For the last decade I’ve been working at a home office.
Well, at time it really hasn’t been much of an office. Just me working with a laptop wherever there was space.
But that’s how I prefer to do business. Mine is in a fairly unique situation with a 100% remote team. But I think more businesses could operate that way if they wanted.
Not sure if a home office is right for your business? Here are some tips to see if the decision is a good one.
#1. Customers At Your Home
Working from a home office is really nothing new. My first introduction to the practice was my grandfather. He was an insurance salesman in a small town in Wisconsin.
His house was on main street in the town. He had an office added on to the side of the house. Customers would park in the driveway, walk up the front steps to the door and be greeted right into the office. It even had a little waiting room.
It never seemed odd to me even though I was young. I think that can be an initial concern. You’re having people over to your home. In the case of my grandfather, he had a separate space in the home and the entrance situation made it so that people really didn’t have to walk through the house.
In my situation, we’re more of a digital service provider. We really don’t have customers over.
I’ve also been looking around more and seeing different small businesses in homes and home offices. A chiropractor down the street used to have a separate office, but he moved to a new home and setup his chiropractic office right off his front entrance.
No need to pay for a mortgage and rent on a business office.
Having a home office seems to have always been something not too unusual. And most people understand that if you’re saving on costs that they’re saving on the price as well.
#2. Cutting Costs
Do you need to cut costs?
Would you like to cut costs?
Technology has made it easier to work in different locations. The ability to walk down the hall and talk with a team member? Why not just pick up the phone or chat on the computer or phone?
An office can be a luxury item right now in the business world. I’ve read a lot of business biographies and many of the most successful business leaders were always looking for efficiencies. They were always looking to cut costs so they could cut prices.
In today’s world, it’s as easy as ever to cut the very expensive cost of having a business office. If you’re thinking you can cut costs then cut the office. You can work from just about anywhere today including a small space in your home.
#3. Watching Over Employees
Some managers feel the need to really watch over their employees. Again, from the biographies I’ve read of some of the best business leaders, they have often been very hands off.
They provide direction and expectations. Then they leave the team to provide the results while managing themselves.
You can still provide help while not being in the same location. You can still provide guidance. You can still find a location to meet in person if necessary.
But a team should be able to work without constant supervision. Adults are adults. Some will let you down, but most will thrive without micromanagement.
If you give up the need to watch over your team you can benefit from the cost savings while also likely seeing an increase in productivity.
And if some let you down then it’s a great excuse to let them go and find those that can be accountable for themselves.
#4. Personality Fit
Another side of having a home office is the personality fit for yourself. Can you be accountable to yourself?
I would hope that just about everyone could be.
In my experience, if you need to rely on someone else to hold you accountable you’re going to be in a constant struggle.
Other people have themselves to worry about. Relying on them to worry about you is too much for just about everybody. You’re going to be looking for new people every so often to help hold you accountable.
It’s certainly a transition to work from a home office. You have to setup your own structure. But as you work through the transition you should find a flow.
And I like to audit my habits every six months to make sure what I’m doing is working toward my goal.
One other item on personality is how much energy you either get or lose by being around people.
If you’re an extrovert and get energy from people you will need to find ways to get it outside of work. Hobbies, activities and other things. You can take the money you save from not having a business office and use it to work less each day and to invest in hobbies that take you outside of your home.
Having a home office has many advantages. Chances are that it is the right decision for your business. But go through the insights above and see if you’re ready to make the jump. You may want to try it on a trial basis at first. My guess is that you’ll like what you experience.