In the second instalment of ‘Behind the Business’, Paul describes his experiences working from a home based office.
Entrance to our home based office
Homework. It’s generally a term people associate with school but in my case, it has carried over into my working life. In fact, I’ve spent quite a lot of my career based at a home based office. Funnily enough, it’s the study at my parents’ house (which was converted into an office) and is the same space I did most of my homework in high school.
The same can’t be said for ‘the boss’ Kim who spent over 30 years battling traffic into a city office which was the catalyst for setting up a home office. It was one of the best decisions he ever made and I’ve been lucky to go along for the ride.
Interestingly, more and more people appear to be spending time working at home. A 2013 ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) report revealed that 4.6 million Australians did at least some work at home each week.
It’s a working arrangement which is accepted by many employers who are open to a flexible working environment. It is also more feasible now due to digital technology but I feel as though my situation is somewhat unique. I haven’t come across anyone who has spent a significant proportion of their career working from a home based office in a family business. This is something I get asked about quite a bit so here is my perspective on it…
Flexibility is an obvious advantage and probably the most appealing aspect of working from home although sometimes it’s easy to become complacent and enjoy this benefit a bit too much. This can be detrimental for myself and the business so it’s imperative to ‘get out and about’ regularly. With today’s technology, it’s easy to remain in the cocoon of our office and still feel as though we are ‘connected’ to the world but in my opinion, face to face interaction is essential for learning. Whether it be meeting clients (current and potential) to learn more about their business or just a catch-up with colleagues who work in the industry, I find this stimulating and energising which enhances my work.
So I enjoy working from a home based office and it definitely has its advantages but I’ve learnt if you don’t balance it with social interaction you become stale which isn’t ideal for your education (kind of like doing too much homework).