Mixing Work and Home

By nature, I like to be around people, but I’m significantly more productive when I’m alone, or close to it. In a room filled with people I can relate to, I like to have conversations, and find myself easily distracted by what the people around me are doing.

For a variety of reasons, I don’t want to leave my current office space – besides getting along with all the other people working there, we’re great resources for one another, especially when a little bit of expertise is needed that can save hours of time. Additionally, with the number of projects being worked on which involve people from different businesses in the office, it’s more than a little convenient that we’re all in the same room.

However, productivity is the price paid for this convenience, as more frequently, I find myself being distracted, or, as often as not, the one doing the distraction. In an attempt to increase productivity without compromising the benefits of the shared office space, the alternatives were examined. This introspection I believe will benefit anyone looking to set up office, and wondering which of the alternatives below may best suit their needs.

Home Office

As I live in an apartment, this is something that was a moot point. My home computer can be used for work, but the environment is generally not productive, and so I try to keep the work at home to a minimum. A requirement for a home office is that the space designated for office be isolated from the space designated for home. This requires, among other things, the ability to visually block the two areas from intruding on one another.

If you have the space to create a home office, ensure that you are, in fact, able to isolate the office from the rest of the home. To this end, ensure that the room has a door, which, when closed, is considered a clear indication to the rest of the family that you are not to be disturbed.

Coffee Shop

The home of many starting businesses, coffee shops offer the convenience of a place to meet clients in what is perceived to be neutral ground. In an effort to have more people spend their days in their shops, many coffee shops offer Internet access, making it an even better place to work, not to mention the constant availability of your favorite form of caffeine.

The downside is that the shop is not your own space, and therefor imposes limitations on what you can and can’t do there. At the end of every day, you need to gather your notes, pack your bag, and leave, returning the next day to repeat the cycle. Additionally, the ambient noise can be pleasant at times, but it can also be a distraction, often when you most need it not to be.

Business Office

If your budget can afford it, a personal business office may be what you need. This will give the solitude that you need to be productive, a place where you can bring clients for meetings, and a place you can call your own. The downside is that you’re now responsible for the space, and the costs can be prohibitive. While this may be an eventual move, especially if you start bringing other employees into your business, it is, perhaps, the one to be avoided while it’s possible.

Shared Offices

This is most similar to the situation I described at the start of this article. Sharing space gives you the benefit of working with other people, but at the same time, reduces your overhead and responsibilities in terms of caring and maintaining the offices. The downside, though, is the same as that of coffee shops – when you need to focus, it can often be quite distracting.

My Balance

My situation is being resolved with a balance between a few of these options. While I continue to work primarily from a shared office space, I also have given myself the ability to work from anywhere – namely, a laptop set up as a desktop replacement. When I need to focus, I can always leave the shared space and find a quiet corner for a few hours or days. Since I’m leaving my comfort zone to do this, I can use a coffee shop as a temporary office.

If you’re looking for some options, look at what co-working options are available in your area. If you can find two, then consider using one as a primary office, and the other for the days you’re just trying to buckle down and get some work done.