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Best Place To Work :: Home Office Or Outside Of Home?


In my interview with Shoemoney, he shared a piece of advice that I thought was rather interesting when asked about the one thing he wish he knew at an earlier age.

Get an office outside the house if you do not have one already. That was really key for me.

Do you agree or disagree?

When trying to decide whether an office inside the home or outside the home is the best place to work, I am not so sure that there is a clear cut answer and it could be a situation where the grass is greener on the other side.

Many people that are not able to work from home likely long for the ability to work from a home office. Likewise, a good number of people that are working from home may desire an office away from all of the distractions often associated with working from home. In my situation, I am able to do a little bit of both and I typically prefer working from home.

However, a few readers seem to feel that Shoemoney is on to something.

30 Day Man mentions, “I have only just worked it out, and getting so much more done away from the homefront.

TDave said, “I definitely agree with the part about getting an office away from the house…or at least detached from the house. If I am at the house my family just does not consider me at work….and I can’t get the time I need.

Earlier I mentioned that I typically prefer to work from my home office.

Lately, I have really been enjoying my time at home because my sons are both in school most of the day and my wife is at work as well. The house is quiet all morning and afternoon which provides me with plenty of uninterrupted time to focus on my work. When my kids get home from school, I am there to greet them and take a break to help them with their homework - which is time that I really enjoy.

Another huge benefit for me is that my office is a considerable commute away from home and that is essentially lost time as opposed to walking down the stairs and being at work.

However, when my wife and kids are on vacation or throughout the summer, I find that being able to leave the home and work at an external office to be essential. Overall my family is outstanding about respecting the fact that I cannot be interrupted while working from home. But given the fact that I do not have an office that can be closed off from everyone, it can be difficult when the kids have friends over or they are running in and out of the house while playing.

If my office were closer to home, I think that I would agree that having an office outside of the house would be very attractive. For the time being I am enjoying my hybrid situation where I have the ability to work from home as needed but can also escape to an office outside of the home.

Do you prefer to work from home or at an office outside the home?

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    On November 29th, 2007 at 6:46 pm, Kelvin Kao said:

    I think the key word here is “uninterrupted”. I used to work fine at my apartment when my roommate is just sitting a few feet away from me. That’s not an issue though. Wife and kids would probably expect more of your attention.

    On November 29th, 2007 at 8:54 pm, TDave said:

    Wife and kids ABSOLUTELY expect more of your attention. I would love to have a “hybrid situation” and I am sure that time will come.

    My wife is a stay at home mom and neither of our kids are in school yet, so they are always at home. My kids (nor my wife) understands the concept of working from home…lol. I am definitely not complaining. It just doesn’t work for me - unless they are asleep :).

    On November 30th, 2007 at 12:32 pm, Mike said:

    I work from home exclusively. I have a wife and a 3 year old son. While I can close my door and filter out the noise, my son frequently wants to pop in with whatever is on his mind. It’s not much different than a co-worker stopping by your cube to talk about the weekend. However both my wife and son can be playful and loud or some other commotion which I can hear. It is rather difficult to maintain focus then.

    The problem I really have is that there is a lot more distractions at home. DVDs, home projects, chores and other distractions that sometimes look more promising than work. My wife seems to always think I’m available to do a little chore like taking out the trash or checking the mail. While they don’t take long, they break focus.

    I’m having a new daughter in February which will be taking over my office. I can’t imagine the distractions that will be when there is a new born, an energetic son, and a wife in the house while I’m working. I’m getting a prefab building next week installed in my backyard that I’m going to finish out for my new office. I’m hoping it will allow me to get more work done.

    - No commute and no high fuel bills
    - Don’t have to dress up
    - Can take a break and spend time with wife and kids
    - Take lunch whenever I want
    - Can save money by eating real, healthy food at home
    - No silly meetings and co-workers that can be more distracting that home issues

    - Kids and wife are a distraction
    - Comforts of home are a distraction
    - Don’t spend much time with co-workers, mostly via IM, email, and phone
    - Hard to separate work and home time

    Overall I love working at home. I think it improves my overall quality of life. I can eat better, healthier lunches. I save money on food and gas. No stressful commutes. No stressful bosses watching over your shoulder making things slower. I see my family more than I possibly could working away from home. I think having family time, healthy food, and less stress will make me much happier in the long run.

    Separating my office from the home should allow me to be more productive and still allow me to take advantage of being at home. Unfortunately I may have to put on more than shorts and a t-shirt during the winter to get to work.

    One last thing I have noticed is the impact on my son. I don’t think he knows what going to work is. He knows that when I’m in my office I’m doing “work” which consists of staring at a screen and moving a toy around. Almost what he does when watching PBS. I’m not yet sure if this will be a good or bad thing for him.

    On December 2nd, 2007 at 1:06 pm, Travel Guy said:

    Working at home office wins hands down for me. Having been a part of the corporate world and dealing with long commutes, I’ve grown to despise having to go work in an office somewhere.

    Granted it can be a challenge depending on family and such, but I do whatever is necessary to maintain an effective home office. Also, I still have to remember to take time for family, but quite frankly, that would happen regardless of my work location.

    On December 3rd, 2007 at 7:08 am, toddlerdaddy said:

    I have a pretty good set up, well sort of:
    I have an office in the city which I go to 9 days out of 10 if I am in the state. The 10th day or so I will ‘work’ from home.

    The work is in quotation marks because the reality is on those days I don’t get much ‘work’ done.

    Sure I will answer the phone, log in and do some emails (or do them on the blackberry while out shopping) and I will be on various phone hook ups. But as for writing up a document or a submission, no chance of that happens as there is too much fun and games at home.

    The worst component though is the times I have to go away for nights on end and work out of conference rooms, hotels, airport business lounges etc. It is during those times I would give anything to be back at home being interrupted constantly to play dress ups :)

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