The Way We Work
September 21, 2010 by Tamara Rice

We recently asked remote workers where they most like to get their work done, and their answers might surprise you. While a few enjoy working from the library — and an even smaller few admitted to working from their beds — a few locations rose to the top as the most common places contractors accomplish their remote work.

The top five places independent contractors work are …

5. The kitchen or dining room table. It’s true, some of us push aside the place mats and centerpieces in order to set up shop and get work done at home.

  • The benefits: Working from the heart of the home can be especially helpful for those who are also keeping an eye on little ones.
  • The drawbacks: Clearing up work to enjoy a meal at the table may not be on your to-do list, and getting your mind off of work may be difficult in your down time with your “office” always in view.

4. Co-working or working in a rented space. Working away from home in a rented cubicle or office space — sometimes known as co-working — is a viable option for many contract workers, and may allow for the concentration and focus that can be lacking when working in non-traditional locations.

  • The benefits: Professional surroundings and ability to leave work at work.
  • The drawbacks: Cost and/or need to cooperate with others may not be desirable or possible for many contract workers.

working on the couch

3. The couch. It’s comfy and — for those who like the background stimulation of a television set — it may be the best seat in the house.

  • The benefits: Easy access at nap time and a soft cushion for your backside.
  • The drawbacks: Hunching over a laptop may not be all that great for your posture and the temptation to watch the television may be too much for some of us. (You know who you are.)

2. Coffee shop.Could there be any more glamorous image of independent contracting than a freelancer sitting in a local coffee shop, jazz music playing softly in the background as she sips her cappuccino and accomplishes work simultaneously? We think not.

  • The benefits: Good food and drinks, the opportunity to mingle, and an interesting work environment.
  • The drawbacks: The inability to control the volume of those around you and (possibly) the price of a good cup of coffee. If you want to keep the shop owner happy, the cost of working in a coffee shop could really add up.

working at the desk

1. Home office. Okay, we admit it’s no surprise that almost 85% of those who responded work mostly from a home office. Smart contractors will almost always try to have a designated work space of their own at home.

  • The benefits: Productivity and the benefits of routine can abound in an environment that you create, control and call your own.
  • The drawbacks: It may mean giving up a closet or an entire bedroom just to carve out a space of your own and — let’s face it — working from home (no matter how nice your office is) can get a little dull if your work is not sparking your intellect and creativity.

Where do you work? Do you prefer the quiet of a library to warmth of home on a contract work day? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Tamara Rice

Freelance Writer and Editor

Tamara Rice is one of several freelance writers on the oDesk Blog team. She joined the oDesk marketplace in 2009, after more than six years on staff at an award-winning national magazine.