Working From Home vs. Renting An Office: When To Switch
Either way, you’re probably wondering, what are the benefits of working from home, or are there advantages to leaving the work from home lifestyle behind?
The best working situation depends on your personality, the type of business you run, and what your business goals are. There are pros and cons to both solutions, so it comes down to what’s important to you.
This blog post will provide insights to the benefits of both starting a business remotely and having office space, so that you can determine which solution is right for you.
The Debate: Work From Home Or Rent An Office?
Most people have strong opinions when it comes to whether they want to start a home based business and offer remote jobs or rent an office. But how do you know when it’s time to switch from working at home to renting work space?
For many people, there’s a certain appeal to working from home. This is especially true if you’ve spent years working in an office environment. When you work from home, you have the freedom to start and end your workday when you’d like.
For example, you have a better work/life balance, giving you time for activities like working out, cooking, or dropping your kids off at school. Plus, you may find that the solitude of working from home allows you to be more productive.
However, for others, the reality of the work from home lifestyle is very different. Many people struggle to implement the structure that an office environment provides.
Flexibility is great, but without structure you may become unproductive. Plus, if you have family members who are home during the day, you may find working from home to be distracting.
Ultimately, you may determine that working remotely is prohibiting business growth. However, let’s first examine some of the factors that you should consider prior to making a decision.
Before you decide whether to permanently work from home or rent an office, you’ll need to consider what kind of commute you’re willing to make. Here are a few things to consider about both setups.
Commuting When Working From Home
Obviously, the extent of your “commute” while working from home will likely be from your bedroom to your in-home office.
This lack of a commute can free up a lot of time in your workday. You may find that you have more time to exercise in the morning or enjoy breakfast with your family. Or, you may just be able to complete more work throughout the course of your day, since you won’t have to account for your commute time.
However, some people dislike the lack of a commute. Many people enjoy the process of commuting to work because they find that it gives them valuable time to think and start their day on the right foot. Others simply like getting out of the house, and feel too confined working from home every day.
Commuting When Renting An Office
Commuting to an office space can be a great way to enjoy the best parts of working at an office and working from home. You’ll start your day in a structured way, but this time, you’re the one calling the shots. As a business owner, you can decide when you go into work and when your workday ends.
Still, some people dislike the time it takes to commute to their office space every day. You may find that commuting costs you valuable time that could be spent doing other things, or money that could be spent on other areas of your business.
Workflow flexibility is the reason many people seek self-employment in the first place. Naturally, it’ll be a huge consideration when it comes to where you work during the day.
Flexibility While Working From Home
Flexibility is one of the biggest reasons that people want to work from home. Different people are productive during different times of the day, but traditional workplaces don’t allow for this.
Some people are most productive early in the morning, while others work best in the evenings. Running a home based business makes it easy for you to choose the workflow that best fits your needs.
However, for some remote workers, working from home provides a little too much flexibility. If you’re not careful, this flexibility can quickly turn into unproductivity. For instance, employees might be tempted with surfing social media, watching TV, or just becoming distracted in general.
Flexibility While Working In An Office
When you rent an office space, you may still have the same freedom to choose your working hours. If you work best from 7AM to 3PM every day, then you can still do that as a business owner.
Unlike working from home, you’ll have to plan for the time it’ll take you to get ready and commute to your office. This gives you the flexibility you’re looking for, without unstructured downtime.
3. Business Attire and Dress Code
The standard for workplace dress will vary greatly between renting an office and working from home. Here are some things to consider.
Dress Code While Working From Home
When you work from home, there’s no expectation that you look professional or get ready for your workday. This may sound appealing, but over time, many people find this pattern affects their productivity.
If you’re going to work from home, try to make a habit of getting dressed and ready for your day. This discipline will put you in the right kind of mindset to work on your business.
Dress Code While Working In An Office
If you’re paying to rent an office, you’ll likely find that you’re more motivated to dress up for your day when you’re working in an office setting. This will be especially true if you’ll have people working in the office with you.
4. Taking Care Of Family and Pets
Switching from working at home to renting an office won’t just affect you, it’ll affect your family members and pets as well. Here are some of the pros and cons of this decision.
Balancing Family Life And Pets When Working From Home
Many people want to work from home because it allows them to be more involved with their families. When you work from home, you can drive your kids to school and spend more time with them. Or, you can take a lunchtime break to take the family dog for a walk.
However, these things can get in the way of your business over time. This is especially true if you regularly take client calls. You may find that trying to work in the same place as your family and pets can become distracting.
Balancing Family Life And Pets When Working In An Office
When you’re at the office, you may be able to focus more on your business. However, it can be challenging to tend to your outside responsibilities if you have to commute to an office every day.
5. Other Factors To Consider
When it comes to working from home or renting an office, there’s no right answer. Different people have different goals and priorities, so the right choice will vary for everyone. Here are a few other factors to consider before moving your business to an office.
Your Work Environment
One of the biggest things you need to consider is your business’s industry. Does your business require you to meet with clients or have conference calls? If so, then you need to consider what you’re presenting to your clients.
Renting an office space will appear more professional, so your clients may take you more seriously. It’ll also give you a designated space to meet and brainstorm with clients.
One of the things you’ll have to consider is associated rental costs. Depending on where you live, renting an office may not be cheap. Plus, rent costs will continue to rise over the years, so you’ll have to determine whether you’re financially ready for this kind of commitment.
If you rent an office, then you’ll be able to claim this as a business expense on your taxes. There are certain tax write-offs when you use a home office as well, but you’ll have to make sure you keep detailed records of your housing costs.
In addition, you may need to prove that your home office is actually used for work in order to get approved for tax deductions.
The Need For Motivation
Finally, you should consider your need for motivation. Many people find it hard to stay motivated while working at or running a home business. There’s no boss to keep you accountable and no co-workers to interact with.
This makes it easy for many people to become bored and unmotivated. If you find yourself in this place, then renting an office may be the right step for you. It can provide some external pressure and can give you the leverage you need to take your business to the next level.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the pros and cons of working from home?
Many people love the flexibility that working from home brings. You can start your day the way you want and work on your own terms. By not having to commute to an office, this will free up more time during your workday.
However, the lack of structure can be difficult for many people. It’s easy to feel isolated and bored if you rarely interact with other people.
What are the pros and cons of renting an office?
Renting an office can be a great way to combine the flexibility of working from home with a structured work environment. Due to this, you may have an easier time balancing your personal life with your professional goals.
In addition, your clients will likely take you seriously if you have a designated office to meet them in. However, renting an office space can be pricey, so you’ll have to consider whether you’re prepared to take this step.
What are some working from home tips I can try?
When working from home, the best thing you can do is have a set work schedule and structured office space. Your office should be a place that’s quiet where you won’t be bothered by family members. This will give you the focus you need while enjoying the flexibility that working from home offers.
How do I know when it’s time to rent an office space?
Most likely, you’ll know it’s time to switch when you feel financially prepared and believe working from home is holding your business plans back. Once you reach this point, it’s probably time to rent an office.
Editor’s Note: This post was updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in December 2020.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.