You have no commute! You spend more time working but are available to your family! You can set your own hours! You can work in your pajamas! You work at home — so what’s the down side?
Problem 1: How does this all translate into real life vs. the fantasy of working at home? You end up working longer hours, and you’re more distracted and disconnected from your family. You find yourself thinking about work even when you’re trying to spend time with family because your office is right down the hall.
Problem 2: According to University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business human resources professor Pies Steel, 95% of all people procrastinate at times, and 15% to 20% are chronic procrastinators. Three factors make us procrastinate, he says. One, lack of confidence about finishing the job; two, boredom with the task; and three, the human tendency to go for immediate reward over long-term gain.
If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, procrastination can increase your stress level and cost you money. It’s especially difficult if you work at home. Procrastination is one of the biggest problems for people who work from home. Because there’s no supervisor or boss popping into your cubicle or office without warning, it’s a lot easier to linger over Facebook or the online Sudoku you’ve been working on. You’ll probably take longer with personal phone calls, blog reading and online chats. After all, you’re your own boss! You’ll get your work done. Right? Maybe we will, but maybe we won’t — at least not by deadline.
Problem 3: Isolation. Without colleagues, bosses, support staff, cafeteria workers, janitors, vendors and clients around, you realize that working at home is silent. And lonely. And you may find out that you have a difficult time working in a solitary environment. There’s no Monday morning water cooler discussion, no more birthday cake in the conference room, no more daily outside-the-family human interaction. You’re alone. You may find that you relied upon those casual interactions more than you ever realized. If you’re an extrovert, working alone may lead to depression, insomnia, physical illness and more.
Problem 4: When you struck out on your own, you told everyone (including yourself) that you’re self-motivated and self-disciplined. When you work at home, alone, it’s possible you’ll discover that what really motivated you in your corporate job was your boss and colleagues being able to look into your cubicle at any time and see what you were up to. Not a pleasant picture, but this is an uncomfortable truth for many people.
Problem 5: Space limitations. Do you really want an office in the corner of your garage, or down in the basement with the spiders? That may be your only option if your home has no den/office or an extra bedroom. And what happens if your company grows?
Problem 6: Credibility. How can your business look like a business if there are toys, clothes and dishes strewn all over? Even if your house is neat and tidy, clients and vendors may only look upon your venture as a hobby. Your professional image suffers when you work out of your house, and you may not be taken seriously.
Problem 7: Support. When you work for a company with an office base, you don’t normally have to worry too much about support. The Internet goes down, your IT gal takes care of it. The fax machine breaks, the maintenance guy calls for repairs. Your computer comes down with a virus? No problem–there are dozens of others within reach. When you work at home and any of those things happen, you’re on your own. And if it happens when you’re on deadline, your stress has just grown to Mount St. Helens proportions.
Lest you feel regret about making the decision to strike out on your own, there are alternatives to the home office that solve these problems and bring their own benefits. You can lease non-traditional office space from a company that offers executive suites, serviced offices or virtual offices, which, for surprisingly little cost, can help alleviate the above seven problems:
- Your work stays at the office. Your home life and chores don’t bleed over into business and vice versa.
- Knowing that others are around can motivate you to avoid procrastination better.
- There always people around, so isolation isn’t a problem. And as a bonus, other companies may lease part of the same space you occupy, so you’ll meet new people, learn about other companies and businesses and form new power partnerships.
- As with the procrastination problem, being surrounded by other people tends to help us stay motivated and work even when we don’t feel like it or a great movie is on satellite.
- If your company grows, you can lease more space right in the same building. And you can use a real conference room for meetings instead of your living room.
- Most executive suites and serviced offices are located in well-known and even prestigious business districts, addresses that business people know and that have good reputations.
- With these office options, a support staff is often included, such as reception, maintenance, IT, and customer service, and other services and amenities.
So if you’ve had enough of the solopreneur life, think about moving out of the house and into an executive suite or serviced office.
About the Author:
Nathan Jansch is owner and president of The Boardroom Executive Suites in Denver, Colo., which provides office space, virtual office services, conference room rentals, telephone answering, and other services and amenities to small and medium sized businesses. To compare executive suites to traditional office space or subleases, visit the Boardroom Executive Suites website. Read the Denver Office News blog for helpful business news and advice, financial and real estate news, and working green tips.