I have been able to create my own schedule since I graduated from college. I have been a real estate agent and real estate investor. Even though I could work from home whenever I wanted, I have worked almost exclusively at an office. There are many reasons why I like to work in an office, and I also see others work from home with varying degrees of success. I think most people work harder, smarter, and get more done when they have a workspace.
What has been my experience from working at home?
Once in a while, I will work from home. I record some of my real estate educational videos in my home office; I check emails from home; I sometimes write blog articles at home. I have a separate office that I can work in, but I don’t work well at home. Why can’t I work well at home?
- I have 6-year-old twins who can be a little distracting. Even if I tell them I am working, they tend to come ask to play a lot.
- When I am at home, I try to switch out of work mode. I try to focus on my family. The more I work, the less time I spend with them.
- I get distracted at home. For whatever reason, it is hard to stay focused and working.
- I don’t have everything I need at home. My printer/scanner doesn’t work right, and our wireless isn’t always awesome.
It would be easy for me to get the right setup at home, but I would still be distracted. I also like having a distinction between work and home. It is tough for me to be in work mode at home, which means I am slower, more distracted, and get less done. I love having an office to go to because it is easy for me to be in work mode at the office without distractions.
What can be the downfall of working from home in the real estate business?
I have a team in a real estate brokerage with over 50 agents. I do not own the brokerage, but I am planning to start one this year. Most of the agents in the office I’m in work from home. There are about 17 agents who have physical offices or share offices with other agents in the building. I would estimate that 90% of the deals done in this office are from the 17 agents who have a desk and come into work. The agents who work from home do almost no deals. I think that same theory carries through all the offices in my area. The most successful agents have an office to go to for work, even if they are allowed to work from home.
I think the same problems that occur with me working at home occur for most people. There are too many distractions, too many other things to do, and you get much less work done.
Why does working away from home make you more productive?
I am much more productive when I work in the office, but not just because I am free from distractions. There are other advantages as well:
- There are other people in my office doing the same line of work. I can bounce ideas off of them, network, and get contacts for people who might help my business.
- I can socialize at work. I am not a huge people person, but I think social interactions are good for people. I am not a social butterfly, but I do talk to people once in a while. If I was working at home, I would be very limited in my social interactions.
- I have more room in my office for work things. There is not a mix of things that can be distracting. At home, I keep motivational material, cool books, and other things in my home office. At work, I keep work stuff.
- I have a team that works for me. I need to be around them in order to get more done. If I was working from home, it would be very difficult to have a team. Having a team makes me much more successful and able to accomplish much more.
Can you be successful working from home?
I do not think it is impossible to be successful working from home. Justin, who is on my team, used to work from home in his previous corporate job. He also had an hour-long commute to work and worked with many people remotely across the country. There can be advantages to working from home, especially if you spend all day driving to and from work. He also had his house set up for work. His family knew when he was working in the office, they could not disturb him. He had all the technology and equipment he needed for his job. He had set hours when he worked and did not work. I think it would drive me crazy to work from home all the time, but it worked for him. Of course, he ended up quitting his job to work for me, so maybe it drove him crazy as well!
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I think working from home can work for some people with the right setup. I know that for many people, it does not work as well as being in a physical office. Remember, it is not just about the work but about the social aspect as well. Social interaction is good for us and can also help our business with different perspectives.