Attorney Maia T. Spilman launched her own practice in 2001. At first, she loved working from home. But soon, one file cabinet grew to four, her fax machine rang through the night, and anytime friends came over, there were confidential papers to hide. Plus, she felt uncomfortable having clients know where she lived.
So, she started renting office space. "I will never go back to working from home,” she says. “I need that separation between work and personal life."
On the other hand, Jean Tang rented space for her copywriting collective but eventually left. "I could hear every word of my loquacious neighbor's phone conversations,” she says.
To rent or not to rent? There’s no clear answer. Maia likes keeping work separate, but the first office she rented was so out of the way that she still wound up holding meetings in Starbucks. Jean loves commuting in pajamas, but misses the fortuitous networking that happens in a building full of like-minded professionals.
Ultimately, it comes down to your needs. Some businesses can easily manage employees remotely. Some have clients who simply won’t accept virtual offices as “real” businesses. And some will find their needs changing over time.