Many successful small businesses started out as side gigs first undertaken in the home or apartment where the owner lived. The appeals are many: You can keep your business costs low, write-off a home office on your taxes, and enjoy easy access to your work any time of day. However, as a business grows and changes, it’s not uncommon for a home office to start to feel cramped.
If you’ve been working out of your home or apartment for a while now, it’s normal to start wondering whether to stick it out or find some new digs. There’s no need to flip a coin. Here are five ways you can tell when the time has come for you to move out of your home office.
1. Your Employees Aren’t Comfortable
Work from home numbers keep rising — for freelancers, employees, and small-business owners. When you’re just starting out and you’re all alone in your endeavor, the fact that the dishes aren’t done or the dog is shedding are rarely issues that negatively impact your comfort or productivity levels. However, if your company is big enough to need additional employees, there could be problems. Whether it’s a space issue or the reality that your home office lacks that all-important feeling of professionalism, if at any time your employees directly or indirectly express their lack of comfort at being in your home while they’re working, it’s high-time to consider moving out. So whether you need to look into office rentals in Monmouth county or secure a spot in a co-working space, as soon as your employees are not happy about spending their workday in your home, make a beeline for other options.
2. Your Clients Aren’t Comfortable
In similar fashion, your clients’ comfort level in your home office must also be assessed. Maybe you used to get work through online contacts but you’re starting to transition into more locally based clients who want to meet with you. Maybe your clientele’s demographic is shifting, and your current office isn’t quite up to snuff. Maybe you need a sitting area or waiting room to accommodate increased traffic. Whatever the reason, as soon as you discern that your clients are less than comfortable, find a new place to call your office, and do so post-haste. You stand to lose business otherwise.
3. Your Family Is Complaining
Family life, even when it’s going swimmingly, is complex, and sometimes, those complexities can make having a home office a real problem — for everybody involved. Maybe your kids hate that they have to be as quiet as church mice when they come in from school each day at 3 p.m. Maybe you just had a new baby, and your partner finds it annoying when you ask if the little one could quit her squalling now and again. Perhaps your work has a tendency to creep into other parts of the house, cluttering up previously tidy spaces and creating family emergencies and hunting parties when important documents go missing. Don’t sacrifice a peaceful home life just to save a little cash. Relocate your home office if it and your family can’t get along.
4. You’re Lonely
If you work alone in your home office, never have to see clients or your employees, don’t disrupt your family life, and otherwise have no reason you can easily name for why you should add a business expense you don’t have to add, it still doesn’t mean you aren’t ready to leave your home office.
One of the major downsides to working out of your apartment or house is that it keeps you from one of the main pleasures of working: other people. Especially if you’re an extrovert, working at home day in and day out can be lonely, and while the occasional stint out to a coffee shop may ease that feeling a bit, the comforting rattle and hum of other workers is something that can make the minutiae of work pass more bearably. Look into co-working spaces in your town or area. For the price of rent, you can get out of your at-home office and banish loneliness at the same time.
5. Interruptions Are Commonplace
Some neighborhoods, buildings, and lifestyles are more conducive to home offices than others, and if you find your day riddled with interruptions, you may need to relocate just to get anything done. Whether it’s opening the door for your building’s constant stream of deliveries or the construction on your street that seems like it will never end, get yourself to a workspace where you can labor without the constant threat and reality of costly interruptions.
Working from home — especially when you’re just starting out — can prove invaluable as a business decision, but so can renting office space. If anything on this list strikes a chord, it’s time to get out of your home office.