To Office, Or To Remote Office
Traditionally speaking, most of us were raised believing we would graduate college, find a job in our field, and climb the corporate ladder, all the while working out of an office building.
What’s so incredible these days is the ever-increasing numbers of individuals foregoing the cubicle culture and forging their own paths as entrepreneurs.
More and more people are making the move from corporate to solopreneur, but this begs the question — where do they work?
Picture this: Peter has just built his first niche site. He’s done his own keyword research, created his own website, built out all of his brand’s social media profiles, and all the other necessary tasks to get his business rolling.
Peter knows that if he wants to grow his business or website portfolio he’ll likely need to hire a VA and a few more employees. Here’s the kicker though — do they work in an office together so he can oversee all of their work, or does he go remote and virtual?
When you stop to consider all the factors associated with going out on your own, it may become a little overwhelming. How to build and manage a team is definitely one of the biggest considerations you will make as an online business owner.
As a company that works 100% remotely, we clearly prefer the office-less path, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s right for your business. We wanted to break down the advantages and disadvantages of working from an office so you can decide for yourself.
The Advantages of Working from an Office
There are many ways working from an office can be beneficial for your business, and many of them are the same reasons digital nomads enjoy coworking locations.
For starters, having a dedicated office space can create consistency in your business. It gives you a place to go every day where your workspace is ready for you. You can deck it out with external monitors or screens that don’t strain your eyes, ergonomic chairs to promote healthy posture, and anything else that would make working there comfortable and productive.
This doesn’t mean you need to sign a lease per se. Most coworking spaces offer private offices that you can rent out on a monthly basis or for multi-month terms, which is a great option if you want to test it out. In fact, more and more of the digital nomads we know are going this route because it gives them functionality without forcing them to work in a traditional office setting.
Another reason having a dedicated office space can benefit your growing business is that it provides your team with a great space for brainstorming and bouncing ideas off one another. Working from a team table lets you jam with coworkers when you need to finesse an idea or are stuck on a particular task. One-on-one, in-person assistance is often much easier than trying to do it remotely.
Another advantage is when you need to coordinate with multiple team members on a particular project or task. Getting together in one space gives you uninterrupted access to each other and can help you power through faster than if you were coordinating via email or Skype.
The right office environment can also let you feed off the energy of your coworkers, making you want to be more productive, smash out your tasks, and do your best, because everyone else around you is doing the same. Try as you might, this feeling is hard to replicate from a home office.
Being able to socialize is another great advantage of working at an office. There’s something to be said about being surrounded by other like-minded individuals. Working from home all by yourself, every single day, can be exhausting, demotivating, and lonely at times. The social atmosphere of an office can prevent this lonesome lethargy and improve your productivity.
While these benefits are all well and good, let’s dive into the darker side of working in an office.
The Disadvantages of Working in an Office
Remember when we mentioned that working in an office is great for brainstorming and socializing? Well, unfortunately, that also means there are plenty of opportunities for interruptions and distractions which can greatly impact productivity.
Studies show that the average office worker is only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes each workday. Some of the ways workers procrastinate include checking social media and the news, preparing hot beverages, taking food or smoke breaks, and more. This isn’t to say that you couldn’t lose valuable work hours doing these very same tasks from home, but they are definitely more prevalent in the office environment.
Whether you’re a startup bootstrapping your business or making bank with 50+ employees, the cost of working from an office space can be high. You have to take into consideration the lease or mortgage fees, utilities, and furniture costs, to name a few. By going office-less, you immediately save yourself one of the biggest overhead costs of running a business.
Saving money on rent was one of the influencing reasons Buffer decided to go remote, but another reason — one that is applicable to any other business — is that they found they were putting off work because they would delay meetings until all staff members were in the office. Eventually, they determined that hopping on a Hangout call would be much more productive, and that didn’t require an office space.
Distractions, procrastination, and high overhead costs are all great reasons to go remote, but by far, the number one reason you might prefer working from home is that an office can impede your lifestyle, and ultimately, your happiness.
For example, when Joe and I started Empire Flippers, we wanted to create a business that worked for us, not the other way around, and this is actually something we hear about a lot from entrepreneurs that we talk to. Online business owners want the freedom to work and travel as they please, and to choose the hours that are best suited for their personal peak performance times. Because let’s be honest — not everyone gets their best work done at 9 a.m. Many of us are much more productive in the late afternoon or evening, while others are early birds.
Speaking of peak productivity, just because you’re technically office-less does not mean you don’t have an established routine or schedule. Quite the opposite, actually.
Many of the digital nomads we know have some of the strictest work routines, yet they work from coffee shops or home. These individuals work and travel from wherever, but wake up at a specific time each day, put in their full day’s work, take short lunch breaks, and work out. This routine is what allows them to thrive successfully between the digital nomad lifestyle and that of an office worker.
To Office or Not to Office, That Is the Question
Traditional offices strive for conformity, enforcing everything from dress code to the hours at which you clock in and out.
The problem is, people are not the same. We work and function differently, and attempting to force us into a traditional office setting will not breed an environment for success.
And like Peter, our niche site builder from above, you are far from conventional — you are an entrepreneur.
Perhaps the biggest concern we hear from management considering the shift to remote work is that they fear their employees will not be as productive from home. They worry that left unattended, their workers will slack off and not complete the work. This could not be further from the truth.
Of course, there’s always going to be that one individual who slacks off, but that’s just how it is. Remember that this happens in regular offices as well!
When you give your team the freedom and empowerment to work on their own, you are telling them that you trust them.
That is a wicked motivator.
Going remote might just be the best thing you do for expanding your website business. Whether you choose to work from home or at a coffee shop or coworking space, be sure to build a routine that works for you. Find a place where you feel comfortable and motivated, and don’t be shy about pimping it out with your own external monitor, laptop riser, or whatever else you need to get your work done right.
Remember, your business should work for you, not the other way around.
What we want to know is this — what is your position on working from an office and why did you choose to either work in an office or go remote? Feel free to drop us a line in the comments and share your experiences.