Thursday, November 8, 2012

Home Is Where the . . . Office Is

I first heard the term nearly 20 years ago: “Hoffice.” It’s the combination of two words – home and office. A hoffice.

A friend said this was the wave of the future, people working out of offices in their homes. Since I’m often behind the curve when it comes to the latest trends, the idea seemed crazy to me. Work is somewhere you go to; it doesn’t come to you. I couldn’t imagine working out of an office in my own home.

Just so you know, I’m writing this blog in an office – in my home. That shows how “visionary” I was back then.

USA Today had an article last week on home-based work, reporting over the past decade an additional 4.2 million workers did their jobs from home at least one day a week. From 2005 to 2010, workers performing at least part of their job responsibilities out of their homes rose from 7.8% to 9.5%.

If you’re wanting to increase your income, you might want to consider doing some work from home. The article stated people working exclusively from home had a median household income more than $8,000 higher than strictly on-site workers. Not sure how that translates in my own situation, but it’s something worth thinking about.

Self-employed people are more likely to work from home than people employed by someone else, according to the study. That makes sense, since if you have your own business, one way to conserve expenses is working from home rather than paying for a separate work setting.

There are other advantages for a home office, foremost being the “commute.” My office is just two seconds from our bedroom, so it’s accessible for me 24/7. Beats driving 10 miles or more to work, as I did for most of my career. Rush-hour traffic occurs only when my dog gets into my path in the hallway.

But it’s also a liability – you can’t exactly “go home” from work. It’s always there. And if your work involves email and the Internet, it’s always beckoning.

Another challenge consists of potential distractions. In my case, part of my M.O., as with many writers, is procrastination. We hate to write – but love to have written. The hardest thing about writing is inertia, the effort required to get started. It’s much easier to do less mind-taxing things – like emptying (or filling) the dishwasher, fixing the bed, retrieving the mail, reading the newspaper, etc. – anything but doing the hard work of sitting at the keyboard and concentrating until blood oozes out of your forehead.

In most cases with a home office you also don’t have a boss to look in on you, so it requires discipline and self-motivation. But that’s what character is all about: Who you are when no one’s looking. So having a home office can be a character-builder.

For me, the greatest form of discipline and motivation is keeping in mind who my “boss” really is. In the Scriptures it says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him…. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:17,23).

That’s what I call accountability.

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