Do You Need An Office?

How important is it to have an office outside of your home?


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#1
Do you work out of an office? Do you wish you could work out of an office? I'd like to hear how important it is for other people to have an office outside of the home.

Lots of rambling ahead about my work environment...

I always wished that I could have an office, and this past December I moved into a shared space (I share it with one other company, comprised of 3 people). I was stoked to finally have a dedicated work space, and my income has gone up since I started working out of the office.

Some days it's priceless to have somewhere to go where I know I'm supposed to be working. It's great to make that physical change of space that helps me get kicked into gear. On other days, the extra productivity is dampened by the distraction of sharing the space with other people... they're often quiet, but about half the time they're having meetings or chatting with each other. Sometimes the talking doesn't bother me at all, but it can become distracting and stressful depending on how my day is going.

When my wife was home all day and I was working from home, I really wanted to have an office to go to. My wife works 6 days a week now, but I don't expect that to last forever... so for now I could forget about the problem of having another person at home with me all day, but we're trying to get pregnant, which would mean her eventually quitting her job and being home all of the time. When the wife is having an emotional day it can be extremely distracting and the office is a welcome safe haven where I can focus on work.

The office has benefits, but on the other hand, there are some major benefits to working from home: it's much easier to take a quick trip to the beach or the gym, or to make lunch/snacks at home instead of spending time and money going out to eat. When I'm at the office, I'm not likely to leave for an hour to go to the gym or go surfing, but if I'm working from home, I'm more inclined to fit other healthy stuff into my day.

One obvious solution is to look for a private office. This is probably doable, but it'd be more expensive, so I need to really be able to justify the costs. Even then, I like the work-from-home benefit of spending more time at home and spending more time on fitness, hobbies, etc. I worked from home for years and had enough discipline to get my income to a place where I could even afford office rent in the first place. The one situation I can think of right now that I have to look out for is if I have guests, or my wife is having a stressful morning, or some similar situation where I could really use somewhere to go work without interruption for awhile – an emergency office. Actually, I'll have guests staying with me for several days in September, which means they'll be taking over my spare bedroom / home office.

Working out of coffee shops / restaurants is kind of possible, but not really... I live in a small town where my options are limited. I know a few restaurant owners that don't mind me working out of their place for a few hours, but I wouldn't want to do it everyday, and it's not helping me at 6AM, which is when I typically clock into work. Also, when I have guests, etc. it's usually possible for me to work outside by the pool, there's a decent area there with a roof and concrete bar that makes a good desk.

For now, I think I'll try working from home as much as possible and see how it goes. If I can figure out a plan for dealing with guests and other distractions at home, then I may not need the office. My office is cheap enough that I could keep it whether I use it or not, but I don't want to pay for it if I never use it. I could try just working out of the office between 6AM - 10AM...

Anyway, that's a lot of rambling about myself, but the important things is: where do you work? What are the benefits and drawbacks of your work environment?
 

ssura

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#2
I work out of an office that I split with 2 other people who are freelance web developers. For me, it's absolutely vital, I can't work at 100% at home. There are too many distractions like my bed. I'm staying with my parents right now until my condo is done being built, so I can't just turn another room into an office.

The office is cheap ($450 CAD Total) and split that between 3 people is $150 (or 5 large pizzas) a person. Doesn't come with internet but everything else is included (utils). It's kind of a psychological hack for myself because I've drove to the office, I might as well work my ass off. I usually end up staying there late on a daily anyways.

The only draw back is that the building has tons of other offices (all private) and a communal washroom. Fridays, the Nigerians (90% of the building is Nigerians) get pretty lit and the washroom gets trashed and doesn't get cleaned up until the next week.

Just my 2cents.
 
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#3
I work from home right now and I'd much prefer an office. My home is completely open-planned, almost no doors so if anyone else is in the house I struggle to work.

When I move to my new place in a couple months I'll be working from home but will likely try and get an office Q1 2018. I actually like the idea of an office in a WeWork space, separate room for yourself but makes it very easy to meet others.

Edit: I didn't really answer the question. An office obviously isn't vital, 99% of us don't have offices and have built businesses. However, I do think that it can be very beneficial. If you have a lot going on at home or live in a small house then an office can be a great mental separation.
 

Rageix

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#4
I work from home but I am a single male so there isn't anyone bugging me. If you have children or something like that I could see the benefit of having a separate office where you can isolate yourself.
 
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#5
Been thinking about this and do think it would be better than working from home (I do now).

Has anyone been in a situation where they had a guest house (or nicely furnished shed) that they worked out of? Something that was disconnected from the main house that it had some of both home and office to it.

I wishfully think that would be the best of both worlds, but my logical mind says it might be more 'home' than 'office'.
 
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#6
Hi @animalstyle , I don't have a separate office but my dad did. My dad ran his own successful consulting company from our home for years. His office moved from his bedroom to a spare room till finally he had an office built in our backyard. By this time I was about 9, my brother 6, and my sister 3.

With 3 young (loud) kids he needed to have that separation.

He said there were some noticeable advantages.
  1. Away from loud kids
  2. Better separation from 'home' space and 'work' space. There's a big difference from just being able to walk into a room you walk past all the time, to having to physically leave the house.
  3. It was also his space. He wasn't inconvenienced and interupted by people walking in and out.
The office was essentially a granny flat, minus the kitchenette. It had a bathroom and shower. He kitted it out with a comfy couch and bought a nice big desk to spread out on. He had a massive window put in overlooking the bush our property backs onto. His desk sat overlooking the trees. He also finally had room for a proper photocopier and some other things he'd needed for a while but was too afraid us kids would stick our hands in.

He's semi retired now and doesn't use it. It's now a spare room for when myself or my siblings come to Sydney to visit and want privacy.
 

eliquid

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#7
I've been toying around the idea of an outside office again.

I had some great deals in the past bc I live in a rural area, but I gave the office the up after 3 years because I found myself not going to it and instead working at home. Since them I have worked from home for 7 years now and I am getting the itch to get out of the house and work in an office again for multiple reasons.
 
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#8
I have an office. It's a small one where it's just me watching over a company that I let run on it's own. I can do this because I own 1/3 of it. It pays for itself.

I like it because it feels like work. I hate it because no one is doing what I do, and there's a loneliness and "lostlessness" in that. I would like to move to a co-working space of like-minded people, but I'm not quite in the level of experience to know what can be said or kept hush hush.

When people ask generally I tell them "I design websites".
 

Robin

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#9
I took the switch after working from home for several years to finally get an office.
I live on my own, so I didn't have the issue with noise or alike at home, however, I needed more structure in my personal and work life (separate it a bit). Working from home, cafes and here and there wasn't motivating enough, it wasn't encouraging me to achieve more - it was just too good, calm and chill.

As you mentioned, there are a lot of pros about working from home; easier for staying healthy, miscellaneous costs, going to the gym when it fits the best etc. However, the extra productivity of working at an office has strongly outweighed the lost pros from working at home.

I decided to try something a bit "corporate" and got an office through Regus (serviced offices), that way I can fully focus on my work. Right now, I got my own office, however, at the end of the month, I will be switching to their "coworking" which is just a typical shared office environment with a handful of other people.
For me, just having people "around" helps me a lot and increases my productivity, even though I work alone.

Sidenote:
At the same time, I actually moved to a metropolitan area/city. So it was a bit of a lifestyle change for me; from living at a cozy and chill place to living in a stressful, busy and noisy city - but so far, it has been great.
I can always move to something quiet and cozy when I get older.
 
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#12
After a few days of thought and reading the replies here, I'm thinking I will keep the office for now (it's only ~$300/month including Internet and utilities), and I'll be on the look out for a private office I can upgrade to. In the meantime, I'll probably work from home most of the time and go into the office just a few hours per week.

I think a private office is definitely the way to go. I'm a programmer, so I often need silence and long uninterrupted periods of work. I can deal with noise and distraction, but not when I'm learning something new or working on something tricky that requires my full attention.
 
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#13
A week and a half of working from home, and I've cast my vote for "It's vital".

It's possible to have some really good days working from home, so I'll probably continue to take time off from the office now and then, but it's too easy for work life and domestic life to collide. The plan for now will probably be to stay in the office between 5AM and 12PM, and then have the afternoons for surfing and gym and all of that stuff. I think that structuring my time in terms of "on the computer" and "away the computer" is a solid bet, with my productive time on the computer happening at the office, my productive time away from the computer happening in the afternoons, and my family time in the evenings.

The best laid plans of mice and men... Wish me luck!
 
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#14
Checking back in... been in my own office (not sharing with anyone) for over a year now and it's awesome. I immediately starting earning more money. It's much easier to manage stress and stay focused on work, and if I feel like spending time reading or playing games, there's no one there to bother me. The office is pretty spacious, plenty of room for friends to come in and hang out when appropriate, it's 5 min walk to the beach, coffee shop downstairs. I've become a much better worker and entrepreneur this year and I think having a dedicated place to focus on my stuff with no interruptions is a huge part of it.
 
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#15
I own a coworking space, but I also have a home office. I generally work from home either 6-7 and then at coworking until 3 and from 4-11 at home, or from 6-14 and 15:21 at coworking.

I do my best work at my home office. Have an imac + extra screen, speakers, whiteboard, standing desk and a nice balcony outside for breaks.