Working from the beach, conference calls from the pool, emailing from your backyard. All these ideal scenarios come to mind when people think of working from a non-traditional space.
While this is true for some, for many it is far from this paradise. For some, it is an endless hop from coffee shop to coffee shop—moving so that they don’t outstay their welcome in any one establishment.
For others their workspace is a series of airport lounges, hotel rooms, or short term office space rentals. This doesn’t sound like paradise to me.
Beyond just location, there are a number of reasons why not working from a traditional office might not be for you; here are just some of them.
You’re too social.
One of the advantages of working in an office is the social connection to co-workers. Whether you work in a large open office, cubicles or individual offices, the familiar faces that make up your day, the hallway conversations and the shared lunch table all help satisfy that most basic of human needs; to be social.
Catching up on stories from the weekend, sharing plans for vacations or even just trading ideas about business are all essential elements of the social interaction that takes place in most offices. For some individuals the solitude of working alone is too great a distraction and hampers their productivity.
You need a formal space for clients.
I’m not sure about you, but if I were looking to hire an attorney and had to meet them in their living room and discuss my legal situation while their children played around our feet, I might feel a little uncomfortable. Similarly if I were hoping to sign a contract with a new client, meeting them at a coffee shop might not set the right tone for our future business, though of course that would depend greatly on the type of business.
The point is, for some professions and for some professionals, having a formal office space is a necessity or, at the very least, a nice-to-have. It provides the individual with a sense of separation from their personal space and life and allows them to convey a certain gravitas that more informal settings do not.
You don’t have the space.
The space you set aside for working from obviously varies from individual to individual. I work from our spare room that, although it doubles as a guest room when we have people to stay, for the most part is my office. Equally, I will sometimes write from the dining room table, from the couch, or even while sitting in bed. That is part of the luxury of being a writer. However, for others the need for a more defined space is part of the work they do. For example, it isn’t really appropriate to conduct a video-conference from the comfort of your bed. So having a space that can be both professional and look appropriate on camera is a need that an increasing number of Out of Office workers have to meet.
There are many other considerations to take into account before you decide to head Out of Office. There are, however, many benefits to making the move, and those, for most people, outweigh the negative aspects considerably. The key to finding an effective work style is to understand your own needs, limitations, and strengths, and for employers and employees alike to recognize that there is no one size fits all. That’s what makes the voice of 1 Million for Work Flexibility so critical; we all should be encouraged to find the work style that works best for our circumstances.
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