Home offices have enjoyed a recent resurgence as the economy has caused many small business owners to try and cut back on their expenses by working out of their home. While on the surface, this may seem like a great solution to reducing overhead, home offices are not always most conducive to productivity, which means you save some here, but lose some there. Here are some reasons why:
More Distractions, Less Focus
There is a reason offices were created for work and homes were created to live in. Environment is a huge factor in how you react to that setting. Distractions at home, from crying babies, to barking dogs, to deliveries, to any number of interruptions at home can make it very difficult to maintain the discipline you need to be productive. Making the transition from relaxing and casual home life to the corporate high-powered “A game” mindset can be difficult to achieve. When tired at work, a powerful cup of coffee can do the trick. When tired in your home office, it’s easy to succumb to that beckoning bed or couch for what’s intended to be a little cat nap, but ultimately turns into hours of non-productive time.
Little to No In-Person Interaction
Working from home usually means you’re cutting out a good portion of interaction between colleagues and clients. Technology has allowed us to communicate and interact with others on a certain level, but nothing can replace the type of camaraderie one experiences by sharing ideas with a colleague, or just going out for an impromptu lunch with an office mate. And if your business requires making a necessary impression to attract new clients, obviously working out of a home office places you and your business in a light you might not like.
Going Kennel Crazy
If you’re like most people, you spend a good portion of your day working. Therefore working at home offices will leave you spending most of your day steps from the bed you just crawled out of. Even if you are capable of doing most of your type of work in a home office, the lack of interaction can make turn a home workplace into a lonely workplace. Teamwork and a sense of community and belonging are important to a successful work environment. Missing out on that kind of interaction and environment can be an isolating experience and make one go kennel crazy to say the least.
You Risk Turning Your Home into a Stressful Environment
It may seem like a more relaxing and comforting option to work from home, however this can possibly end up leading to the opposite environment. Working from home, you make your own schedule and set your own rules and standards. There is no one there (i.e. the boss) to make sure you don’t break the rules, or push you to achieve the most your can. There is also no hard-fast start or end time to your day. Of course this can seem convenient at times, but it also makes it more difficult to separate work life from home life, which can lead to feeling like you are at work all the time. So in the long run, home offices can unfortunately end up feeling almost suffocating and lead to a lot of stress in the place that is supposed to be your comfort zone.
Not every community allows for businesses to operate from a residential property. You should check with your local government to determine whether you can operate out of your residence. Some communities require you to obtain a License and Permit for your New Business. Nosy neighbors and code enforcement officers can be problematic if you’re running a business from home in a community that doesn’t allow it.
Bottom-line is, home offices have their upsides and downsides. It’s up to you whether the upsides outweigh the downsides.
A good alternative to a home office is shared office space. Sharing space in another firm’s office can yield unexpected benefits beyond having lower overhead compared to leasing dedicated office space. When two non-competing, industry-compatible firms decide to share space together, business synergies can occur in the form of networking, collaboration and referrals. While this will create additional overhead cost compared to working from home, it can be totally offset by additional business generated via the shared office environment.
Something to consider when deciding whether to work from a home office…or not.