I find myself feeling Déjà vu but not quite….
A few weeks ago I had to move out of my beautiful office and back home due to the company that owned the offices (a serviced office business) moved and restructured and couldn’t fit all of us little businesses back in.
Sadly, many of us who worked there had got to know each other well, said goodbye and many moved into larger premises and their own new offices spread out across the city of Sydney.
The thought of moving my office home gave me the shudders as memories came flooding back.
This will be the 3rd time I have moved my business to a place I call home.
As this is the 3rd home I have moved an office into, each time was at a different stage of life and each came with it’s pluses and minuses.
Home Office no. 1
The first time was in my large house with a then large extended family living within it.
Add to the mix 2 dogs and a cat with at least 3 teenagers and you have my first home office.
I was in my early 30’s, we employed 2 tradies (as we owned a trades business) and the house was never still!
This wasn’t the office but a close resemblance!
Daily deliveries of parts and equipment, coupled with the realisation that you can’t teach teenagers to answer the phone professionally meant soon I had organised a separate telephone line into the house to stop the stress. I learnt many things about mixing family & business and within 18 months we moved out into our own factory with 10 telephone lines with 8 staff and 2 part timers & usually 1 apprentice.
- You can wear what you want if no one is coming to see you
- Procrastination can mean you get more house work done if avoiding a particular task (this can also be a Con) the plus is a clean house
- You can pop out to pick up that mail etc. and just divert the phones to your mobile and no one need know
- You can keep an eye on the kids when they get home and hear about their day or sort out any emergencies
- Your time is yours and there is no time spent in traffic getting to the office
- Our neighbours loved the fact they knew someone was at home as they were retired so it gave them piece of mind
- Working with family (this is a plus & a minus)
- Being dressed like no one will ever see you means you may not get your head into work mode, some people need to dress in work clothes to make them work better and be more focused
- Friends can think you have plenty of time as you’re at home and can drop in unannounced for cups of tea making you lose valuable working time
- Customers can drop in outside of “working hours” just because they know you live there
- If you aren’t self disciplined you can waste your day very easily (see one of the pros of having a clean house above)
- Your home no longer becomes your sanctuary- separation of family and work can become blurred, you start to pop into the office late at night etc. Discussions become about the business and a real passion killer is waking up and being asked about Mrs Smith’s job first thing in the morning…before you’ve even got out of bed!
- As above- the turning point for me to move the office out was when a delivery man walked straight into the house (as he knew there was someone always home) without waiting for the door to be opened at the same time I walked out of the shower and into the hall, luckily I was wearing a towel (though it was a small one) No Privacy!
- Working with family (as mentioned, it is a plus and a minus)
Home Office no. 2 happened in my late 30’s.
I was now single and recovering from a major brain operation when I started planning Inspiring Women. This time I lived in a unit on my own and could do as I pleased and it gave me pleasure to look out the windows at the glorious trees and hear life happening outside. The downside at that time was my concentration levels weren’t how they used to be and my tolerance for stress had been diminished. I was now older and feeling a bit wiser.
- Your stuff is exactly where you left it last and you know when you’re about to run out of something because only you used it last.
- You know that getting out for a walk is not only beneficial physically but is great mentally too. I realised my best creative thoughts came when I moved, not sitting at a desk.
- You can pop out, arrange your day to suit when you work best without the guilt factor
- Meetings at home can be fun- I used to have Inspiring Women committee meetings and it felt great to share my space for more creative thoughts
- I preferred having a routine to start my day before work, it consisted of a small walk that ended up at the beach for a morning coffee starting at the ocean, then walking back and changing into work clothes to start my day. The ocean soothes the mind.
- Sometimes you feel isolated and wish there was someone to bounce ideas off
- I could become too focused and lose track of time and find myself emailing and phoning people too late in the day/night without even realising it (as there is no one to remind you of the time of day)
- Door to door salespeople interrupting your train of thought
- Friends who phone wanting you to meet them because they have free time and think you do too
- Your feeding habits become a bit sloppy (read into this lazy)
Which now bring me to Home office no.3
As I mentioned, I was feeling a bit nervous about this.
I am now late 40’s, in a steady relationship with a semi retired darling at home.
Would this be a mistake?
How funny to then realise that my darling was as nervous as me!
“Would I watch him like a hawk and give him chores to do?” (no, I’m too busy just getting my work done)
“I would realise that he is lazy…” (Really??? Do I have to be at home to notice that??)
Initially I resisted when I was asked if I want a sandwich for lunch.. for years I got my own lunch but I thought, why not? I make dinner so why can’t he make me lunch? It’s works & it’s working well.
As I relax more into how my day works best for me…I’m now:
- Taking walks again when it suits me to get creative
- Don’t have to wait until I drive to the office to send stuff out anymore
- My events are less tiring to prepare for as I’m not lugging items in & out of an office and transferring it all to my car and then taking some of it home and taking other items to the office- it is all on one spot.
- On football nights- I can disappear into the office and get some things done without feeling guilty about not spending time together
- And speaking of spending time together; now it is more spread out over a day instead of a couple of tired hours together before falling into bed
- I don’t feel bad about going to night meetings anymore as I’m glad to get out of the house & I’m less tired!
My biggest challenge so far is remembering where I have put things and also being asked to do personal chores for my elderly father.
However as this stage in life, it seems to be a good place to work from as it means I can be more flexible and still keep working effectively around the hours that I have.
I know for everyone it’s different.
I know of some people that need to walk around the block and come in through their front door to feel like they have started work.
- I miss having time to get my head into work mode- just a couple of steps and I’m there (this “taking yourself to work” business should take a little longer, surely?)
- I miss the drive home where you get the chance to empty your mind of work and transform into a (insert your role here) partner/wife/mother/carer/entertainer/referee/homework checker etc.( I walk out the door and after 4 meters I’m in the kitchen where defrosting meat can mean a chance to pop back and check the computer)
- and I miss having a regular decent coffee…..
However, technology has changed dramatically over this short period and being mobile is no longer the difficulty it once was and laptops & WIFI hotspots have all made working and moving around so much easier…
So life from a home office now will be a very different experience from my previous ones and one I am enjoying from a different perspective. Even though I’ve already been offered 2 offices, I am going to see how well this works this time as I feel that this is where I am meant to be.
What’s your experience?