Work

Why I Decided to Stop Working from Home

shutterstock_72802450I’ve been a home-based worker for several years. For the most part, I’ve enjoyed my time in the home office. But lately something has changed. I’ve been less enamoured with working from home, and as a result my productivity has taken a hit. I have been thinking about what it is that has changed for me, and it boils down to this.

I was lonely.

Even though my chat windows and social networks are always a click away when I’m working, I still felt a real sense of loneliness. There’s something about the office environment, having other people around, the hustle and bustle, that is motivating to me. Even just having someone to say a friendly good morning to at the coffee maker can set your day off right. Working at home you miss all that. And it does get really lonely sometimes.

I had to keep moving my stuff around.

I have a home office set up and that’s fine, but when my partner and I need to get together to work on projects, I’m finding that I have to shuffle files around and carry a boatload of things with me to the coffee shop or her place or wherever we decide to meet. It’s inconvenient and I’m forever misplacing things as a result.

I need a space to collaborate.

Virtual collaboration can only get you so far. Yes, we have amazing tools like Google Hangouts that allow us to connect and work with each other. Call me old fashioned, but nothing trumps face to face for collaboration. I am in love with the idea of having a space to collaborate with my colleagues and clients. A home for my business, not my business at home. It’s just so much more real to me when I can have a physical space like that.

There’s a sense of credibility. 

There’s something that legitimizes your business when you have a space to call home. It doesn’t have to be a big space (and believe me, our new office is not very big), but just having a place to hang your hat, a place to have clients in, gives a sense of real-ness that a virtual office just can’t give you.

I will still keep my home office set up and will still work from home on occasion – sometimes you need the peace and quiet that comes from being in your own home. But I am looking forward to being in an office environment again. For me, people are vitally important to my success at work. That’s the piece that’s been missing from my equation.

What say you?

3 Comments

  1. Completely with you on the watercooler effect – it’s one of the things I missed most when I worked my own consultancy, or virtual agency. Having said that, there’s a lot to be said about the ability to have breakfast with the kids and ease into the day in my PJs.
    Ah, the dilemma of benefits to both. :)

  2. A couple of years ago I decided that I needed an office instead of working at home, for many of the same reasons, and moved into a coworking space with my own tiny private office. The people were great (albeit a decade or two or three) younger than me but after a few months I found I was going to the office at 6am just so I could get some “quiet” work done before the others rolled in around 9 or 10 and I’d often stay later for the same reason. Finally left the coworking space and returned to working at home after 6 months. I found that I needed the quiet distraction free work at home environment more than I needed the social aspect of a coworking space. But i’m an introvert extraordinaire and I work mainly alone.

    I’m currently renting space at the back of a gift shop a friend owns near my home. I’m using the space to keep stock for my new online yarn shop but I’m also finding that I’m starting to work there a little more all the time. I suspect that I’ll shift to working there most of the time over the coming months.

    And you never know, I might take the leap into a coworking space again down the road. This time I’ll enter armed with the knowledge that too much noise and activity kill my productivity (and just suck my energy in general) and hopefully find a good match for my “introvert who likes to be around people… sometimes… occasionally… if they’re not too rowdy” personality :)

  3. Danny Brown There’s the PJs factor that I enjoy for sure. 

    I’m up early and start work while the coffee brews – usually working by 6am, occasionally sooner – but I have no desire to leave home that early. Once my workflow is disrupted it’s really hard for me to refocus and get back on track.

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