Yeah-But Rebuttals: Your Office Space

yeah-butt-headThis is the first in a series of periodic posts on rebuttals to common “yeah-buts” that I hear from people wanting to work from home.


“Yeah, but, I just don’t have anywhere to set up an office in my home.”

The Rebuttal

This is a common one – and frankly, one of the silliest. I’ve had highly intelligent people, with well thought out home-business plans, decide to scrap their dreams of working from home, because of space. Crazy, huh?

They cite so-called “small business experts” who say you MUST have a separate office, and clearly defined boundaries. They think they need a big bonus room or office over the garage, decked out with all the latest home-office furniture and gear. Sure that would be nice, but it’s not necessary.

Often this is just an excuse masking doubt and fear about starting a home business. So the best way to alleviate it is to see the truth. You can really start from anywhere.

It’s pretty well known that Lillian Vernon got started at her kitchen table. It’s not an uncommon approach. I started in the corner of a guest bedroom, on a old table. You don’t really need much. The kitchen table works fine for those who are working while the kids are in school. If you have younger ones, and you don’t have help, you may have to work during naps and at night anyway. Just be sure that your business stuff is easily moved and set aside when not in use.

If your business is mostly done on a laptop, then you can really make your office mobile. The living room, deck, coffee shop. Unless you absolutely feel the need to have a permanent “space,” you can be a nest nomad. I know several people who work in a different spots every day, and love the freedom it provides. Their cell phone and instant messenger is their modes of communication, and their laptop is their office.

If you do want to set up a permanent space, be creative. Small and mobile workstations and desks make a great permanent or semi-permanent office space. A card table in the bedroom works too. Heck, you can even make a desk out of FedEx boxes if you want to.

The important thing is to decide, then do. It may seem more complicated, but its not really. Tell yourself, you’ll start with the FedEx box desk in the garage, and work your way up to the dream office. The key is to start, and not get bogged down in the misconceptions about a home office. If you have the desire to succeed as a nest-based professional, then you will. Regardless of where you’re starting from.

More Resources

New Pin Drop Test – Back to School Week

pin-dropSprint used to have an ad that used a pin drop test to show how clear calls on their network could be. This week I had my own annual pin drop test – the kids are back in school and the silence is deafening.

Working from home you get used to certain routines and work habits. Annette Clancy at Interactions talks about rituals as part of “Staying Sane When You Work From Home:”

Ritualise: Create rituals around the beginning and ending of your work day – this is particularly pertinent if you don’t have an official work space in your home. I sometimes burn different aromatherapy oils to transition from one space to another. Clients of mine dress in a particular way if they are in work mode and another when they are not – simply to create a boundary.

These rituals naturally revolve around the rest of the household – for me, the wife and kids. So during the summer, the routines, along with the noise level, reach new levels of fullness. After about day 5 of summer vacation, I get use to the noise. It becomes part of my office chatter (which sure beats “Corporate accounts payable, Nina speaking. Just a moment… Corporate accounts payable, Nina speaking. Just a moment… Corporate accounts payable, Nina speaking. Just a moment…” and repeat). So when the silence returns, it takes some getting used to.

So I fire up the iPod, invite the snoring dog back into the office, and get ready for a few months of new office rituals.