- it is much cheaper to work from home, no office space rentals;
- working from home suits my desire for a flexible working environment and it suits the way I work (I tend to work strange hours when left to my own devices and not the usual eight hour work day);
- I would like to be able to spend quality time with my family when we have one (as Darren put it, I intend "being more present in family life" and being around for my kids as they grow up).
Of course working from home also presents a range of challenges, not least of which is the strong need for discipline. The idea of working from home is often accompanied by images of working in pyjamas; getting out of bed late; squeezing in work in between DVDs and trips to the local coffee shop and so on.
I have spent a fair amount of time working from home and I have realised that before I can do that successfully, I would have to make a concerted effort to maintain a degree of discipline. I will have to make sure that I get out of bed at a reasonable hour, dress, do all my morning stuff and be at my desk or on the road at an hour resembling the beginning of a normal working day. I think that being able to achieve that degree of discipline would enable me to do things like take the odd day off to watch a movie/take the kids to a park/read a book/whatever and still know that I am working hard.
Darren listed a number of reasons to work out of an office and while my preference is to work from home (when my business can support me full-time), these are still valid reasons:
An opportunity came up for me to move out of home into an office with
three other micro business owners – it was very tempting for a lot of
- the social interaction it would bring – blogging can be a lonely business
- the potential cross pollination of our businesses and opportunities it might bring
stigma attached to working at home – also the ability to bring a client
to an office without worrying that they think you’re a two-bit
substandard consultant working out of home because you can’t afford
- he ability to have better boundaries between work and home life
- less distractions and the ability to concentrate more upon work without TVs, video games, kids etc
- shared resources/office equipment etc
Tris paints a very appealing picture of the advantages of a home office coupled with some of his realities:</p><blockquote><p><em>Lots of people think that if you work at home you're not "working". So
not true. I know lots of people, including the CEO of Qumana, who work
from home full or part time. There is maybe a tinge of jealousy. Yes,
it is nice being able to roll out of bed, grab a cup of
coffee–assuming it’s been made for you–and sit down to check e-mail
and start the day. Yes, I’ve worked and had conference calls in my
pajamas. Like the one at 4:30 in the morning. I went back to bed
after that one, let me tell you. The thing is I don’t always
work in my PJs. I do have errands to run in town. Kids to shuttle
around, and the like. And since some of my best ideas come to me in
the shower, that is an important part of my morning.
It really comes down to what works for you. Many people crave structure and the imposed discipline of working from an office, whether they are the boss or an employee. I prefer to work beyond strict boundaries and thrive in a more flexible environment.
That being said, my current job requires that I work in an office and that pile on my desk isn’t getting any smaller on its own.