In some ways, working from home sounds like a dream. There’s no commute or dress code and you can spend time with your kids or pets while you work. You simply roll out of bed, throw on some yoga pants, grab your laptop and … voilà ! You’re at work.
It’s the life, right?
It can be. There’s a reason why 70 percent of people work remotely at least one day a week.
But there are downsides to working from home, such as …
- Your family is there. Yes, this is one of the big selling points to working from home, but it can also backfire. If your spouse or kids are home, they may not take you seriously when you say “I’m working!” If they can see you, they will consider you fair game and continually talk to you or try to play with you. Even your pooch giving you sad eyes while you’re at your desk can be enough to throw off your focus. Which brings me to my next point …
- It’s harder to focus. At home, there’s so much to distract you. You’ve got your pets, the TV … hell, even a sinkful of dishes can sometimes appear more enticing than work. Yes, working from home is a nightmare for procrastinators everywhere!
- It’s harder to keep your work life and your personal life separate. As soul-crushing as a long commute can be, it also can be a great transitional period for you to shed your work self and transition into your home self. When you work from home, it’s harder to draw the line and put an end to work at 5 or 6 p.m. You may find yourself saying “Just one more email” as your family sits down for dinner.
Yes, working from home is not always ideal. Which means that it’s important to know when it’s time to say goodbye to the home office and start working in a new space.
I just recently made this change. For years I had worked out of my house, and it had served me well. I enjoyed the freedom and flexibility. I was able to be around for my kids and walk my dog. And when you travel as much as I do, you enjoy spending as much time at home as possible.
But then my business grew and changed. I started taking conference calls five times a day, every day. I started a podcast. More and more people came in from out of town to work with me, and I had to put them up in a hotel. And whenever anyone came to see me in my “office,” they had a barking dog to contend with. It was time to call this working from home thing quits.
I ended up moving my office into a rental property that we own. Now, I have a quiet place all my own to stretch out, focus and get to work. When people come in from out of town, I have a place for them to stay. And when I host a luncheon, I don’t have to reserve space in an expensive restaurant or event venue. I can do it right from my office.
Plus, moving my work out of my home means that my home is my sanctuary again. It’s no longer crowded with files and supplies and I no longer need to yell at Mojo to stop barking or tell my kids to quiet down when I’m on a call. My home is now just for relaxing, for spending time with family and friends and for being “me me,” not “work me.”
If the downsides of working from home are starting to outweigh the benefits for you, it may be time for you to move your office outside of the home too.
But you don’t have to throw down a bunch of cash to buy or rent an office. These days, there are tons of other places to work from, like …
- Coworking spaces. WeWork is probably the best known coworking space, but many cities have other options to choose from, and some have very affordable plans. In addition to getting a comfortable place to work, coworking spaces often have amenities like coffee, snacks and chill lounge areas. Plus, you can chat and network with the other members in the space, which may lead to great friendships or collaborations.
- Coffee shops. Whether it’s Starbucks or a local joint, many people enjoy working with the gentle hum of an espresso machine in the background. Work from the same shop every day or hop from one location to the next in your city for variety. There’s something about sitting down with a group of strangers and sipping a fresh cup of coffee that just gets the creative juices flowing.
- Airports. Sounds weird, but hear me out. Airports have free wi-fi, plenty of charging stations, comfortable seating, a variety of food and drink options and tons of space to stretch your legs and even do yoga. Some airports have opened up official coworking spaces, like the stand-up desk company Varidesk recently did at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. The free coworking space includes free wi-fi, powerhubs, meeting tables, a private meeting area, and of course, the company’s standing desk workstations.
- Hotels. Hotels have often enticed business travelers with attractive work areas, and some hotels like The AC Hotel Phoenix Biltmore and Charlotte Marriott City Center have opened free designated coworking spaces for travelers and digital nomads alike. Even working in a hotel lobby can be a gorgeous and fun change of pace for anyone.
- Parks. If the weather is nice, take your work to a park bench! Many cities like New York and San Francisco offer free wi-fi in parks and you’ll get to soak in a little sun and nature while you get down to business. 🙂
- The world! Go location independent and commit to working in different spots as you travel! It’s an exciting way to get work done and see the world at the same time. If you don’t want to go it alone, join a program like Remote Year, which allows you to travel and work with a group of like-minded professionals for a few months or an entire year.
So, are you ready to start working outside of your home? Where will you set up shop?
Or are you currently enjoying working from home? Leave me a comment and let me know!
For more tips on staying motivated and productive, check out my new podcast, Get Real & Stay True. If you rate and subscribe — and send me a message letting me know you did so — I’ll send you a sticker as a thank you. 🙂
I wish you a happy and productive day, wherever you may be!