I have been freelancing for a couple of years now, being my own boss, janitor and everything in between. I enjoy working this way. To me, all the benefits outweigh the negatives like having to provide your own insurance, telephone and internet. I do miss, however, having people around.
I suppose it comes with the territory. Shearing the shackles of the punch clock and being the master of your own domain (name) comes at a price. I was lonely and exhibiting the first signs of delirium. My status updates were frequent and pleading. I witnessed my fragile grip on sanity be buried under tweets and videos of cats playing with laser pointers. I swear my keyboard was mocking me.
Working alone may work for some but not for me. Knowing this I researched and found a number of co-working offices in The Hague. Fellow freelancers have experimented with shared work spaces and loved it. The idea of going somewhere to work on your own project but with the added benefit of interacting with human beings, and not just some avatar, was enticing.
I decided that talking to people would be better for business than talking to my keyboard so I gave it a shot. One such shared space has a nice introductory offer that your first day of work only costs you a box of cookies.
Cookies in one hand and a map in the other (I’m still quite new to the city), I made my way to the office. I sat down at one of the tables by the window, took out my laptop and worked. It was brilliant. I even had lunch with the rest of the digital nomads. While I was working I was able to take in the gorgeous views of the city and of the passing trains. Don’t worry; the noise of the trains is a non-issue.
I helped myself to a complimentary cup of tea and thought, this is going to work. After the first day I was sold and signed on for regular hours.
Here I feel like part of a community, nay, a tribe of digital nomads. I have met web designers, journalists and software developers. I still have my own projects and my own schedule, but now I have that human element that was missing when working from home. Plus, I no longer talk to my keyboard; I gather from its silence that it’s OK with me moving on.
www.coworker.nl gives you a nice map with many co-working spots in all of The Netherlands. In The Hague three are listed:
Nomadz (www.nomadz.nl website in Dutch and English) Bink36 building
• First day – box of cookies
• In touch (24 hours/month) – €49/month
• Part-time (20 hours/week) – €160/month
• Full-time (7 days/week)- €245/month
Igluu (www.igluu.nl website in Dutch and English) Louis Couperusplein 2
• Individuals starting from €252/month
• Groups starting from €550/month
• Meetings and events starting from €15/chair
Kleine Loods (www.kleineloods.nl website in Dutch only) Kleine Loo 284
• Flexspace – €15/session
• Work room – €22/session
• Meeting room – €150/session
**Prices from Google translate**
[image courtesy of http://www.logitech.com]