I started my writing career on January 1st, 2012 using content mills like Textbroker. A little over a year later, I was able to quit my job at the school district and write full-time. And over the last decade, I’ve come to realize that I truly miss having a regular office job.
Well, at least an office space outside of my home.
Although this isn’t an overly popular opinion, I have several reasons why an external office is ideal in my situation. In fact, that’s one of the things I’m working towards in 2023…an office away from my house.
1. Missing the Sanctuary Element
When standing around in your home, you should view it as a sanctuary from the trappings of everyday life. For most, it’s a sanctuary from work where one can relax and unwind.
For me, I look at my bedroom as a place of business. Get your mind out of the gutter…my “office” is in my bedroom.
This means I’m already faced with the stresses of work the moment I open my eyes. Granted, I love my job and am paid pretty well as a freelance writer. But the stress remains of all the things I need to get done on any given day.
Instead of a sanctuary, I view my home as a workspace. This means that it’s harder for me to feel relaxed, especially nowadays when I’m so accessible to clients thanks to apps like Slack.
Because I have such a high standard for quality both in the work I perform and in customer service, I can’t simply ignore when someone needs my help.
I love my house, but it stresses me out most days. I don’t have a sanctuary that lets me differentiate between home and professional life. It’s all rolled into one, convoluted mess.
2. Missing Human Interaction
I miss human interaction in many forms. This includes coworkers, the cashier at 7-11 when I buy my coffee, and even office Christmas parties. Since all of my “coworkers” are online, there is no direct human engagement.
Social media and chat windows can only do so much. As humans, we thrive on direct contact with others. Thanks to technology, a lot of that human interaction is gone.
This could probably correlate to why the world is in such a mess right now.
Sure, I could go out with “friends” during the week and do something social. The problem is that I have very few friends who live anywhere near me. I’ve lived like a hermit for so long, it’s taken its toll.
I used to think being isolated was the ideal work environment. Nowadays, I am getting severe cabin fever. The problem is that I don’t know what a man in his 40s does to make friends without seeming creepy.
In any case, I do miss even the simplest of interactions with other people.
3. Getting Out of the House, In General
Being devoid of human interaction is one thing. But I find just leaving the house is often at the top of my list on most days. I’ll even relish moments like shopping for food at a Walmart just so I can get away from the house.
And I hate Walmart!
As I said, I don’t have a lot of friends. Unfortunately, most of the people I know also work odd hours in contrast to myself.
Then, there is the aspect of having too much on my plate on any given day. My time is at a premium, which means I can’t even go to the local coffee shop for 30 minutes without sacrificing a project for the day.
I barely find time to exercise.
However, I have been considering reducing my workload so I have time for some of these micro-adventures. It’s just awfully difficult to decide what gets the ax just so I can get out of the house.
Right now, my “office space” is awfully claustrophobic-inducing, considering it’s in my bedroom. I really don’t have open space, which hinders my mental state.
4. Too Many Diversions and Distractions
Working from home has its rewards. But it also comes with a slew of drawbacks. Perhaps one of the more prominent problems is having too many diversions and distractions in my immediate vicinity.
Pets, kids, visitors, YouTube, cleaning the house to avoid working…all of them play a role in distracting me from doing what needs to be done. It doesn’t help that I’m easily distracted by shiny objects.
I know that a lot of these issues are of my own choosing. For example, I don’t have to watch the latest episode of Philip DeFranco as soon as it’s uploaded to YouTube. But the fact remains that a lot of things in my house easily sidetrack me from what I want to do.
The bottom line is that I know I am far more productive when I have an office space I can isolate from the house.
5. A Greater Sense of Professionalism
My desk is sitting against my bed. My room is a clustered mess of random things, which doesn’t really look all that good on camera. I just have nowhere to put my stuff where it’s not in the way.
I’m fairly certain this factor plays heavily on the YouTube channel. As some have pointed out in the past, it’s hard to take someone seriously when the background is such a wreck.
It’s not just the video content that is affected, though. I just don’t feel as professional having my bed next to me and my room full of random tidbits of everything.
Sure, I still get semi-dressed when working from home. I rarely work in my pajamas, mostly because getting dressed helps keep that professional mindset. But it’s just not the same without an actual office space.
Though, that might be a generational thing. I grew up in the 80s and 90s, so, I understand the value of working outside of the home. Being crammed in this little room just doesn’t make me feel all that professional as a writer.
Would a Home Office Suffice?
I used to have a home office. In fact, it was one of the selling points of why I wanted to buy this house. After less than a year, my best friend needed a place to stay while working. Being the awesome guy I am, I gave up the office to give my friend a room.
At least I still have my own private bathroom.
I gave up my home office a little over a year ago, and I can see a pattern in my productivity and mental health. Needless to say, I was doing far better overall when I could view that room as my place of business.
Still, the home office would only address two of the above issues I have working from home. In a perfect world, I would have an office space in lower downtown Denver.
Eventually, my friend will move out and I can get my office space back. But in the meantime, I’ll still work towards finding a space nearby to set up shop.
So, What’s the Plan, Man?
What I would really love is a small warehouse of about 2,000 square feet, or so. This would give me plenty of space to set up sections for all of the projects I’m involved in creating with their own ambiance and backgrounds.
For example, I am trying to get the health and fitness YouTube channel and blog built up. I would love to have a small kitchen area for videos as well as perhaps a workout area. Perhaps I could add a small room for the podcasts.
Then, I would like to set up the computers for the gaming content in another area that is out of the way.
Overall, I want at least four sections specifically designed for those brands. This doesn’t include having a small office where I can simply write my books and blog posts.
Anyway, after pricing a few in the local area, I would need a bit over $125 per day extra to maintain the lease. This includes paying for fiber optic because I hate the idea of being on WiFi in a warehouse.
The idea is to get all of these brands to bring in this amount, which means they’ll pay for themselves. The problem is finding time to get everything done because I’m too stressed out to be in my house.
Yeah, it’s a nice little slice of hell I’ve carved out for myself.
Fortunately, a few things I’ve been working on this year are starting to pan out. So, there is a good possibility that I’ll at least be able to afford an external office by this time next year.
Let’s cross our fingers.
What Kind of Office Would You Prefer?
Don’t get me wrong, I know a lot of people who thrive in an at-home environment. But most of them are much younger and without children. And I don’t know anyone personally who has been successfully working from home for as long as I have.
I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who are very successful. I doubt that I’m an outlier. Still, this lifestyle is wearing thin on me and I look forward to actually commuting to work.
What kind of office environment do you prefer as a writer? If you work from home, what have you found to be the most successful for keeping your sanity?
About the Creator
I am the owner and operator of several blogs including WriterSanctuary.com. As a freelance writer since 2012, I have covered a range of topics and completed over 8,000 projects for clients. Follow me @WriterSanctuary on Twitter.