What’s One of the Downsides to a Coworking Space For Freelancers?


Coworking spaces have really taken off in recent years, with more and more freelancers signing up for this working model. It offers some very distinct advantages, making it no surprise that the popularity of coworking has been soaring.

If this is something that you’ve been considering, you’re probably already aware of the many purported benefits of a coworking space. However, what about the downsides? Granted, there aren’t very many, but there is one downside in particular that freelancers often complain about. What is it? Read on as Circle Hub explains!

The Lack of Privacy at a Coworking Space

The way in which a coworking space enables you to immerse yourself in a buzzing, productive environment is great. Being surrounded by hardworking professionals is enough to give freelancers plenty of motivation and inspiration, allowing them to work to their full potential.

However, while this may hold true 99% of the time, there will likely be occasional days when you don’t want so many people around you. There’s a fine line between openness and personal privacy, yet this is a balance that many coworking spaces struggle to achieve. This is likely why research shows that 48% of people who use a coworking space cite a lack of privacy as the main issue that impacts how they use their workspace.

How can you overcome this? Let’s take a closer look at some of the main privacy-related concerns that freelancers have when coworking, along with solutions for each one:

Visual Privacy

woman laptop

Coworking spaces are usually designed with an open-plan layout. The fact that these spaces aren’t sectioned into cramped cubicles in the way that many traditional offices are is something that people generally appreciate. 

However, the downside to this is that the people seated near you will be able to see everything that you’re doing. From your computer screen to the papers that you have stacked up on your desk, everything will be on full display for those around you to look at.

In most cases, this won’t matter. People who use coworking spaces don’t generally have time to pry! However, if you need to spend some time working with sensitive data or confidential information, the fact that others can place eyes on this could be considered a breach of privacy.

If visual privacy is something that you need, choosing the right coworking space is essential. Some don’t offer up any alternatives to shared, open-plan workspaces, which would end up causing problems for you. Meanwhile, others, such as Circle Hub, provide a few different solutions for when you need some visual privacy.

Firstly, although the majority of our shared workspaces are open-plan in design, we have several quiet nooks where you’d be able to enjoy some extra privacy. What happens if these aren’t available when you turn up to work? You won’t need to worry about that with our Designated Desk service. With this, you’ll be able to book your favorite desk for the day/time you need it. For extra seclusion, invest in a small privacy screen that you can set up when you arrive at your desk.

If you need complete privacy, you could always book a private office for a few hours. They vary in size, with the smallest designed for just one person.

Acoustic Privacy

Acoustic privacy is another issue that some freelancers struggle with at a coworking space. The open-plan nature means that if you need to take an important phone call or speak to your colleague next to you about something sensitive, everyone around you will be able to hear.

The lack of acoustic privacy can also be detrimental when it comes to noise levels. Some coworking spaces can get pretty loud. As you can imagine, this can be very distracting, especially if you’re working on a project that requires your full concentration.

The fact that more and more larger companies are now making use of coworking spaces doesn’t help. When a space is filled with freelancers who don’t know each other, the vibe is usually much quieter than when you have a larger team taking over a section of that coworking space.

However, find a coworking space that offers up conference rooms and this isn’t such an issue. Most companies won’t want people around them to hear what they’re discussing, meaning that they would choose to use those conference rooms as much as possible. At Circle Hub, our conference rooms are perfect for business meetings, saving those from being held in our shared workspaces. 

A good coworking space will also have an onsite community manager to oversee things. At Circle Hub, our community manager ensures that noise levels remain respectable. We understand how important acoustic privacy is for freelancers, so we do our best to provide this.

Social Interactions

professionals coworking

It’s so easy for freelancers to socialize and network at a coworking space. Again, this is one of the main perks. It doesn’t take much for a freelancer’s life to feel quite insulated.  A coworking space changes this in a big way. Being surrounded by so many people from so many different industries means that you’ll be able to strike up daily conversations with interesting professionals, expanding both your social and professional networks.

However, what if you don’t have the time to speak to others on certain days? Whether you have a tight deadline or you’re trying to fully focus on something, interruptions can sometimes be the last thing you need.

Once again, a coworking space that ensures that members are adhering to set guidelines will prevent over-interaction from being a problem. At Circle Hub, our members are asked to be aware and polite when it comes to privacy and boundaries in shared workspaces. Our community manager will make sure that this is the case.

With that said, we definitely don’t frown upon social interactions. Instead, we encourage socializing to take place in our common areas. 

These areas are designed specifically to stimulate interaction between members. Our open-plan kitchen area makes it easy to chat with others while pouring yourself some coffee. We even offer regularly scheduled complimentary breakfasts to encourage members to congregate there for a while. Meanwhile, our onsite gym enables you to meet other professionals who are also passionate about fitness. We have a gaming room too, with many freelancers finding this the perfect place to spend some downtime.

Personal Space

Some coworking spaces can get pretty crowded, especially during peak working hours. If all you need is a chair and a narrow desk to sit your laptop on, this may not be an issue. 

However, most freelancers appreciate having some space to spread out. Cramped workspace conditions have been shown to lead to higher levels of stress. This will not only ultimately affect your productivity, but it can also be extremely detrimental to your mental health and other aspects of your life.

The easy solution to this would be to find a coworking space that offers spacious working areas. At Circle Hub, a large number of our desks are singles. This means that you won’t have anybody sitting directly on either side of you, or sharing your desk. You can sprawl out over your workspace as much as you like, making the most of this personal space.

It also helps that we keep our coworking spaces open 24/7. This may seem like a given, but many coworking spaces have daily closing times. This then means that they end up busier when they’re open. With Circle Hub offering 24/7 access, freelancers can choose to come in during quieter times if they please. This will magnify the amount of personal space that’s already on offer, giving you plenty of room to get your work done!


business person

The lack of privacy at some coworking spaces also naturally leads to security concerns. We’ve already discussed this in relation to sensitive data but you need to also consider the security of your personal belongings. If you need to bring a few different devices or items into work with you, you don’t want to have to constantly keep one eye open to ensure that your belongings remain safe.

This is an obvious and very real concern, making it surprising that it isn’t addressed by so many coworking spaces. At Circle Hub, we get around this by offering lockers for our members to use. You’ll be able to be your most productive self with the knowledge that your belongings are locked away.

The secure keyless locking system that we utilize in our buildings also ensures that nobody other than our members can enter our coworking spaces. We take security very seriously, which is something that Circle Hub members always appreciate!

Is Circle Hub a Good Choice For Freelancers?

Although a lack of privacy may be an issue that many find themselves dealing with at a coworking space, this doesn’t apply to all coworking spaces. Some, like Circle Hub, find ways to solve the various privacy-related problems that freelancers have. This is why so many freelancers choose Circle Hub over the competition.

The best way to decipher whether or not a coworking space is able to address those common privacy-related problems is by taking a tour. By doing so, you’ll be able to see for yourself exactly what their workspaces are like. Are they cramped or are they spacious? Will you have access to an individual desk or will you need to share with nine other people? Plus, does that coworking space offer offices or other rooms for when you need total privacy?

A tour will also show you exactly how noisy that shared workspace is. Every coworking space will have different noise standards, so make sure that yours aligns with theirs. 

If you would like to know more about whether or not Circle Hub’s coworking spaces would be right for you, booking a tour is easy. Whether you’re interested in our Northridge or Ventura location, simply click here to book yourself in for a tour so that you can find out for yourself what we’re all about!

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