During a recent flight I was more outgoing than usual and spoke to the woman sitting next to me and not only because she was holding a large bag of chocolate covered almonds. We asked each other the typical “What do you do?” questions and I told her that I help business owners who work from home (instead of my typical people-repellant answer: “I sell insurance.”) After she told me about her five-year-old coaching business, I asked her if she worked from home.
She seemed flustered and uncomfortable and didn’t give me a direct answer, as if I had asked her which candidate she was voting for or if I could borrow her toothbrush. Then she sheepishly admitted that she’s worked from home for years. I could tell she was embarrassed to be home-based, but I couldn’t figure out why.
Rather than lecture her about embracing her freedom from the corporate world, I smiled, reached into the bag of treats she probably didn’t realize she’d be sharing, and then thought about seven reasons to avoid being embarrassed to work from home.
1. You’re saving money. Instead of wasting money on rent, you can upgrade your office equipment or spend money on marketing and social media efforts.
2. You’re working comfortably. You can dress (or not dress) any way you like. Dry cleaning bills? No one wants those. Wear heels or a business suit all day? No, thank you.
3. You’re saving time. Rather than sit in traffic for almost an hour each day, you’re ready to work after a short 10-second commute to your home office. By the time your corporate counterparts buckle up and steer their cars into traffic or catch the subway to their office, you’re sitting comfortably in your home office. Piping hot coffee, anyone?
4. You have a flexible schedule. You’re able to enjoy your child’s soccer game (if it’s not raining), plan a long weekend or work late at night and sleep in the next morning, while your corporate counterpart has to invent creative excuses for leaving the office early.
5. You’re less stressed. Rather than having to worry about making enough money to cover your overhead and utilities, you’re able to focus on growing your business.
6. You’re free to design your home office the way you want. Instead of following a boring corporate mold — does anyone ever miss working in a cubicle? — you can set up your home office any way you like.
7. You’re less likely to be interrupted. Co-workers constantly wanting your attention, asking for advice and eating anything you’ve left in the break room refrigerator, can be annoying and ultimately drain any free time and energy you may have left. You don’t have to isolate yourself, but there’s no shame in having the option to work alone and then surround yourself with others when you’re ready.
When you own your own business, you may find plenty of reasons to be embarrassed, including inadvertently answering the door in your underwear or being unable to stop your child from screaming during the middle of a conference call. But working from home shouldn’t be one of them.