One of the joys about freelancing is that you can work wherever you want. In fact, all you really need is a laptop and a decent wifi connection. You might even be tempted to work straight from bed.
Although the freedom is there, you have to realize that freelancing is both a career and a business, which means it’s important to conduct yourself professionally even when you are working alone. As such, it’s advisable to have a conducive workspace, one that allows you to be as productive as possible.
HOME OR OUTSIDE?
Your first decision should be whether to work from home or go commercial, such as renting an office space or sharing a coworking space. Both choices have their pros and cons, but your productivity should be the main consideration. You also have to factor in costs, especially when you are just starting out and don’t have much money to spare.
Most importantly, make sure that the workspace you choose has internet that is fast and stable — you don’t want to get disconnected in the middle of an important Zoom meeting with a major client.
If you are easily distracted, then working from home might not be the best option. An alternative is renting an office space, which usually comes with a desk, free wifi and a few other amenities. It can be costly though, so make sure you have your finances in order before committing to anything. In addition, for those who tend to travel frequently having to pay rent even when you are overseas is definitely not the most cost-effective option.
At the same time, having your own office space can be a source of motivation. It means you are serious about achieving success and not just acting on a whim.
Being a freelancer doesn’t mean you have to be isolated from the outside world. Consider joining a co-working space, which is a shared working environment that focuses on building social and work relationships. The main draw of a coworking space is its community, as you will be able to network and draw inspiration from other professionals there.
A coworking space is not only cheaper than an office rental, but also comes with different membership plans for you to choose from.
LIBRARIES AND CAFES
For the more budget-friendly, libraries and cafes can be a decent choice. There’s no need to commit to any payment plans, and you have the freedom to work at different libraries and cafes each day depending on your schedule.
Working from home is probably the most convenient and affordable choice. You can work whenever is best for you and don’t have to waste any time on commute. However, you can still make some changes to your workspace that will help to boost your productivity.
Comfort is an important consideration, since you won’t be able to stay focused and motivated for long periods of time if you aren’t feeling comfortable. At the same time, you don’t want to be so comfortable that you doze off while working. It’s a fine balance, but your workspace should be comfortable enough to add to your productivity and not the other way around.
For a start, studies have shown that subjects who are exposed to natural lighting show improved concentration and lower stress levels, so ideally you would want your workspace beside a window. Also, make sure your workspace isn’t too hot or cold, so you don’t expend any unnecessary energy that could go towards concentration.
As you will probably be working for long hours, having an ergonomic chair is vital for your productivity and health. When choosing your chair, look for one that’s adjustable and provides proper support for your back.
As a freelance graphic designer, you will often be communicating with clients, whether it’s by phone or through video calls. As such, you need a space that is free from distractions. You don’t want to have a meeting with a client, only to have kids and pets running around in the background.
If possible, physically separate your workspace from your living space. If there isn’t much room, consider options such as a folding screen or room divider curtain. By having a dedicated workspace, you condition your mind to go into ‘work mode’ every time you step foot into the area.
If you are living with others, set clear rules and let others understand that you shouldn’t be disturbed in your workspace. You don’t want to be fully concentrated on your work, only to be interrupted at the worst possible moment.
Disorganization will lose you time — and time means money. Keeping your workspace clean and organized will help improve your productivity. Start by designating spots for your frequently used items so you can quickly and easily locate them. As a freelancer, consider storage solutions such as a filing cabinet for all your contracts and invoices.
In addition, it’s a good idea to have a whiteboard or note board close by so you can write down project timelines and organize your schedule.
Just because your workspace should look professional doesn’t mean you have to turn it into a typical office cubicle. You might want to hang motivational posters on the walls, or have a few graphic design pieces around to get your creative juices flowing. In short, it’s about adding a personal flair to your workspace.
Some people swear by scents for their workspaces — and not without good reason. Scents such as rosemary and peppermint can help improve your concentration, relieve stress, and invigorate your mind.
You shouldn’t overlook the importance of a conducive workspace when working as a freelance graphic designer. By choosing and creating the right space for your needs, you will be able to be as productive as possible, thus making more efficient use of your time and energy.