No matter the industry, every freelancer needs a space to work on their business. Whether you’re hunting down new clients, chasing invoices or working on your site, we all require a little corner to focus.  As more people join the ranks of freelance and remote workers due to Covid-19; we ask the question: “Is your new admin space as stressful as the office you just escaped?"

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, more people than ever before are ditching the daily commute for the life of a freelancer; destined to be their own boss and never return to the office. While traditional workplace struggles are obvious, the tensions of remote work are not quite as clear. Though you may spend more time on set or meeting clients on location than sitting behind a desk doing emails, you’ll still need a well-oiled machine behind the scenes for all that pesky admin.

So, is your office set up for success or for stress? 


Be Mindful of Distractions

When you’re working from home, it can be all too easy to get distracted and lose focus when there’s all those dishes looking at you from the kitchen, the groceries still need ordering and that Netflix show that you put on for background noise just got interesting. Only being accountable to yourself often makes it that much easier to procrastinate.

In my house, I avoid the temptation to fold the laundry by leaving it in my bedroom where I can’t see it and making my partner do the dishes. If that doesn’t work for you, designate a specific weekday for doing housework or try doing ‘Micro-chores’ between tasks. These are short 10-15 minute household jobs that will reset your brain for the next item on your to-do list. Just don’t forget to have some breaks for yourself! If background Netflix is your kryptonite, try listening to a trusted playlist full of ‘non-skippers’ you can leave running or that podcast you’ve been meaning to listen to. Recently, I’ve been defaulting to live streams of bird feeders as they distract my cat and allow me to get on with my day. 

For some, coffee shops have become the new place to conduct business. However, these come with their own unique set of distractions. The couple breaking up across from you, your empty coffee cup or the bustle of the street outside can do a great job of keeping your focus away from those edits you’ve been meaning to finish. While some people find ambient noise helpful for focusing, personally I prefer a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones! 

Ultimately, you want to find a space that suits your needs - whether that’s a co-working space, a coffee shop or the end of your sofa!


Work-Life Boundaries

The biggest challenge you’ll likely face as a freelancer is setting boundaries between your personal and professional life. Though you may want to spend all your waking hours on your new business, it’s important to have free time for yourself and that includes planning shot lists in your head whilst in the bath!

Owning your own business allows you to control your schedule so give yourself set working hours and stick to them. It’s important to have a fluid approach in freelancing, so find a time that fits into your everyday life rather than sticking to the traditional 9-5. As tempting as it may be to work every day, you can’t forget to take at least one day off each week. If you must work on the weekend, make sure to rest on a different weekday instead.  Now that you’ve gone freelance, you get to choose the hours you want. For most of us it’s the main benefit, at least it is for me!

The key part is making a distinction between work and free time; dress in comfortable work clothes, take a lunch break and have a designated space for working when you can.


Create Your Workspace

workspace at home

If, like me, you don’t have the space for a home office, you can usually tuck a desk into a corner somewhere. Having your desk and chair set to the right settings for you will help you avoid the joint pain that accompanies bad posture, and using the right lighting in the right positions will stop eye strain and headaches. Good cable management and a variety of storage solutions can keep your space free of clutter and help you to focus. If you don’t require a screen, swap this space for something you do need to use - extra mirrors for make-up artists or cleaning space for your precious camera lenses. I don’t know if your pets are as fond of your desk as mine are, but it can be good to make a space near your work surface for them to be near you to avoid any mishaps. Don’t forget to make sure you have a tidy background if you make a lot of Zoom calls! 

Freelancing is a constant balancing act between the freedom to choose your own schedule and the desire to devote yourself entirely to your new venture. Though it can be difficult at times, there are plenty of active freelancing communities out there, like the Freelancer Club, to help you navigate the waters and reduce the stress in your home office.