This past month I got a small office space down the road from my house for me to work at day-to-day. Don't get me wrong, working from home is amazing but like anything else it comes with some drawbacks. When I was looking for a place I knew that it needed to be within 5 minutes of my house otherwise I wouldn't be able to go home for lunch and hang out with Alex and Elliot (wife and daughter).
Here are the three reasons that I stopped working from home everyday.
Although our team is remote and the majority of our meetings are over video call, we will still all get together and create. We had met a few times at my house and occasionally at the local library. When I needed to meet someone on our team in person we would go to a coffee shop or to my house. As our team is growing the meetings at my home became stressful for both my wife and myself. We have an 8 month old, a dog and a cat. It's not the easiest place to keep clean with all of that going on.
When I would have client meetings over video calls, it seems that they always fell at the same time as nap time. Most of the time this wouldn't be an issue, but I have definitely needed to step away and calm a screaming baby down during a video call with a potential client, not ideal.
The difficulty with public places like a coffee shop and the library is that they are quite, well, public. When we are talking about personnel, or sensitive client information, you certainly feel exposed in these public places, especially in a small town.
Just this past week two of the team were at the office working and on an hour long video call brainstorming session where they are collaborating on creative work. The whole time I was thinking about difficult this would have been at the coffee shop. Meetings can be more productive when you have a whiteboard, fast and reliable wifi and some privacy more than I realized.
2. Future Hires
One of the main considerations in getting a space was around future hires. Currently our team is comprised of people that I have worked with and known in the past. They all also happen to be male. As we have been looking to hire a new graphic designer, most of the top candidates have been female who have recently graduated. I can empathize with a parent of a 21 year old female and when they talk about their new job being remote, you question it. When you follow it up with "Ok, I'm heading to my bosses house for a meeting" I imagine you're not too thrilled.
Scaling brings a lot of excitement, but also many other elements that require a mindful and proactive approach. Bringing strangers into my home is not the most attractive option for me. Especially with an 8 month old.
3. Deep Work
Having a quiet place, free from distraction has boosted my productivity. Of course deep work is possible at my home office, but at home there are many alternative tasks that can pull me away from something that I have been avoiding. When I'm at the office, I feel guilty if I'm not being productive. At home I would clean the kitchen, take the dog for a walk, something that felt productive but was avoiding the task I really needed to get done.
I hope to maintain this posture of deep work moving forward. It should help me separate work from home and be more present in both facets of life when it's time to engage.
I'm a huge advocate for remote work, but being remote doesn't mean you need to work at home in your pajamas. You need to protect your spaces and make sure that you're giving your best at home and at work. For me a physical separation has been key in this. Do you work remotely? If so, how do you separate work from home?