5 Ways to Tell You've Outgrown Your Home Office

I believe it's a mistake to have your office in your home. I understand the economics but, as someone that worked out of their home for over nine years, I know what it feels like. It feels like work is never done. You can always just step into the office and--boom!--feel the weight of everything you still need to do. As our lives become increasingly mobile, social and digital, with conventional boundaries blurring daily, it can feel refreshing and empowering to establish a work-free zone--and where better to do that than at home.

Your home should be your haven not your workplace. I would even go so far as to say it's unfair to send people home to work. Very few people are that special kind of introvert that can stay motivated and productive day in and day out working from home. We're human. We need other humans around to bounce ideas off, laugh with, and share our lives. There, I said it. Now I'll step off my little soapbox and get down to it...

1 - You have employees and interns

It's uncomfortable (read creepy) to work in your employers home. You're in their personal space and it feels odd. All the distractions of home are still there, just now they're in your boss' home not yours. Dogs bark, mailmen come to the door, and I bet too many trips to the fridge still happen.

Interns are amazing, I highly recommend utilizing them. Just not in your home. I know in my state it's actually illegal to have interns in your home. If you can afford to pay people, you should be able to provide a space for them to thrive in.

2 - You have dogs, small children and a spouse at home

Dogs are a constant guilt trip. They look at you with those sweet eyes, distract you and bark at inappropriate times. (Like when you're on an important call.) Children don't understand that pressing their noses against those French doors and tapping the glass (that you thought would bring light into your basement office) over and over is not okay when you're working. They're kids, they want your attention.

I'm also going to let you in on a little secret -- your spouse wants you out of the house. They don't want to tip-toe around your workday and try to keep kids and their own work quiet.

You will also dress better when you go to an outside office--which won't go unnoticed by your significant other, who will actually be happy to see you at the end of the day. Particularly as they'll know there will be an end to the day--clients at my coworking space like that we're only open old-fashioned office hours, which includes being closed on the weekend. Having a clear end to the day makes them work smarter, they tell me. So, get out of the house and you might just see some improvement in your marriage.

3 - You crave social interaction

When I worked from home I found myself going to my client's site just for some social interaction. I went to Starbucks and overpaid for coffee I didn't personally like just to be around people. Then I didn't really interact with anyone except to ask them to watch my stuff while I went to the bathroom. (Awkward.) We are humans, we like to be part of a tribe. It's a really small segment of the population that can stay engaged working alone day after day.

It's not just the social interaction of being out of your boring, ill-equipped old home office that will crank up your productivity. You'll get a creativity boost from being in a new, stimulating environment. Especially if you choose the kind of coworking space where they pay attention to that kind of thing. At Link Coworking we move the furniture around every weekend--people love it because it's new and it's fresh. We also have things like Etch A Sketch and building blocks to keep those creative juices flowing and the grey matter churning.

Then there's the sad truth that growing a business wreaks havoc with your social life. Believe me, I know. Having a small (and discrete!) bar in the corner of our break room means the coworking members can enjoy impromptu happy hours.

4- You want to grow your business

Once you get out and join a coworking space or create a space for you and your employees you get interaction every single day. As soon as you're around a network of people they become your advocates. When they're at a networking event and someone mentions they're looking for a service and a coworker does that service, they're going to recommend you, their coworker. We've become a society of recommenders. Just look at Yelp or Angie's list. We don't buy a product or service without consulting our network. It is so easy to do that when the people are working alongside you!

One of the keys to successful business development through networking is taking the time to build trust between you and a prospective client. Yet, conventional networking events work against most entrepreneurs and new business owners establishing solid long term relationships. And it's not just the hit to your bottom line of paying to attend multiple events. What growing business owner has the time to spare in their already packed day?

5- You're making at least $300 a month

That is enough to get you into most coworking spaces. What is coworking? Basically, it' a membership club, just like you would join a gym, but instead of being a place to exercise, it is a place to work. I made a little video to explain it.

Coworking has removed the price barrier for freelancers, small business owners and anyone needing a place to conduct business. You don't need to go rent an office, pay for your own internet service, triple net, utilities etc. Just join a coworking space and it's all bundled together for you. They likely include great perks such as free coffee, meeting space and awesome people.