I’m not a big fan of moving, but I tend to do it a lot. Once a year is a rare treat, and generally it’s much more frequent than that. And I’m not dashing off in the middle of the night, in case that’s what you think of me. I just grow restless, require a change, and move on. Usually, I’m lucky if I stay in the same city, but Toronto seems so have a little more lasting appeal. Now, I don’t want to claim that this is symptomatic of web working, but it has gotten worse since I started working from home.
Since I’m preparing for a move once again, and I’ve actually become much more aware of what it is I do and do not like about the places I’ve called my home office in the past, I thought I’d share a few tips for what to look for if you’re searching for a better space to work.
Location, Location, Location?
Is location important to web workers? Even just looking at the roll call of contributors to this site, we’re a far-flung bunch. Living in such varied circumstance, it hardly seems to matter where we decide to put up. But you will want to avoid just going for the cheapest possible area for a number of reasons, including some important professional ones.
Maybe the best reason to stay relatively close to the beaten path is cost and availability of good connectivity. The further away from densely populated areas you get, the costlier it becomes to stay online, which, if you’re web working, is very important. Of course, the decreased cost of rent and other things might offset the connectivity costs, so you can strike a balance.
You also should consider the cost of, and ease of access to, travel. If you plan on attending conferences and trade shows, or regularly need to travel to meet with clients, being in or close to a major hub might be worthwhile. Personally, I just like urban living, so I’m willing to accept the higher cost of living. Sometimes it just comes down to personal preference. You can’t maximize your productivity if you’re not happy where you are.
The Space Itself
Once you’ve picked a place, it’s time to get more specific. Choosing a house or condo, amenities, extras, space, etc. Of course, budget is likely your limiting factor, but you probably still have plenty of choices within your price range. What you decide on might have to do with the nature of your work, but it might also depend on your work habits and routine.
Determine whether you’ll be working mostly from home or whether you’ll be out and about a lot. Remember that if you’re a full-time web worker, your office is also your home, and as such the lines are blurred between your professional and your personal lives. You may want to opt for a living solution that provides at least some distinction between work space and leisure/living space, as I do, or you might feel that you can accomplish more with the two conjoined. Again, it comes down to personal preference. Either way, you’re going to want to make sure you have a working space that is comfortable, light and pleasant to work in.
Those are the major considerations for me when I consider relocating, but that’s not all I think about. There are other things, like proximity to family and friends, entertainment and cultural activities available in the area, etc. They might not seem like they’re relevant to your professional life at the time, but when you can’t “leave it at the office” as easily as someone in a traditional workplace, they all become crucial to your working well-being.
What factors do you consider when relocating?