Doing a Google search the other day, I noticed the business-info-with-photo displayed on the right-hand side of the screen (I assume these are businesses listed in Google Places). I thought wistfully to myself, “It’s too bad my business isn’t bringing in more money – I could have my own separate office.” Then it occurred to me, “…but would I want one?”
Of course, my business falls in a particular class of businesses that don’t have need of a brick-and-mortar location. As a Virtual Assistant, I can – and do – work with clients anywhere in Canada. (I am located in Nova Scotia, but at the moment all of my clients are in British Columbia and Alberta).
Of course, there are advantages to having a “real” office. You are more likely to pick up local clients if you have a visible business location, and it sure looks good on your promo materials and “About Us” website page if you can show photos of “Our business offices in the Wowser Building in downtown Whoville”.
Still, I don’t think I’d want to give up the advantages of working out of an office in my home.
I’ll pass over the “being able to work in your pajamas” idea – I wouldn’t feel comfortable working in my pajamas even though no one would know about it but my husband. But there are other advantages:
– Cost: not only do you not have to pay extra for rent/mortgage, utilities etc. for a separate location, but you can legally deduct a portion of your home expenses (which you would be paying anyway) as business expenses.
– Convenience: icy roads? car in the shop? huge traffic jams? No matter – your business is just a few steps down the hall.
– Flexibility: with my clients able to reach me any time by cell phone or email, I can take time off during working hours for essential chores, medical appointments, and the odd “beautiful day” break. And I can extend my working hours easily to make up lost time, or when I’m “on a roll”.
– Safety: as a one-person business, having my own “real” office would mean working alone. In today’s hazardous world, that can be anything from somewhat nerve-wracking to downright dangerous. Instead, I’m working in the safety of my own home (with my husband just down the hall, working on his own business!)
– Lack of distractions: this one doesn’t apply to someone with small children trying to work from home, but for me, working from my home means I’m able to concentrate on my work with no office chit-chat – or office politics – to distract me.
Like so many things in life, working from home has both advantages and disadvantages. But for me, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Long live the in-home office!