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.

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  • Ghulam Mustafa

    In home mostly childs will destrub me so I like to work in my Office…………..
    I have also Multiple Internet DSL Connection and all the material about IT Support, so I feel much comfortable to work Online in my Office.

    have a nice day……………..

  • Bethany Gonzalez

    I love doing data entry, email handling, etc. from just about anywhere; my table, my car, library, by the lake, just about anywhere I can get a signal. I just hope that I can get a few jobs so I am no longer “one of the newbies”.

  • Tamara

    Thanks for all the comments. I know we all have different habits and ways to function at our best, and it’s interesting to hear. I have an office that I love to use, but sometimes when work seems painful it’s easier to dive into it from the couch where I feel comfy.

  • RuthyB

    I’m currently working from the PC in my living room, but I’m doing my best to clean out the spare room and turn it into an office/study.

  • Vince

    I hope one day I can have a work here in oDesk… really want to work at home.:)

  • jocelyn marquez

    hahaa I preffer to work in the dinning table. I have a lot of room to do my stuff :P. I was working on my couch for a couple days but ended up with a terrible back pain!!

  • Yusra

    doing freelancing is really fun job. I avoid bedroom and kitchen. Mostly i sit in drawing and also watch TV while working…What a fun job ;) …Anyways like your post.

  • Paul Novak

    I work out of my bedroom-office. A horrible setup but the only place I can have enough space to keep my mess in some sort of order. Future plans call for an office unconnected to the house, preferably a building on my property.

  • Marcelle Paisley

    I love my home office. I can leave everything set up from day to day. No need to waste time packing away and finding everything again.

    I think a dedicated workspace is a minimum MUST. If you have a door you can shut on it at the end of a day all the better.

  • Mang Memed

    I prefer working on my humble work office. Nothing fancy. Just my lifetime companion desk. I remember that I have this desk since I was in junior high, now I’m 39 :)

  • Tamara

    Bright can be key when you are trying to stay awake some days! =) I know I struggle sometimes, knowing the bed is just thaaaaat far away.

  • Stephanie

    I used to work upstairs in the masters bedroom but now I take my laptop and notebook with me downstairs to the dining area. It’s brighter, well-ventilated, and I get to exercise a bit even while working at home.