girl at computer

Working from home has become increasingly popular in the last few years.  For solo entrepreneurs and micro-business owners a home office has often become their primary business location, whether by necessity or choice.  There are many good reasons to work from home.  No long commute, no office overhead, no distracting co-workers, no having to get dressed up for the office.

Working from home does have its downside, though.  There are definitely some logistical problems and challenges to having your home as your office.  Commercial office space can offer benefits that a home office may not.  Here are seven reasons you might want to consider an office away from home.

You don’t have to worry about whether your clients are allergic to cats.  Meeting with clients when you work from home can be a real challenge.  Not all of your clients will love the dog like you do—and the dog may not love them.  Sure, you can meet at the local coffee shop but how certain are you going to be that there’s a quiet table available or that it won’t be full when you schedule that 2 p.m. meeting? Having your own office space will assure you of a quiet and professional space to meet with clients.

No distractions.  When you work at the office, it’s pretty rare that someone will be interrupting you for a game of Candyland or a peanut butter sandwich. You aren’t likely to need to stop working to investigate that funny noise coming from the ice maker or to run someone to a friend’s house.  When you have a commercial office for your business, it’s easier to focus on work and leave the distractions of home at home.

No crumbs in the keyboard.  It’s not likely your admin will be eating peanut butter crackers at the computer, spilling their crumbs and their juice on your keyboard or leaving sticky fingerprints on the mouse.  Not having to share the computer with your son’s homework or your spouse’s to-do list can really increase productivity and cut down on computer repairs.

Kids make lousy IT techs.  There isn’t always ready tech support available when you work from home.  Your son may be a whiz at setting up the video game console and your daughter may be able to text like crazy, but how much help will they be when your network goes down or your hard drive crashes? Many service providers charge a premium for home visits or mileage for a trip to suburbia to repair your computer. And where will you keep that equipment, anyway?  A laptop and printer don’t necessarily take up much space, but what about a copier, a scanner or other office machines that speed up production and make life easier? Having an office space with your co-workers where you can share the cost of equipment and have ready access to technical support makes the work day go so much easier.

No one will color on your proposal.  Oh, whoops? Was that an important paper, Mom?  Having a private space of your own means not having to worry about your office supplies ending up the medium for your kids’ artistic endeavors.

More family  or free time. One of the big reasons people choose to work at home is they think it will give them more family time. Recent studies show the opposite is more often true. With work right there staring you in the face 24 hours a day, it’s easy to get sucked into taking care of “just one more thing.” When you leave your work at the office—the one not at the kitchen table—you can come home and focus on your family.

Your own office—really.  In many homes, private office space just doesn’t exist.  Are you working in the guest room? Or do you set up at the dining room table? Having a commercial office means not having to quit early because you’re having dinner guests or put a project on hold because the in-laws are coming for a visit.  An office of your own means you can work how you need to without worrying about what’s going on outside the office.

How about you?  What are your ups and downs of working at home or not working at home. Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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