If you have been running a home-based business for a while, you might start to think about whether it is a good idea. As your business grows, it may or may not make sense to move into a "real" office. Here are some of the pros and cons of working from home to help you make that decision.
- You have the shortest commute ever. You never have to worry about traffic, weather, transit problems, etc. You also don't need to spend forever in the bathroom getting ready in the morning.
- You are independent. Working from home helps you develop important skills in scheduling, time management, and self-motivation.
- It is easier to take a break. When things become crazy or stressful, it is much easier to step back and do something else for a few minutes without worrying about setting a bad example for employees.
- You can save money by raiding your kitchen and are less tempted to go out for coffee or lunch.
- You can write off part of your home expenses on your taxes. This might even include part of your mortgage or rent.
- It is easier to control your work environment and make your workspace pleasant and ergonomically correct.
- Most people find themselves less stressed when they work from home, and it can be connected to improvements in health.
- You may forget to "clock out." Working from home blurs the barriers between work and home and makes you rather more likely to make work-life balance decisions that are not in your favor, such as answering work emails at midnight.
- If you have employees, you may start finding that you are uncomfortable with them coming to your home, or calling your home phone, especially if you have kids.
- There are more distractions. You may start work later because you decided to go grocery shopping or clean instead. Or, worse, the television.
- It is harder to collaborate with employees if everyone is in a different location.
- You lose space in your home that you might have been able to use for other purposes. If you have a small home, this can be particularly difficult.
- Those home office deductions? Not everyone can take them. If you can't devote a specific room, with a door that closes, entirely to work (which brings us back to point 5), then you can't take the deduction. And yes, the IRS is more likely to check on you.
- If your workspace is your home, then you probably don't want it listed as your business' address on Google Maps, which loses an important advertising possibility.
- It makes it harder to meet with clients and vendors in person. If you are renting your home it may be a lease violation or the HOA may get mad at the traffic and demand you stop working from home.
- It can be lonely, and you can find yourself almost never leaving the house.
So, what about making the switch from a home office to a real office? If you are happy continuing to work at home, this is fine, but you should consider switching when:
- You hire an employee who is not a driver and needs office space.
- You find yourself regularly needing to meet in person with clients and vendors.
- You routinely have the extra money to afford it and are finding that one of the other cons above is impacting your life or your family's life.
When you do move, you will need to buy furniture (sometimes, it is possible to lease furnished space, but this may leave you with a workspace you find impacts your productivity), make a move, and set up your network. If you need help with your new IT network and needs after moving into a leased office, then Total Computer Solutions can help.