Is An Office Of Your Own Worth The Money? Questions To Ask Yourself & Alternatives To Consider

May 27, 2015  |  

Welcome to our Mommy Mogul column where we cover issues of importance for moms who are launching a new business, working a side gig, or managing work life and home life. Is there a topic you’d like us to address? Send your thoughts to tgarcia@madamenoire.com. And, as always, take to the comments with your feedback.

As I write this, I’m secretly plotting an escape plan from my own home office. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy working from home. You don’t have to worry about things like choosing a boardroom-ready outfit, commuting costs, lunch and childcare if you happen to have children. That doesn’t mean you don’t have wild dreams from time to time about setting up an office of your very own.

My home office is actually one of the bedrooms in my house. It’s pretty comfy when you aren’t tripping over toddler toys (funny, my husband works from home too and his office is spotless) or have random visitors “dropping by” throughout the day as if you don’t have work to do. What started as a little piece of solace has quickly turned into a clubhouse for social gatherings.

I get excited when I visit or see photos of other self-employed friends setting up a commercial studio of their own. Aside from looking pretty dreamy, it must be really exciting to trek off each day to your own space with keys and quiet. This makes me think about whether or not I could use an office area outside of my home, and more importantly, if it’s a practical idea.

As glamorous as having a separate office is, it can get very pricey.

Unfortunately too many entrepreneurs jump into unnecessary expenses before their business even turns a steady profit. Who else is guilty of stocking up on more office supplies and custom business cards than needed?

The truth of the matter is, a private office is more of a want than an actual need for many self-employed individuals. Yes it would be great not to work from your kitchen table or the living room sofa, but you do have to consider the additional costs before you sign on the dotted line.

Ask yourself if the business your in really needs a ton of space to operate. Those who work virtually or provide a service online might be comfortable with a desk and chair, while those who create products — or keep a small inventory — might need additional room. The most important aspect to think about is cost.

Offices aren’t free.

Studio and other forms of commercial space mean a monthly rent payment for you. This of course does not include additional furniture and storage items you need, the cost of utilities and other expenses outside of what you have at home to keep things moving. Should your business turn a nice profit that allows you to save and pay yourself, by all means, get that dream office.

With a 16-month-old child and baby on the way, my dreams of having a separate office is not in the cards right now. There’s just too much going on for me not to be close to home. Perhaps I’ll revisit the idea once they start pre-school and aren’t at home full time.

If you happen to work from home and are in desperate need of a change of scenery, here are a few ideas to consider that won’t cost as much as getting an office of your own.

Home office swap. This might sound weird but can be a breath of fresh air when needed. If you know someone who also works from home — and keeps a tidy space — think about swapping rooms for the day.

Collective/shared office space. One popular route many entrepreneurs are taking is a shared office space. Some come with their own rooms while others are simply an open area with multiple desks. While it might not be 100 percent yours, the rent will be much lower and you get out of the house.

Backyard shed renovation. Here’s one I’ve been considering. Whether you call it a “mom shed” or a place to get away, some are renovating old sheds into mini offices. This would allow you to be super close to home but removed enough to complete more tasks.

Have you been considering an office of your own?

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