Having to sit in a chair at a desk staring at a computer screen was one of the huge motivators to work for myself. There is no greater joy than knowing I can work from anywhere I want whenever I want to. It can also create a lot of stress (am I working hard and long enough?), stir-craziness (wait, I haven’t been outside in 24+ hours?), and loneliness (uh oh, what do I do with my hands when talking to real humans). You can end up feeling like this:
If you’ve already taken the plunge or are considering doing your own thing, here are some hard-learned tips for creating an optimal office-less work environment.
1. Get a business partner! The single most important ingredient for startup success is accountability. You don’t have to be in an office every day together, but you do need to have regular communication and be accountable for your responsibilities. That’s why I joined forces with this guy.
2. Work from your home office for the right reasons. Especially if you’re going through challenging life events (recently laid off, marital issues, bad cash flow, etc.), it can be easy to use home as an escape from the world and reality. If working at home consistently makes you depressed or lonely, consider alternatives.
3. Know your alternatives.
3A. Coworking is the hot thing for entrepreneurs and remote workers now. It’s basically an office full of entrepreneurs and startups minus the boss looking over your shoulder. In LA alone, we already have Nextspace, two Blankspaces, and Coloft and more are on their way. At Blankspaces you can get a cafe pass for as little as $99!
3B. It may be cliche, but work gets done at coffee shops. Igor has executed some of the year’s most groundbreaking lead gen campaigns working at one of his favorite San Francisco indie coffee shops.
3C. Friend’s offices. I have a friend who worked all alone in a 900 sq. ft. office for two years. One day we had lunch and I worked there a few hours, and afterward he kept bugging me to come back — free of charge.
3D. Outdoors! Grab a lawn chair, your laptop, and cell phone, and you have everything you need to be productive AND have sunshine hit your face.
3E. Go to your client’s office. One of my favorite things to do is go onsite with clients. They love the face-time, and I have an opportunity to be incredibly productive for them.
3F. Get creative. Find some other office-less entrepreneurs and do meetups at one another’s houses. Go to the library. Go to your local business school work space that doesn’t check ID (shhh on that one).
4. If you’re going to work from your home office, make it a great place to work. Buy flowers for the tables, hire people to clean the house regularly, get yourself a comfy desk chair, have healthy snacks lying around. After meetings and running around all week, I’m writing this blog post watching drapes blow in a gentle breeze with sun streaming past. It makes me happy and productive.
6. Mix it up. There’s no boss looking over your shoulder, so take that Yoga class, grab that drink, go for that walk. Let go of the constraints of office life — this is your life!