Co-working not working? Set up a working space at home instead!

It’s easy to get lost in the hype of endless networking opportunities and the ever-changing environment in a co-working space. However, a co-working space as an office space might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

Co-working spaces have been springing up all over the world, designed to connect digital nomads and lifestyle entrepreneurs in nomad hotspots like Singapore. As an entrepreneur, having the flexibility to work in an environment which best fits your style is a huge plus. But then comes the question – where?

Usually located in the heart of town, co-working spaces are an entrepreneur haven. There are social networks from all over the world to be tapped into, flexibility to change your ‘office’ whenever you want, and even chill-out areas with foosball. 

Add in hot-desking, a fully stocked pantry (we heard that some spaces even have beer on tap!), and fast internet connection, digital nomads are all set up to easily drop in a co-working space and dive right into the action – for a price of course.

It’s easy to get lost in the hype of endless networking opportunities and the ever-changing environment in a co-working space. With an open desk concept, it can be hard to get some ‘quiet time’ in a co-working space. Private rooms are available, but usually at an additional cost to the already hefty monthly lease. 

With all these in mind, a co-working space as an office space might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

So why not set up a working space right here in your own home?

Easily create a workspace where you can run free with all your biggest ideas and aspirations. Home-based working spaces in Singapore aren’t unheard of. With an office right here in your home, you don’t need to spend more on a hot-desk at a co-working space or find a café with good Internet to work from. 

Bid goodbye to traffic jams and train breakdowns because it’ll only take you 10 minutes to roll out of bed and log into work.

When you’re feeling a bit lonely after spending the whole day staring at the computer, there are plenty of events in the digital nomad community. Co-working spaces aren’t the only places for weekly social hangs – online communities like Meetup and Couchsurfing are also great places to find other like-minded people to hang out with.

Setting up a working space in your house or apartment isn’t as complicated as you might think it to be. Here are some tips to get you started on your very own home office!

1. Determine your needs

The key for a productive workplace is establishing what you need to keep you focused at work. Make a list of “critical needs” to better plan your home office. For graphic designers, this might mean more desk space for a Wacom tablet; consultants might need some file cabinets.

If you’re a digital nomad who works remotely, you’ll also need to consider a setup portable enough to easily pick up and move on to your next destination. It’ll also come in handy for those days you’re sick of staying home and decide to work from the beach for the day (cause, who doesn’t?!).

2. Choose an area for a dedicated workspace

When picking a house to rent, use the predetermined list of critical needs to get a better idea of how much space you need for the office. If you’re living with a partner, family, or roommate, think about a spare room that’ll give you the privacy and quiet you need to work from. 

There are plenty of online sites like MetroResidences with various housing options, like studio apartments or condos with more rooms for bigger families. Most of the apartments come fully furnished, and you should be comfortable with the look and feel of the house as you’ll be spending a lot of time there.

Here are some apartments with great rooms to start you off with:

Elysee Studio

Here’s an apartment, while near City Hall, is also smack in the middle of the Central Business District (CBD). This unit is flooded by beautiful natural light. Great for any home office!

Hilltop Verdant 1br

Another chic apartment, another great location. This unit is centrally located in between Dhoby Ghaut and Little India. Keep your home office somewhere close to everthing you need.

Pello De Suites

Don’t need anything too fancy? This quaint apartment has everything you need in a home within reach. Fit your office into a modular home and keep it minimal.

Sky Perch Co-Living

Why not a co-living option? Get the best of a shared space when you set up a working space in this apartment. With a spacious living area and private room, you can choose what suits your working style.

It can be hard to get a feel of a house from just photos, so to help you out, MetroResidences has a function that allows you to take a 360 tour of the house! Things to look out for might include the color of the walls, available desks and storage cupboards and the amount of natural lighting. 

Sometimes working tables face the wall – are you okay with staring at a wall all day long, every day?

3. Set boundaries between your living and working spaces

Ideally, you’d want your working and sleeping spaces separate so that you can switch off from work for a healthy work-life balance. If you’ve already settled into a studio apartment and don’t plan on moving, you can always rearrange your living area. 

Create a working space within a room by dividing it up with a curtain or folding screen to block distractions like the TV. Ensure that the rest of the room is kept neat if you have regular video calls – you don’t want your clients getting a glimpse of dirty underwear or unwashed dishes from last night! 

Another concern when you’re working from home – when do you exactly get off work? The hours seem to pass by even faster when you’re at home. We would suggest setting aside strict working hours and knowing when to call it a day. Put a clock in a visible location and keep those work hours in check! 

4. Make sure your working space is brightly lit

A dark room will make you feel sleepy, which can decrease productivity. An area next to a window that allows plenty of natural light to come in is great. If not, consider getting a desk lamp as a temporary solution for your work area.

5. Keep your workspace neat and clutter-free

Decorating your workspace is a personal choice, but don’t display everything on your table. Not only will you waste time looking for misplaced items if there’s too much clutter on the desk, you might even get distracted by simple things like travel photos from your trip to Bali. Place potted plants for some greenery, and manage your cables so they don’t get tangled up.

Some people might want to save space and use the bed as a chair, placing the work desk next to it. Again, this might encourage you to relax as the bed is associated with sleeping. Invest in a proper ergonomic chair that is comfortable and good for your posture. Or get a chair cushion for added support. Your back will thank you!

Just like how co-working spaces in Singapore might not be for everyone, setting up a home office might seem boring and isolating to others. Each has its pros and cons, and it might take a little trial and error before finding out what works for you. 

Once you get used to working and sleeping in the same location, you’ll find that a workspace at home gives you even more flexibility in your schedule and frees up your time that you would have wasted on small talk and travelling to a co-working space. 

If you’re still unsure, just ask yourself this question: will a home office or a co-working space allow you to be the most creative and productive?

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