As I've shared in previous blogs, I have my office studio set up at home. After experiencing two lockdowns, I'm fortunate to work from home. I couldn't imagine the risk of paying for a lease over lockdowns. Working from home meant I could continue working through both lockdowns as business kept humming along. I have, however, contemplated renting shared office spaces or leasing a warehouse with office space.
In 2020, I looked at a warehouse opportunity; it had two office rooms, one room perfect for a showroom/shop, the upstairs room for a design studio, and the warehouse space for stock. The cost for a lease was approximately $30k plus a year. When I worked out weekly costs to maintain the warehouse space, it was achievable approximately $500+.
When I factored in that I'd also be paying my living costs (rent, power, wifi, etc.) on top of the weekly warehouse costs - it blew my budget. I would have had to live at the warehouse to help keep costs down and save on paying double the amount of bills.
The warehouse lease contract didn't go through (thank goodness, blessing in disguise). Luckily, my whare that I rent in Hamilton provides plenty of room, so I decided to continue working from home.
With many new pakihi māori on a similar journey as me, wondering about the benefits of working from home - here are some of the pros and cons I personally experience.
Pros working from home:
- All overheads are combined (living and work) - My power, rent, wifi, and gas are all work and living, which makes things a lot cheaper. I also don’t have to spend money on extra bills i.e. rubbish pick ups, security, carparking.
- No commute or waiting in traffic - What a dream to roll out of bed, get ready and pop downstairs to work. I am not wasting time sitting in a car driving to work.
- Safe within COVID restrictions- no loss if lockdown was to happen again - When lockdown happened in 2020 and 2021 my work life remained the same and bills remained the same.
- Your own private space, especially if you are having an off day - There are times when my energy is low, or I have my mate (period), and I’m not feeling 100%. You know those days, you feel fat, uncomfortable, sore, bloated etc. At home, I can close up the curtains, have a lie-down, put my slippers on and can take a rest and or continue working in the comfort of my home.
- No foot traffic - People aren’t coming in an out. I’m secluded in my whare which works for me because I don’t get distracted by multiple people coming in and out.
Cons working from home:
- Not connecting with others - I don’t have a range of people to spark creativity or to form any team comradery etc.
- Miss that professional outlook compared to working from a leased office space
- Separating work from living lifestyle - This can be difficult to navigate. But, over the years, I’ve become used to it, and I’ve become better at shutting the studio door at the end of the day and then heading upstairs for dinner and chill time.
- When manuhiri come over to stay, it can interrupt your mahi - This is a big one for me. I like to host manuhiri, and when they stay over during the week, I feel awkward having to go downstairs to work. I don’t want to be rude to my manuhiri, but at the same time, I still need to work. So, in the past, I’ve taken a day off to be with manuhiri and worked late at night. Also, depends on who it is too.
- Cleaning jobs around the home can be distracting - Ah, I’m working on this. It’s the endless mahi jobs around the house that plays on my mind sometimes, and it can be hard to leave them whilst you work. However, I try to do washing before I start work, leaving all the house cleaning until the evening or the weekend.
- I'm always at home - It’s not a bad thing but I am aware that I’m always at home so I remind myself to reach out to others, go for walks, exercise at the gym and socialize etc.
While working from home, I've had flat mates who have always been very helpful and mindful of Taputapu. I can't thank them enough for allowing me the space to do what I needed to do.
Now, I'm living on my own, in a huge whare with enough space to hold all of Taputapu. I don't have tamariki, and I live away from my whānau, who are in Gisborne. So living here in Waikato in my own space, it's pretty easy for me to work from home. Also, I'm a home-body; I love being at home and am pretty happy to be here 24/7. Whereas I know others, who want to be out there and working away from home.
My 3 tips for you when thinking about whether you should work from home or an office/rented space.
- Think about what will be more productive for you.
- Consider your budgets including the impact of client traffic if lockdowns were to occur again.
- How you plan to expand your business in the near future. Do you need the space right now for services or production space.