Working from home isn’t necessarily as comfortable as it sounds. We count down the warning signs that your domestic/business balance is verging on unhealthy. If you test positive for more than three, then perhaps co-working is just what the doctor ordered.
1. You’re starting to take conference calls in your pyjamas. They may have been a Christmas present from your granny but looking like Rupert Bear is not conducive to good business negotiation.
2. Your pet is a crucial part of business decisions. Not sure whether to choose that developer or carry on looking? The fact that Fido is lying on his back, paws akimbo, or lolling in his basket is no omen from ye gods of business.
3. You feel like you should be working all the time but that you’re actually working none of the time. If you’re working from home, getting the work/life balance right is practially impossible. If you've gone to bed and you’re still checking your inbox, it’s time to switch off. No one will notice except you.
4. Washing up and putting out the bins are part of your work routine. Ironing your socks doth not a productive day make. Procrastinating is inexcusable, even if you end up with a colour-coded bookshelf. And a colour-coded sock drawer. And a colour-coded fridge. Don’t even try to call it OCD.
5. The staff at Pret smirk with pity when they see you. It might be great fun betting when the Cloud is next going to cut out. Knowing the menu inside-out might feel reassuring. But buckets and buckets of lattes, frapuccinos and mochas are going to wreak havoc on your digestive system and your wallet.
6. You need to do more networking. Sharing an office with others is defacto networking. If people hear you talking about a great website you’re developing or see an amazing logo you’ve designed, they might ask you to help them with their next project. No need to practise the sales patter or an embarrassing elevator pitch; people will just see the great work you’re doing. They might also help you. For free.
7. Inspiration is lacking. Whether you're freelancing or spearheading a startup, it can sometimes be tough and, let’s be honest, it can often be demoralising. What better way to gain perspective than to share the rollercoaster ride with other co-workers? When you secure that deal, you can tell your neighbour AND your mum.
8. Your flatmates want to charge you more for using their house as an office. It’s not fun when your flatmate is trying to concentrate on True Detective and you’re calculating Excel formulas. And it’s definitely not fair if the heating bill is suddenly higher than anyone budgeted for because you’ve switched it on during the day to avoid hypothermia. Find a home away from home at your co-working venue where there's always milk, the temperature is balmy and the company’s good.
9. You’re holding meetings in restaurants. Scheduling lunch meetings to avoid admitting you don’t have an office is not cheap. It’s also awkward. To drink or not to drink? To pay or not to pay? To have a starter or not have a starter? Better get back into your pyjamas and onto Skype. Or just start co-working and take advantage of the venue's meeting rooms and virtual conference facilities.