Why not to work from home

By Bruce Firestone | Architecture

Jul 25

I’m sure there are many people who work from home and enjoy that experience. I am not one of them unless forced to by, say, for example, Covid-19 or because of economic constraints.

I had a home office for 14-months in the mid-2000s and came to really dislike it for a number of reasons, the most prominent of those: There was no separation between work and home. It wouldn’t matter what was happening in my personal life, my office phone would always be ringing, the red “message-waiting” light would always be flashing, emails would be piling up, parcels delivered, clients wanting to visit.

It drove me crazy. So, we opened up a business incubator in a local shopping mall (not far from our home) for our not-for-profit organization, and I was its first client. We had been wanting to do that for our student entrepreneurs and others since 2004 and the fact that I couldn’t stand my home office was the final push it needed.

Here is my list of why not to work from home:

1. Separate home and work-save your sanity. You’ll have time to decompress between leaving your office and arriving home to your family.
2. In an office, you have people to bounce ideas off of.
3. Have somewhere to meet a client that isn’t your bedroom.
4. Someone is always there to accept parcels, nothing gets “sent back.”
5. Stay on good terms with your neighbors: They don’t have to put up with more traffic in their residential area, which means you get to borrow a cup of sugar whenever you want.
6. You’ll have access to better services and equipment in most offices.
7. Having an office to base your business out of creates a more professional image.
8. By working in an office, you can share costs for reception, staffing, meeting rooms, utilities, technology, etc.
9. You may find yourself to be more productive, as there are fewer distractions and interruptions from family and there are no “honey-do” lists while you are at work.
10. You’re also likely to shed a few pounds since raiding your fridge is no longer an option.
11. No more sleeping in (though to some this may be a perk of the home office) but keep in mind the importance of having a routine.
12. Working from home means less recurring contact with others, so with an office… you’ll feel less isolated. Your social skills improve. You are also more likely to get promoted since “out of sight, out of mind.”

Co-worker spaces are being opened as the proportion of the population that is self-employed increases if for no other reason than to give a person access to a “rent-a-colleague:” someone to chat with around the water cooler.

And finally, I finish with a question: “Does creativity flourish in a vacuum?

Prof Bruce

ps the Oatmeal.com has a great take on what work from home does to your social skills, but I can’t show it on this family, G-rated blog: https://s3.amazonaws.com/theoatmeal-img/comics/working_home/6.png.

Pps there are also some strong reasons to work-from-home. For example, you cut down on your commute time and reduce CO(2) released into the atmosphere. So, perhaps, a combination of work at home and at the office might be ideal…

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Bruce M Firestone, B Eng (civil), M Eng-Sci, PhD
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Century 21 Explorer Realty Inc broker
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Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USMC-100324-M-6847A-001.jpg

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About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.

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