One of the most amazing things about being a business owner is the ability to decide when and where to work. From productivity to communication and inspiration to avoiding distractions, many business owners of today are faced with the choice between having a home office and working from a rented office space.
Furthermore, the lockdown that followed the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has made offices, both small and big to close their doors, and has pushed a large part of the world to think of working from home. With technology advancement and internet boom, business owners who are able to work from home see a home office as an affordable and excellent option. At the same time, having an office business outside your home also has incredible merits.
Whether home office or a rented office space outside your home, this article takes you through important things to consider in relation to your business before making the leap. It focuses on the side-by-side comparison of working from home versus working from an outside office under the following key points:
- Travel commute
- Flexibility & Convenience
- Financial cost
- Attire and Dress code
Now, let’s get started
1. TRAVEL COMMUTE
Before you decide whether to work from home or rent an office, you will need to consider what kind of travel commute you will be willing to make.
Travel Commute When Renting An Office
If you are renting an office, then you will need to have some kind of travel commute every workday. Commuting to your rented office can be a great way to enjoy the best parts of working at an office from home. But the length of your travel commute will depend on how far your office is from your home. While some business owners find the commute time valuable to meditate and start their day on the right foot, others simply like the fact that they are leaving their house daily without feeling too confined to working from home. Of course, you will start your day in a structured way, but this time, you are the one in charge. You decide when you go into work and when your workday ends.
On the contrary, travel commute is one of the biggest disadvantages of working from an office. A report showed that an average American employee spends about 26 minutes to work daily, and it is getting worse. Over 14 million people spend at least an hour on their daily commute to work. Commuting may costs you the valuable time that you could have spent in a much more productive way, or the money you could have spent on other areas of your business. Furthermore, traffic congestion and wasted time add up to stress, and you may start your day stressed out.
Travel Commute When Working From Home
While some business owners enjoy the travel and want a separation of office and home, others think differently. The non-existence of regular commuting is the biggest relief for business owners working from home. The extent of your travel, however, will likely be from your room to your in-home office. You do not have to take on tedious commutes or worry about sitting in traffic, commuting-related expenses, or even skip breakfast. Working from home gives you enough time to work. The quality time you could have wasted commuting back and forth to work daily may be used to complete more work throughout the day.
When it comes to renting an office and working from home, there is no right or wrong answer. Business owners have different priorities and goals, so the right choice will differ for everyone. However, here are a few things to consider.
Rent When Working From Home
Working from home can save you the cost of office rent. Instead of paying rent both for your home and your office space, a single payment will cover both expenses. You also avoid some business expenses, like stocking your office with supplies, furniture, and other equipment, which many people already have.
If your business industry requires that you meet with clients or take in-person meetings, then the in-home office may not be the best choice for you. Of course, you can always meet at a public location, but you need to consider the stress of moving back and forth to meet clients.
Rent When Working From A Separate Office
Having a separate business office will make you appear more professional, and let your clients take you more seriously. It gives you a designated space to meet and share ideas with clients. Not only do you need the office space for practical reasons, but it also gives your business credibility and you will most likely deal with lesser interruptions. You will be able to keep a regular work routine, instead of always overlapping your work and home life. It also keeps your employees (if any) on track and holds people accountable for their work. Even if your business does not get regular visits from clients, you can still benefit from having a separate office. Depending on your budget, you can get a convenient office that suits your business needs.
The major downside to renting a dedicated office for your business is the cost. Depending on your location, renting an office may not be cheap and the cost of rent will continue to increase with time. Apart from paying for the office space, you will also need to pay rent for your home. Therefore, you need to determine whether you are financially capable of this kind of commitment. Newer business owners might find this out of reach. But if your business is well established and you can afford the expense, you will find that the benefits of renting an office space are well worth the cost. Apart from the cost of renting, you also need to consider the expenses for utilities, furniture, and other equipment.
Productivity is a big factor to consider, and only you best understand your work style.
Productivity When Working From Home
If you think you would be more productive working from home, you may not need to find an outside office. Of course, working from home takes discipline to be productive, and business owners that choose that path need to be focused. A report showed that it will averagely take about 23 minutes to regain focus after a distraction. You may actually find it harder to focus and get your work done, as it is very easy to switch to surfing the web, attend to your kids, pets, etc. All these activities might cause too much distraction that your work suffers in the process. You might even find yourself constantly working while your home life suffers. However, there can be a learning curve on how to reduce distractions and increase your productivity at home.
Productivity when renting an office
If you want to work better in a more professional environment, working from an office can be a solid investment. It is far more productive and certainly cheaper, provided you do not get an unwanted distraction at home. But note that being surrounded by like-minded people can especially be inspiring and overwhelmingly distractive.
A business address is where your business operates from, and used for communicating with your customers. Here is what to consider:
Credibility when working from home
For home-based business owners, using their home address for business may seem the best choice. It is free and does not cost a cent. You can easily check for mail and receive any package in your sleepsuits. Your home address can be a valid option if you are a freelancer or a consultant. But generally, it has considerable disadvantages, like safety issues, credibility concerns, privacy as well as potential legal consequences. A home address is not professional, since it will not offer a professional image your business needs to thrive. You should understand that clients would have access to your home. And if you happen to receive an angry customer, they may bang on your door and drive the attention of your neighbors. Depending on your type of business and the laws guiding your city, you may even be unable to run your business from home. Additionally, merchant services and financial institutions will generally not accept a home address or PO Box as a business address for a corporation or LLC. They would rather like to see a real office or a physical street address.
Credibility when renting an office
Having a separate office address for your business gives you a professional image, trust and credibility, protects your privacy, creates a meeting place for your clients, can be used to register for Corporations and LLCs, and is accepted for merchant and bank services. Most importantly, you are more likely to be accepted for credit than a home address business.
The payment of tax is not what you can escape as a business owner.
Tax when working from home
There are some tax write-offs when you use a home office. Combining your home and your office will empower you to add some household expenses as business costs too. This way, you would be able to spare some extra pennies in all directions. However, you will have to ensure you keep full records of your housing costs. You may also need to prove that your in-home office is actually used for business purposes.
Tax when renting an office
If you work from a rented office, you will need to also handle taxes in your office, which, in my opinion, is something undesirable and annoying, especially to new business owners. However, you will be able to get a tax deduction on your business costs.
6. FLEXIBILITY & CONVENIENCE
Workflow flexibility is the major reason why you own your business in the first place. Obviously, it should be a huge consideration regarding where you work.
Flexibility and convenience when working from home
Flexibility and convenience are some of the reasons business owners may choose to work from home. Different people are productive at different times of day, but the conventional offices do not permit it. Working from home makes it easy for you to choose the best workflow that suits your business needs. It gives you the flexibility to wake up when you want. You define your work hours and program your day to suit your business model. For some business owners, working from home provides excessive flexibility. And if care is not taken, the flexibility can quickly make you unproductive.
Flexibility and convenience when renting an office
When you work from an office space, you still have the freedom to choose your working hours. But you will have to plan for the time it will take you to get ready for work and commute to your office. This may give you the flexibility you are looking for, without any downtime.
Communication when working from home
Communication is very essential in any business. With technology allowing for home businesses, you can run a home office and reap the benefits of communication. Even if you have a team or looking to hire, there are different platforms that can help you communicate effectively with clients and team members from your home office. You can use Trello to manage specific projects, Skype to video or voice chat with clients, and Slack to stay in touch with people.
Not having face-to-face communication with clients may result in a lack of collaboration. Many people find that working from home is like solitary confinement. Even though communication still happens, it will still not satisfy this need. Apart from video conferencing, chats, emails, and messages, there is a place for social interactions. Additionally, home business might not be the best solution for extrovert business owners who like interacting with people daily.
Communication when renting an office
Face-to-face communication with people is something you can really get when it comes to working from an office. There is one unique thing about building relationships that occurs when you bump into someone or sit close to another person. Not only is it beneficial, but it also strengthens relationships and rapport with other people.
8. FINANCIAL COSTS
The differences between working from home and working from an office can also be seen in financial costs. Here, I’m not talking about how much money you can earn.
Financial costs when working from a separate office
When working from a rented office, you will pay for your commuting, such as public transit. And if you are driving, you will have to pay for gas and probably your parking space. All of these expenses add up.
Financial costs when working from home
A key benefit for business owners working from home is that it helps you cut down on some otherwise essential costs. There are no overhead, utility bills and other management costs can be significantly lowered, no payroll, no extra utilities, no worker’s comp, no office rental, etc. While you save in some ways, working from home has some unavoidable financial costs. There is an initial investment in setting up the right workplace and reducing these expenses will only result in lower productivity. The usual work-at-home expenses include chairs, desks, broadband internet routers, and energy costs like electricity.
9. BUSINESS ATTIRE AND DRESS CODE
The dress code standard for workplace will definitely vary between working from home and renting an office. Here are a few things to consider.
Dress Code for an in-home business
When you work from your in-home office, there is no belief that you must look professional or be ready for your workday. With a full-featured business phone app, you can attend conference calls, make and receive calls, message employees, and clients. Video conferences will only show your waist up. If the mood is right, you might wear a pajama or shorts bottoms and a suit shirt and. And when you do not have to video chat with anyone, working in pajamas and sweatpants become completely possible. This may sound interesting. But eventually, people find that this “dress as you want to” attitude is affecting their productivity. If you will be working from home, you can make it a habit of getting dressed as if you are going to resume in a physical office. This way, you will be able to put the right kind of mindset to work on your business.
Dress Code When working in a separate office
If you are working from a rented office space, there won’t be a formal dress code either. But you will likely find that you are more motivated to dress nicely when you are commuting to your office. This is especially true if you will hire employees to work with you at the office.
Time For You To Decide
Perhaps you are asking now that I do not have to spend an hour commuting to work daily and can settle to work from the comfort of my home, why would I want to consider office business? Well, can you be disciplined enough to work from home? Have you ever thought how positive and rewarding working in an office can be? There is no employer to keep you accountable and no co-employee to interact with. Your choice of the office environment can make a big impact on the success of any business.
FINAL THOUGHT Whether to work from home or rent an office depends greatly on your business. As explained above, each option has its advantages and disadvantages, and none is applicable to all types of businesses. It is therefore important that you consider every point in relation to the needs of your business model before and decide what is best for you.