Do you work from home or from an office? Right now, remote work has the reputation of being exceptionally awesome… but I decided to leave remote work for the office because of these 3 reasons.
As an important caveat, I personally hate the open office concept. I think it kills deep work, especially for introverts like myself. I’m referring more to a separation of work space from home space. Check out the video below, or read through the transcript!
Hey, I’m Kirk. I own ZATO, a paid search and social agency. What I wanted to talk about today was working from home as opposed to working from an office. I started ZATO almost seven years ago, seven years in August. Back then it was a different name and just a side hustle, and so basically for ZATO I worked full-time from home, from my home, for maybe five years, five and a half years, something like that. And about a year ago transitioned to working from an office full-time.
I love it and I’m probably never going to go back to working from home, at least full-time. I think it’s fun to do if I’m on vacation and taking an extended vacation for a few weeks and what have you, but as primarily the getting in and doing my main work, I prefer an office now and I have three reasons for that.
There’s going to be more, but the three main reasons for that are,
First, you just are too easily distracted from your house.
Now, I get everyone is in a different position, so some of it for me in my context is I have four children, seven and under. I’ll pause for the audible gasp, all right? Because that’s usually what happens when I’m at a conference. First me saying, “Hey, I’m from Montana”, and then me saying, “I have four children, seven and under,” usually gets two gasps. What I found is that I was too easily distracted, and when I get to the office it is just a lot easier to be laser-focused on “this is work”. I hadn’t realized how often I was leaving the office to help assist with some parenting thing or whatever it might be. That’s the first one.
Second: The second one is really for my health and for my family’s health, maintaining a physical separation of what is work stuff and what is not work stuff has been extremely healthy.
One story I have is when a certain client was not working out real well, and so I was spending a lot of time just focused on trying to make this client work. I would have the computer on the weekends just kind of open in our main area. We have kind of a big living room and dining room and it’s all open. I would have that open there, and very often the kids or my wife would walk through, and I would be standing there at our counter working intensively, and you know, one of my kids, my four year old would ask me a question, and I’d be focused and my brain would be in it, and I’d say, “Oh, just wait. You got to wait for daddy. I’ll be able to help you soon.” What my wife and I decided was that it was starting to become somewhat of an unhealthy thing for our children as well as for my wife, as well as for me that I was not able to transition in between work and home. I was trying to do both, basically, all the time. That meant that I was never not working and I was always doing family stuff. I think that was another part of it. Where, what I found is when I leave and come to this physical location that is my work location, when I leave and go back home I am more easily able to say, “Great, I left work. Now I’m all in on family.” I’m all in on what I need to do, what I believe God has called me to do in this sense, which at this point in part is my family. That’s the other one.
Third: Then the third one is a little bit more of an efficiency thing. One of the things that I did not want to do, is I didn’t want to waste my time with a commute. If you’re in any sort of bigger city you’re going to laugh at me, because I’m in Billings, Montana. Like, rush hour in Billings, Montana means it takes an extra seven minutes to get to work. All that to say that, my office and my home, we purposely found an office that’s about 15 minutes from my home. I’m spending about 30 days in the car. It sounds crazy, but I really chafed against that initially. I didn’t want to lose 30 minutes of my day. I’d count that up, you know, “Oh my goodness, that’s like two hours, two and a half hours a week,” by the time you’re done.
What I found is that that’s a great time to listen to business podcasts or business books. Here’s a tip for you for audio books, you can use your Kindle app with any Kindle book. At least, I have an iPhone, I’m not sure if Android has this. iPhone reads this, like, speak to text aspect of the screen where Siri reads to you out loud. I would go into Kindle, you can set it up, you swipe two fingers down, and then you drive and Siri reads you these books. I’m like, burning through books on my commute and I’m learning stuff and I’m starting to take advantage of that as being this specific business time as well.
In essence, I feel like I’m not wasting commute time just listening to the radio, just getting through it. I’m actually taking advantage of that. Again, kind of going into what I noted before in terms of just separation of work and home. That, I’ve actually found that’s kind of helped me as well, because my mind, sometimes I leave work and it’s still churning with things. It gives me a good 15, 20 minutes to just kind of get reoriented to the fact that, now I’m heading home. I’m probably going to be handed a baby when I walk in the door who’s screaming, or whatever it might be. I need to be in that mode and ready to serve and ready to help my family. That commute is actually, rather than a bane that I used to think of it, now I’m actually looking forward to that as kind of a necessary transitional time.
I know there’s lots of reasons. I’d be curious to know from you if there’s reasons that you do or do not like working from home. Go ahead and let me know in the comments section. Overall, I think what I’d probably say is at this point in my life, and maybe it’ll change after our kids are old and gone, but at this point in my life I do prefer an actual physical office location for work rather than just home. Those are some thoughts. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Let’s continue the conversation and thanks again.