital communication, many people are choosing to escape the office routine and opting for work-from-home arrangements. Who can blame them? We’d all love to ditch the commute and work in the comfort of our own surroundings. However, a lot of freelancers are also discovering that creating a suitable place to work at home is not without its challenges.
Not every family house makes an ideal office. Some don’t have a suitable workspace, so you end up with proposals spread out on the kitchen table. There may be distractions such as kids running around disrupting productivity and creating unprofessional interruptions during business calls. There’s also the psychological aspect of working from home that many people don’t consider. Working as a freelancer demands self-discipline. It can be hard to flip that mental switch when you’re at home surrounded by the things you love to do to relax.
So, what is a freelancer to do? The local coffee shop is an old favourite of the laptop generation. Yet, you can only order so many flat whites before your eyes start bulging and you’re out on the street again. You could lease permanent office space, but that’s a big commitment. What if you lose a client? Lately many trendy co-working spaces have emerged. You get a hot desk to share between 5 or 10 other people without signing a lease. But now you’re back to commuting and sharing with others has its own challenges. They’re not exactly cheap either.
Building an extra room onto the house unearths all sorts of problems. Changing the structure of the house is always risky. It’s hugely expensive and there is always the potential that you might uncover some nasty surprises along the way.
There is another option.
This is where a shed is an unconventional solution to a work style that is becoming more and more common. It can be constructed quickly and doesn’t need to affect the structure of the house. Plus, it can be customised to suit your needs. Before you dismiss the idea – it doesn’t need to look like a chook shed either. These aren’t the rusty old barns of days gone by. They are high quality steel constructions and the interiors can be set up to offer a comfortable, air-conditioned, creative space.
Think of the trendy polished cement floors that the swanky Sydney ad agencies love. Imagine it with chic wall panelling. Throw in a modern desk and a few couches and you’ve got a stylish, creative space where your business can live.
You can put up glass partitions and create a meeting space. Perhaps turn the walls into whiteboards for mapping out projects, conducting brainstorms and thrashing out big ideas. Don’t underestimate the effect of your work-space on your motivation and the quality of your work.
Being separate from the house insulates you from the business of the house. Also, it gives you the psychological shift you need to focus. And when it comes time to sell, the shed adds value that appeals to buyers looking for a home office setup or just extra storage space.
The gig economy looks set to grow and those who find themselves suited to the freelance lifestyle will benefit from the work-from-home revolution. Giving yourself the right environment to mentally approach your work not only increases your comfort level – it maximises your professional potential. If you’re ready to take that step, talk to Shedboss about creating the ultimate space for your success.