Five signs you’ve outgrown your home office

Working From Home

home officeWorking from home is where the majority of freelancers start. Be it a desk in a spare room or the kitchen table, homeworking is a rent-free, expensable treat and many wouldn’t change it for the world. However, at some point the small desk in the corner of your bedroom may prove insufficient, and it could be time to expand your home office, look into some coworking spaces or even lease a full-blown office of your own. But how do you know when it’s time to upgrade?

Your paperwork is taking over

Remember when everybody used to talk about “the paperless office”? Many of us realised quite a long time ago it’s never going to happen. The main culprits are utility providers and HMRC, who insist on sending you physical post despite your perfectly good email address. If your paperwork has got so out of hand your keyboard is resting on a thick layer of mixed-up pages, it could be time to buy a bigger desk. Perhaps one with drawers.

Your home office is less office, more home

Is your personal life intruding into your workspace? Do you sometimes find boiled sweets sticking an invoice and personal correspondence together? Is you work computer filled with bookmarks of funny cat videos? Could be time to address your work-life balance, and make sure the two are clearly separated.

Your first employee works on your sofa

Growing your business is a bold and admirable step for any freelancer, but the cost of taking on employees is not to be taken lightly. If your enterprise is growing beyond a one-person operation and your new team cannot be appropriately accommodated, it could be time to grow your premises too.

Only you understand your “filing system”

Look down. How much carpet can you see? Is the floor of your home office is mostly obscured by paperwork? Do stacks of research and things you’ll “definitely get round to reading” litter chairs, tables and your desk? If your workspace is a complete pigsty, but you “know exactly where everything is”, it’s probably time to expand.

You begin to fear the outside world

When you both work and live at home, adventures outside the house can be few and far between. Especially if the weather is bad (that never happens in England, right?) days can pass without feeling the wind in your hair. If you’ve started collecting your toenail clippings in a jar and begun to hiss like a cat when direct sunlight catches you, it could be time to ditch the home office.

Photo by Luca Masters

  • Nick

    Jeez, I’ve only been doing this for a year and I’m already at points 1, 2, 4 and 5!! – Nick,

  • Info

    There are two of us, two desks, a Mac with two large screens, a PC and a filing system squeezed into a small box room. We dream of a garden office…

  • Susan

    I live/work in the US – but this problem crosses all borders! Since the kitchen is the largest room in my home, my desk/office is located there. This usually works out well, but since I have a multi-generational household with 2 grandchildren on the way early next year, I can definitely foresee it being a problem soon. Professional phone calls could be a bit difficult with 2 squalling infants nearby. Because our summer/fall weather is usually pretty mild, I can take my laptop outside and do my work on my deck, with the country breezes blowing and background sounds of chirping birds – but our severe winters find me back behind the desk indoors.