Over the past year or so, I asked numerous small business owners and work-from-home employees if working from home has been a positive strategy for a happy and successful career.
Below is a list I’ve compiled that outlines some downside risks to the businesses of at-home workers, followed by a unique solution that has become a hugely popular alternative worldwide.
At home, there are plenty of distractions that would not otherwise be common in an office environment. Television, dogs barking, babies crying, family members needing your attention and that pile of laundry won’t clean itself. These are all distractions that can lead to less productivity, lack of focus, and potentially stress.
We all know that this is what to expect when you work from home, and many people say these types of distractions won’t affect their work. However, it does. If you’re not working efficiently, and are not focused solely on your work, you’ll have a harder time reaching your goals, and your business will ultimately suffer.
When you work at home, are you really motivated to jump out of bed, take a shower and get right to work? I doubt it. Many people who work from home say that they often sleep in later than planned, and work in their PJ’s or sweatpants.
Then there’s the morning chores, like getting kids to school, cleaning/laundry etc. Not to mention temptations like stopping to watch your favourite morning TV show, which will be sure to distract you from working.
While it may be convenient to work from home, is it really cost effective when it comes to the loss of growth and productivity of your business?
Most businesses require face-to-face meetings at some time or another. It can be very awkward to have people visit your home for business meetings. Maybe not to you, but think about how your client or prospective client may feel coming into someones home for a business meeting?
Is your home clean and tidy enough to ensure a professional image? Do you have complete privacy? Will your meetings be free from all distractions? Could family pets be an issue to potential clients and colleagues?
Many business meetings are often conducted in coffee shops, but is that really enhancing your professional image? Coffee shops tend to be noisy, busy, relatively dirty and most importantly, they offer no privacy to discuss confidential business matters.
How can you ensure a positive outcome for a business meeting, when you cannot predict if you’ll get a decent seat at a clean table, have consistent WiFi service to display the powerpoint for that wonderful product you’re promoting? Your meetings will very likely be disrupted by other conversations, crying babies, etc.
4. Social Life and Isolation
At-home workers can never escape the business. We all need human interaction, and many people are not fulfilled when they are isolated for extended periods of time. Some people who work from home have commented that the isolation is actually causing them to be depressed.
Social interactions, joking and connecting with fellow employees, peers and colleagues is important for maintaining our happiness and sanity. Celebrating holidays and birthday parties are benefits when working in an office environment, and these types of get-togethers contribute to the satisfaction and happiness in our work.
5. Too Much Work?
Many people who work at home find it a struggle to stop working and it’s hard to control how many hours you’re actually putting in. However, if you work in a commercial office setting, once you’re finished for the day, you can more easily change gears, and distance yourself from your work.
It’s important to balance your work/home life and take the time to focus on other things, such as spending time with your family and friends. Unfortunately, the potential to work around the clock often causes burnout because it becomes very hard to balance work with other aspects of your social and family life.
6. Professionalism and Image
How you are perceived by your clients and colleagues is very important to your business image.
It’s hard to maintain a truly professional business image when your office environment is surrounded by all aspects of your personal life. Working in a clean and organized commercial space will help ensure your image is regarded as professional.
7. Business Address
Many people who work from home are not comfortable with publicly disclosing their home address. That’s totally understandable, especially when considering security and privacy concerns. In addition, using a home address for business does not generally appear very professional and may imply that you are a one person, small operation.
UNIQUE ALTERNATIVE TO WORKING AT HOME
Co-Working and Shared Offices
Over the past several years, many co-working and shared office centres have opened throughout the world. These co-working centres, such as WorkAway Offices in central Ottawa do virtually everything for you.
You can choose from fully furnished offices and desks that can be rented on a month to month basis. Co-working gives you hassle-free office amenities, including WiFi, printers, security, office cleaning, coffee/tea and many other benefits. All are offered on a cost-effective, flexible, no long-term commitment basis.
At WorkAway, we provide periodic get-togethers and seminars, and are proponents of encouraging business collaboration. Just think of the benefits you can get from networking with fellow office colleagues, in an environment that encourages business and personal growth, and collaboration.
My Offer to Work-At-Homers
WorkAway Offices offers hotdesks ($195/mth), dedicated desks ($395/mth) and tastefully furnished private offices for 1 to 4 people that start at only $625 per month. All options include WiFi, printing, iPad receptionist, meeting rooms, office cleaning, parking, coffee, tea and filtered water. All of these benefits are available in a beautiful newly renovated office building.
If you mention that you read this blog article, WorkAway Offices will give you your first month at half price. Check us out at www.workawayoffices.com