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Is Having a Home Office Really a Good Idea?

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Is Having a Home Office Really a Good Idea?

There has never been a bigger advocate of the home office than I.  Office space was a pre-requisite of any rental, and eventually, once jammy little hands and competition for my stationery cupboard came into play a spare room (with a lockable door) became a must in any domestic arrangement.

I loved rolling out of bed and carrying my hot mug of coffee to my desk, I also loved putting the kids to bed and returning to my desk for hours.  I found it incredibly rewarding to juggle family and work life from changing nappies while on client calls to hanging out washing while thinking through concepts.

But at some point that all changed.  All of a sudden working from home didn’t feel professional enough, it didn’t feel productive enough, but above all else, I was lonely.

Once the seed was planted the idea was inescapable.  Although my initial search yielded little more than disappointment, one day I accidentally stumbled upon an offer I couldn’t refuse.

A premises with a great location, in my budget with even more space than I’d imagined.  I didn’t negotiate, intoxicated by a plan that didn’t involve worrying about paying bills (or extra bills), I jumped.  I had keys in my hands within a week.

Meanwhile at home, there were no more masses of files cluttering up my home life.  Things stayed where I left them, I didn’t have to have conversations with the kids about not answering the phone because it doesn’t sound professional, and my stationery, oh, my stationery was safe and sound.

Now, granted, it did take me quite a lot of time and patience to find a spot that was the right mix of affordability and location and then to make it feel like my own.  But by the time the shingle was hung things really started to change.

Here are five ways that having an office outside of home have changed my life:

  1. It’s more social.  Initially I had worried that people dropping in would interrupt my work.  In fact, people usually respect the office as my place of work and act accordingly.  I’m a lot less lonely.
  2. It helps to smooth out work/life balance.  I go to work, I go home.  As each door closes I can attend to my roles required in that space.  Less overlap, less juggling.  I don’t work nearly as many hours as I used to.
  3. It makes me feel more professional. This really does make a difference in the perception of my business.  If I’m to be honest it also helps me to take the whole thing just a little more seriously.
  4. Peace of mind.  There are many things that I just don’t have to worry about now.  Everything work wise is on one space and it’s not going to be picked up by someone else (or me) and moved somewhere that I can’t find it.
  5. It creates opportunities.  I rent some of the space as ‘hot desks’ and also host a weekly lunch with other business owners.  It’s a great way to stimulate thinking and stay connected.
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