Weighing Up the Cost of an Office and Productivity
It’s been a few years since I graduated from university. I went straight from revising for exams to working on a startup.
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The hardest challenge I’ve faced by far is the mental attitude that I should be spending my time wisely. Surprisingly, this has resulted in a lot of doing nothing and worrying.

At school you’re told what to learn, which topics to write about, and how to prepare for exams. At the time it felt annoying, repetitive, and mundane. But now I run my own business I appreciate the structure the education system gives you.

You have tasks given to you, deadlines to meet, and exams to complete. It sure is irritating at the time. In hindsight though, it made life a lot easier.

When you start you own business you have nothing. It’s all on you and that responsibility results in an immense amount of pressure. There’s no structure. That’s what makes a startup fantastic and awful at the same time. There’s no managerial structure and processes.

The Poor Mix of Work and Life

The vast majority of startups begin life in a bedroom, living room, or garage. It makes sense as you can’t afford to rent an office somewhere, and it doesn’t matter all too much because you’re mega excited about your project.

But when is it time to move on from your home setup? Is there ever a good time? Some teams prefer to stay working in an apartment, while others have to expand to accommodate their new hires.

My co-founder and I have run startups from a crappy university flat next to a car park, a swanky apartment in the center of a city, a barn in the middle of the countryside, a garden shed, a hotel, and currently a serviced office.

We’ve pretty much experienced every working environment. Interesting thing is, it’s not really the environment that’s the issue. It’s the perception I tend to have of it.

The downside of living and working in the same space is obvious—if I’m sleeping, eating, working, and having downtime in the same room it makes it all the more tempting to call it a day early, or to procrastinate just a little longer.

Once I think it’s OK to call it a day early, I might be more inclined to do it more often. Since it’s my work and relaxation space, I don’t feel too bad. I’ll do more work tomorrow, right?

Falling into an unproductive slumber is depressing and embarrassing.

How to Fix Bad Habits and Ruined Spaces

Once you think it’s acceptable to do half days, or no days at all, it’s probably time to re-evaluate your space.

Is it the right environment for you anymore? Are you losing time and money being there? Is there anything you can do to be more productive in the space? Cleaning up mess, decorating, or trying hard to separate life and work in the space.

If none of those work it might be time to move on. Perhaps its time for you to do a little exploring and enjoy the free time you have. A nomadic life might be for you. Otherwise, you could look into renting out an office.

It’s difficult to spend money on something that seems like a waste. Why splash out on an office when you could do work at home? The trouble is the space is kinda ruined for work.

Having a fresh space to work in (and only work in) can give you a new lease of life. It’s the reason why I’m writing this post. Be sure to set some goals for the day and leave when you feel satisfied.

Leave the Netflix and chill for the sofa at home.


by Jarratt Isted

Jane Gonzalez
Associate Editor