Debate – Office v home working
Setting up the Debate
We are both committed home workers, because we both are really WordPress freelancers, so this debate was a little hard for the one who got caught on the side of defending working in an office – which was David!
Really, we’re solo business owners who get a bit of help from people in a similar situation.
Still the debate has merit, and we wondered if there is an agency v Freelancer or even developer v designer split in this topic?
So here are the main points in favour of each position…
For office working…
- better marketing – serious businesses have premises (the perception of a mobile hairdresser compared to a high street saloon seems great to me even though the mobile could be more qualified and experienced)
- you can keep your home address private – have a better one suited to the expectations of your clients
- counters the fear with online business that there is actually a 12 year old behind it (although it is surprising how few show off there offices on their site)
- can reach larger budget clients
- can reach a local audience – with so much competition online, local seems ever more important – we seem to be in an age where anyone who have changed the content successfully in a Wix template is now a designer
- better client meetings even if offline
- enforces a healthier work/ life balance – saves partners and family from being inconvenienced, for example client meetings or employing other staff and keeping proper boundaries
- it does not have to be expensive – you could share space and equipment with similar services (web designer with other media companies or hosting)
- reduce the cost and get exposed to your partners clients
- quality of work – mental boundaries help with clear thinking, so less distraction and procrastination if you are in the workplace (maybe?)
- the human need to have social contact – not just in the office but neighbouring one and the local eatery and watering holes, this helps to change to expand your reach and build community relationships
For home working…
- pandemic friendly
- saves money
- helps with balancing the famine and feast of the work
- creativity does not tend to work 9-5, plus plenty have argued the times established back during the industrial revolution are not so appropriate for today’s, largely, white collar workers
- other studies have argued that home workers are more productive
- if you do very specialist work you will not get much publicity from a high street office
- better security – 24 hours a day
- this kind of work is becoming more accepted (with remote working – government office workers are allowing it more)
- allows you to take lower cost jobs (during a recession perhaps)
- gives you the flexibility to change up the type of work or client
- some potential clients may look at swanky offices and think that is what the are really paying for
- no dress code – freedom to grow long locks of hair (this is the killer argument in my case!)
- work can be global – what’s the point in having an office if people don’t really need to go there?
- cuts out wasted travel to work time
- can claim home expenses against tax
- freedom to travel and work at the same time
The worst situation would be not knowing which of the two you should be striving for. Paying for poor, badly situated accommodation just because you fear you will not be taken seriously, or being at home to save money when you find home life is not suited to it.
As always, there is no right or wrong answer here, but just what suits you best. Feel free to post comments below or in the WP Builds Facebook Group should you wish.
The WP Builds podcast is brought to you this week by…
The home of Managed WordPress hosting that includes free domain, SSL, and 24/7 support. Bundle that with the Hub by GoDaddy Pro to unlock more free benefits to manage multiple sites in one place, invoice clients, and get 30% off new purchases! Find out more at go.me/wpbuilds.
FREE Access to 30+ Industry Experts Helping You Build Better WordPress Websites Faster
20th – 24th February 2023
Check out the speakers now…
We thank them for their support of WP Builds.
Transcript (if available)
These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:00:00] Welcome to the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Welcome your host, David Waumsley and Nathan Wrigley.
Hello there, and welcome to the WP Builds podcast. This is episode number 182 and titled office versus homeworking. It was published on Thursday the 4th of June, 2020. My name is Nathan Wrigley, and I'll be joined for our debate in a few minutes by David Waumsley. But before that, just a few bits of housekeeping.
Please head over to WP Builds.com that's the website where we keep all of our content. Most of it is specific to WordPress, but not everything. You'll find a whole bunch there. We've produced an awful lot of content each week, so for example, if you head over to the subscribe page, that's WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe.
You're going to be able to keep. Up to date with that content. There's two emails to subscribe to. The first one issues you an email. Every time we produce a new piece of content, usually that's twice a week, but sometimes a little bit more, and there's another newsletter to subscribe to find out. Whenever we hear about WordPress deals.
We keep our ears pretty close to the ground, and so when we hear of a good deal, we'll just email you directly about it so that you know there's also options on that page to subscribe to us on your favorite podcast player, and please, please join our Facebook group of over two and a half thousand WordPress's.
It's an incredibly friendly space and I would encourage you to go and post any WordPress related questions in there. Another page to mention would be WP Builds.com forward slash deals, I keep describing it as black Friday, but every single day of the week over on that page, you're going to find a searchable filterable list of deals which are there 365 days of the year.
So you don't need to wait for black Friday. The deals, so far, none of them have expired. The product owners have been very kind to give us permanent deals, and so if you're in the mood for products and services based around WordPress this week, go and check that out for sure. Another option would be WP Builds.com forward slash.
Advertise. We love it when we get new advertisers on and we love putting their messages in front of a WordPress specific audience and it may well help your product or service reach out to some new customers. One of the people that sit on that is AB split test.com. Okay. Let's get onto the main event today.
The main event being a debate between David Waumsley and I, we've entitled it office versus homeworking, and I suppose that makes it pretty obvious what the debate is all about. It's exactly that. What are the benefits of working from home? There are myriad benefits, and I won't go into them now, but.
Equally, there are tons of benefits of working from the office. And so we take up country positions, one of us on one side and one on the other, and we see which we would prefer at the end. And I hope that you enjoy the podcast.
David Waumsley: [00:03:07] Hello. Today's debate is office versus home working and, well, this is going to be a tricky one because both Nathan and I are fairly committed home workers.
It would be given that,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:03:18] yeah, I mean, this is a difficult proposition. We do these debates and the idea is that one of us takes on the, uh, the. One role and one of us takes on the other way. In the most part, we both agree about it from the outset and this one more so I think, than ever before. We're both completely, I'm based outside of an office.
In fact, I have so little experience inside of an office that you've been forced to take the office side of the debate just because you have more experience, even though you don't like it. So sincere apologies for forcing you into this. Yeah. I suppose
David Waumsley: [00:03:53] to set up the debate cause we're not sure what we're talking about.
Cause there's probably some difference between kind of larger agencies who might need an office and smaller freelances like us or micro agencies, whatever we call ourselves, who probably be more inclined to work from home. So I guess we're talking for our kind of core audience. Pretty much like us online.
Yeah. Maybe just one or two of us.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:04:15] Yes. I think, I think most of the people who listen to this podcast, certainly the ones that come to the Facebook group and talk with us, appear to be in the, in the mold of freelancers. You know, maybe they have an office, but maybe they work from home, but it would appear that most of them are freelancers.
So I think if we take the. Take the staging of this debate as we're imagining that everybody that listening that listens to this is a freelancer and they're deciding whether or not as a freelancer to set up an office or not. That might be a good position to work from, although clearly some of you will be working as part of larger teams, but you know, let's maybe frame it in that way.
Freelances, home office, freelancers, you know, paid external office. Yeah. Okay. Shall I kick it off?
David Waumsley: [00:05:03] Okay. Some of the arguments for the office and, uh, you can wipe the floor with me.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:05:08] Um, okay.
David Waumsley: [00:05:09] So better. Well, really, I mean, the reason for me to have an office probably be the better marketing just to set myself up, invest in myself as a serious business that has.
Premises, so I can get that perception, particularly if I was in a local area where I wanted to attract all the local business, set myself up in some office where other people could walk past it day in, day out. That would be my. Reason for going in for an office in the first place.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:05:35] Yeah. And I have absolutely no rebuttal, but I think you're out of ammo there.
Uh, I think that's it. You've done, you've spent your only decent reason, but it is, it is the reason. Right. And it's perfect. Um, I don't know quite why it is, but it is seen that, you know, going to an office where people are wearing a certain type of clothes and, you know, it's got a, uh, I think that the address of that office can be very significant.
You know, if it's an, a. A particular street or in a particular neighborhood or whatever it might be that it's, you know, very rural and that's its charm. But having, having an office setup where everything is completely disassociated from any sort of familiar life is, is really persuasive. I have suffered imposter syndrome.
More, um, from this one, I think, than anything else. I think I would have had far less imposter syndrome had people have been coming over to my office, uh, than they would if they'd have been coming over to my house or whatever, wherever I might have been meeting them in a coffee shop. Yeah. This is a massively, massively important reason for having an office.
If you're a freelancer, that disassociation, you know, you don't have to have any, any reference to your family life. It's completely disassociated. You can set it up with an inverted commerce office furniture so that it looks the part, um, and the location of it could be slap bang in the middle of a busy thoroughfare of commerce, and it might, might help you enormously.
So yes, totally conceded. It's a brilliant, brilliant opener. Yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:07:09] But also, I mean, I wonder if,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:07:11] cause we can't really know
David Waumsley: [00:07:13] what the perception is of people who do our trade. So if you're somebody looking for a website and you think that you're going to go to a freelance or web UN agencies for this, we don't know what that perception is because I've got perception say of the mobile hairdresser compared to the high street saloon, you know, and the sort of quality of the hairdressing that I might likely to get from one or the other of those, which probably is not
Nathan Wrigley: [00:07:36] true at all.
No, because the skill is totally tradable, isn't it? And that, that I think is, is the impediment that we face. You know, you, you aren't, you're not going to be a better worker building websites in an office, you know, all of the, the, the things which we'll come onto a site in terms of, you know, maybe wasting time and so on and so forth, but your skills are no better.
We are location independent completely and utterly. And I would say that the example that you've just chosen of a hairdresser is probably the same. You know, so long as you've got the right tools in the bag, when you set off at the beginning of the day, you're probably all set. But there are certain things, you know, for example, if you work in a call center, I imagine that that probably is better to have everybody in one place.
If you're a, I dunno, a carpenter or something like that. Having all of those. Incredibly expensive, elaborate tools. It's probably better to have them all in one central location so that you can use them. All of those kinds of things. There's a massive, massive benefit, but no, I don't think the skills of website building are better in an office.
I think you can carry that kind of work out just as effectively at home. We are supremely lucky in that basically all we need is a laptop. Possibly an external monitor, a mouse, something like that. That's kind of the, the limits of it really, isn't it? Oh. And coffee, but that can be had anywhere.
David Waumsley: [00:08:59] Yeah, I bet.
The other point of my argument, I suppose I'll be stacking mine up first for you to blow them down really, but is that if you, and this has happened to me before, if I was trying to do this now, when I used to live in London and I would say in Tottenham and they had by
Nathan Wrigley: [00:09:13] Tottenham address there,
David Waumsley: [00:09:15] it wouldn't look.
Kind of as glamorous
Nathan Wrigley: [00:09:17] the particular area. I lived in a very nice place there
David Waumsley: [00:09:20] and that was my
Nathan Wrigley: [00:09:21] choice. Have a happy with it, but it wasn't
David Waumsley: [00:09:23] a great place. So, you know, it might have been to my advantage to have had a business address that was somewhere else in the same way that in the UK we've got Harley street, which is known for kind of, um, private doctors.
And we've got, if you're selling shirts, we've got German street in London as well. Having those kind of addresses
Nathan Wrigley: [00:09:41] that might reflect the type of client that you want to pick up, you'll be really
David Waumsley: [00:09:44] advantageous.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:09:45] Yeah, and I'm sure that's true. I mean, you only have to look at the amount of companies based throughout the world who've chosen to register their business in Delaware and in America because they believe that having an American just anywhere in America address for their business is superior to the address that they would have.
From their, from their own location. And I'm sure the case is true. You know, if you could, if you could, um, have a, an address with a particular postcode in London, there's going to be a certain proportion of people who will be beguiled by that and think that's fantastic. You know, it speaks of. Deep pockets and it speaks of the, you know, clearly a massive turnover.
Whoa, look, they've got an office on such and such a street. That's impressive. They must be very successful. Me in my situation, I think most of that is immaterial because the kind of clients that I've got simply haven't got those kinds of budgets and you know, nowhere in my location, well, that's not true.
There are certain parts of the town in which I live, which are nicer than others, shall we say. So I suppose there would be a bit of that, but I don't think for a freelancer it's terribly important. And also to be honest, I think it's the kind of thing that you can embrace. The amount of conversations that I've had where I've felt a bit of imposter syndrome is significant, but equally one, I've embraced that a bit, and I've.
Set to people right from the outset. Oh, I work from home. I'm just a freelancer. I find that it means that I'm, you know, I'm more cost efficient. I've got, I make savings that way. And, and that's great for the business because it means I can plow the money into things that will benefit you as opposed to rent and bills for the internet doubled and so on.
Um, and most of the people that I've said those words to, I've found that to be quite, well, certainly they haven't said to us weird. You know, it's more okay. Yeah, that's fine. Batted an eyelid. It's just something I had to get over. I had to make that mindset that it's okay to have a home office, and more importantly than that, it's okay to celebrate it and talk about it as if it's normal.
David Waumsley: [00:11:45] Yeah. But you're kind of known in the local area. People know, you know, you're recommended if you're starting up on that. No, you've got your website and you know, this is the problem, isn't it? With the internet, it's very hard to pick a web designer just on their web presence, um, because it's just too much option.
And also there's always that fear that. Anybody can, you know, black anything. So there's a 12 year old, you know, a kid who's behind the screen, they're actually doing the work. You don't know who to pick out. And you know what I mean? You've got that advantage if you meet people. But if you don't have a premise and you, all you've got is a website that's quite, yeah.
Difficult to overcome, I think if you want to attract local business.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:12:25] Yeah, I think that's true. I'm sure that's true. In fact, it's interesting because we are recording this during the time when you know office work has more or less ground to a halt and the homework has become the new normal, and obviously lots of people are wrangling that.
So it is a bit of a peculiar time would be quite interesting to see how many businesses on the back of this decide that homework is the future, or at least for a proportion. Of their staff or a proportion of their staff's time. But, um, yeah, I think, I think they, they're good points. But the, the other thing I would say is that there are options where I live, I don't know if this is widespread.
I'm sure it's widespread in terms of companies like we work and so on. I don't know if that will be around for forever, but, um, there are office spaces where I live where you can hire it by the hour. So were you to be somebody who, let's say for example, you're setting yourself up. You can organize meetings where you go to this office and, but you just have it for an hour, an hour and a half, two hours, whatever it takes.
And when you go in, there's a coffee full of water and there's, you know, um, two cops all cleaned out for you and everything. And the chairs are all. Aligned and it's made to look posh, internet connection, all of that kind of stuff. And you just have it for a couple of hours. So I think if that's a worry for you, you want to, you really can't get over the barrier of that.
There are ways which are cheaper. I mean, obviously you pay significantly more per hour than you would for an office, but you only have it for a couple of hours. So it's, it's way, way cheaper. So I think you can get over that impediment if you view it as an impediment.
David Waumsley: [00:14:02] Yeah, yeah, there is that. That's probably, is that an argument for an office?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:14:08] Well, yeah. I mean, it's certainly, it's, it's an argument for like, it's a temporary office, isn't it? Having a temporary office might be a good thing. And I know that lots of people have, like, we worked subscriptions, I know we work is in a bit of bother at the moment in terms of its profitability. And I'm sure that during this covert crisis is almost got zero people going through its doors.
But that model. Can be, can be successful. I think if you, you know, if your house is not too, which we'll come onto in a minute, if your house is not suitable for entertaining visitors, there are ways of getting around that.
David Waumsley: [00:14:39] Yeah. There are similar kinds of things there is in the hotel business in Thailand.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:14:44] Okay. Yes. We won't go into that. Um, is there anything you wanted to put forward or shall I take on a few bits? Cause you can see you've got a nice laundry list of things which you believe to be in your favor. Yeah. What did you say? Me take it for a bit.
David Waumsley: [00:15:01] Yeah, you go and take it. Take a few.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:15:03] Okay. Well, the biggest one for me, I think, well, there's actually quite a few which provide for the top position, but the most compelling one, I would say is the money.
The fact that in. In being at home, I'm saving hundreds of pounds a month, thousands of pounds a year on something that I, a long time ago, decided I didn't really need. Um, I'm confess, I live in a very cheap part of the United Kingdom, so. Everything that wanted, perhaps say, I'm going to heavily caveat with with that.
But I have a spare room in my house, which I've painted. You know, if you've seen any of the videos, I do the lives and whatnot, young, you'll know it's, it's just white. It's fairly bland. You wouldn't want it as a, as a bedroom, but it serves as an office perfectly. And, and so, you know, we took the. Took the decision a long time ago that if I was to be spending X number of pounds a month on an office, why not spend X number of pounds a month on the mortgage?
You know, if you transfer that same amount over to the mortgage, it enabled me to get a house with a, with an additional space. An extra bedroom, which was converted. But equally, you know, if you don't, if you have a a garden and you don't have any additional space or you can't extend your house, there's loads of scope for building offices at the bottom of your garden.
You know, these things that can be thrown up in a very short space of time. Well, really, I think sort of 10,000 pounds, something like that. But you look at the bill for your office each month, add it up over five years, and you never know you might be in pocket. So the financial argument for me is, is very, very compelling.
David Waumsley: [00:16:44] yeah, it is. And it's hard to argue with. I mean, it's really savings and investments is the balance you're getting and you're putting your investment more into your own property that you're going to own. And for most of us in
Nathan Wrigley: [00:16:55] our category, we would, we would have to rent
David Waumsley: [00:16:57] our office spaces, wouldn't we? I mean, if we was in a completely different situation where we were buying office spaces in the way that something like McDonald's doesn't see itself as a burger chain, but sees itself as, as real real.
Property development. Um, you know, we can't do that. So yeah, I see you have to concede to that one. But there is the argument though, isn't it, that, you know, could you have done more business or got better business? Well, that's the argument I put forward. If you would invest it more in the office, you just don't want, I mean, you're saving money.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:17:28] Totally gets that. I'm sure that you're right in that the environment that I can. That I can give to people. Uh, if I want to, you know, if I invite them over to my house for a start, the, the office is, uh, on the third floor of my house, so they have to come up and walk past all the bedroom doors and all of that.
So that's a bit weird. Having, having said that, the amount of times when I've brought people up to this office is very negligible. Mostly those kind of meetings. I tend to conduct in a place of mutual benefit, you know, so it might be someone like a cafe and there are so many of those dotted around. Most people, in my opinion, are quite happy to sit looking on my laptop screen.
I've also been very, very happy going to their place of work, where their office is, and in some cases, I think that that's. Really works in their benefit because they don't have to make the effort to come traipsing over to me. Um, I can happily go and see them, get in the car for 10 minutes, half an hour, two hours, whatever it might be.
Go and plump myself in their environment or even in a cafe near to where they live. It's not perfect. It would be nice to have a beautiful office on the ground floor with its own dedicated entrance and all that. Don't get me wrong. If I could put a perfect office on my land and my property and it didn't disrupt my family setup, I probably would, but the, the cost benefits of all of that just don't stack up and I more than happy to see people in alternative environments.
It totally works for me.
David Waumsley: [00:19:00] Yeah, and in fact, the only time, because I have to work online because I'm traveling all the time. I, the only time people have wanted me involved in some meeting with them, it's been with the, when they wanted me to come to their offices because it's convenient for them, not the other way around.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:19:16] we've been through with the covert 19 thing. I think more and more. People are going to be, well, how, how to describe this. There's going to be a whole bunch of people counted in the millions who now have for the first time ever done something like a video conference call. Whereas before, they just had no conception of how to do that.
You know, mom and pop bricks and mortar shop people who have had to adopt this stuff because they want to stay in touch with their friends and family. You know, they want to see their grandchildren. So they've, they've installed Skype or they've installed zoom and they're now familiar with how it works.
And before, I think certain people, I wouldn't have even had mentioned it. Can we do a zoom call? I think I'll be far more. Capable of saying, let's, let's book a meeting online, we'll do, we'll do zoom, whatever your weapon of choices. And, and I, I think those impediments will have, would have disappeared more or less by the time we're out.
We're out of this and, you know, however long that is. I'll
David Waumsley: [00:20:18] put another side of the argument there because we had to move and was when I was working in government and the arguments there was whether people could work more from home or whether it is to be in the office and particularly meetings. And it took them a long time to move to online meetings and give us the tools to do that.
But still, I don't think it was really ever concluded whether that was the right way for me. I liked it much better. That took away all the travel time and we had our meetings, but there was something about that personal contact for many people. Obviously as employees, they didn't enjoy that. The fact that they were more and more isolated.
And they didn't have that time in the meeting. And I think the problem is that meetings tended to, to make them work online, they needed to run more clearly to the agenda because you couldn't pick up on the sort of, kind of subtle clues you can when there are people together about who can talk and what you can go.
There's something about being in the same room and watching each other that makes those meetings, um, kind of run more smoothly than they can online. So there is another argument that, you know. Still that kind of office space that's social socializing. It never be completely removed. Yeah. Or maybe not.
Not as efficient as you think it might be.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:21:33] I get it. I know what you mean. I suppose a good example of that would be, you know, it is superior in, well, I think most people would say it's superior to go and watch sports. Than it is to see it on the telly. It's just better. You know, you get to get the depth of the three dimensions of it, the crowd get you excited and you know, so the same would be true in the office.
You know, you've got interpersonal reactions. Little jokes can be hard. You can forge relationships, you can have a bit of wasted downtime with somebody else. Whereas all of that is very different. However, in terms of the sort of zoom calls, I actually think that's a skill. I think that the reason it's awkward and the reason that people don't know when to speak is more about the fact that as a whole, let's say you've got six people on a zoom meeting.
If five of you have never done it before, five of you haven't learned the skills. To observe when it's time for you to speak and the skills of backing out very quickly of the beginning of a sentence. So as an example, when you and I have these conversations, both of us realize that if the other person starts talking, the best bet is to just back off straight away.
Because both of us trying to continue talking is just nonsense. We bet we get nowhere in a real world situation. You can probably do that. There's probably a bit of that. You can both be talking at the same time at night, expect both of you can hear, but I think those skills can be acquired and I think they are being acquired.
I had a. We have a zoom chat every Wednesday during this lockdown period with five other, well, there's five families in total, and we're now on week six. We do it on a Friday when now on week six and the first few were a disaster. You know, nobody knew what to say or when or what. The cue was to my turn, it's my turn, but we've totally fixed it.
It's now seamless. We somehow have figured out when it is suitable. To, to interrupt. And we figured out that if everybody's on the screen at once, instead of, you know, the gallery view instead of the person who's speaking view that assists, cause you can see when everybody's about to launch into it. So anyway, completely gone off track there.
Apologies about that. But I do think those online tools, if you do have a concern about holding meetings, I think, I think those debates are. Yeah, less important than maybe they once were, and certainly the tooling that's available between the time when you were working for government and now they're so much
David Waumsley: [00:24:00] better.
Yeah. Well in general, I'm going to just throw in something else because there is something about the meetings that I won't be able to get into office for our meetings and stuff. There was stuff that was lost in there online because it would always be maybe in a group of six or something that would regularly meet.
There would maybe be a couple that would talk to each other over something that they hadn't got the chance to. Maybe in the coffee break, maybe even in the meeting just and then there would be. That would mean that they would bring forward something that wasn't on the agenda before. They think that can happen so easy.
Cause you can't have those little private conversations when you're on a mass there. So I could still see that happen in, if you've got an office space, you know, for hour. The argument for an office I'm still trying to make here is that, you know, it does allow for some, uh, more sophisticated human interaction.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:24:49] Yeah. I, I'm not going to deny it. I think the, the technology is. It's not as good, you know, I'd far rather hang out with somebody in person, but I think if I'm trying to weigh it up as a whole, I think the technology's good enough that most business transactions can be done well. So I suppose it just speaks to processes as well, doesn't it?
You know, if you're going to hop on a call with six people and you haven't got an agenda and you haven't got a process for talking through and somebody taking comprehensive minutes and those kinds of things, then yeah. Probably going to waste your time on zoom as much as you would in the actual office.
But if you've got your processes and everybody's working on collaborative documents, you know, Google docs and so on, and they submit all of the things that they actually think are worth talking about prior to doing the meeting, I think you can make it. I think you can make it work. Um, but yeah, but yeah, interesting.
I'm just not sure how this will go, and I'm sure that the technology will, will develop to, you know, for example, zoom have now breakout meetings, so you can have little meetings within meetings and all of those kinds of things. So you can go off if you like, on your coffee break, but it would be, yeah, a little bit contrived.
One thing that you've touched on when you were talking a minute ago though, which is another absolute killer. So the two things for me. Number one I've said is saving money, and number two is saving time. And you know, you might be very lucky in that you might be able to secure a really fabulous office right next to where you live.
And I know we know people who've got that situation, you know, short walk out your front door, walk for a couple of minutes, boom, you're there. Great. But a lot of people. Don't, you know, they waste considerable amounts of time getting to their office because they want it to what they might live. For example, in the middle of, um, I don't know, a farm and their office needs to be in the central Birmingham.
That's where they've decided their work needs to be done from that is just to me, such dead time time, especially if you're driving a car, cause it's not like you can be productive. All right, I'll grant you, if you're on the train, you can be productive on the train, but not really on the tube. Not really in the car and all of this time when added up, goodness me.
You know, those of you that commute, I'm sure have had these thoughts in your own head. You know, you get to the get to Christmas time, new year's resolution, and you think about how many hours did I spend on the tube or on the train? And it's, it's a jaw dropping amount often is one of the biggest reasons that I moved out of big cities because I just couldn't reconcile the amount of time I was spending on public transport per week with what I wanted out of my life.
David Waumsley: [00:27:24] Yeah. Well, it is a good time. A good chance to listen to the WP Builds podcast.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:27:31] Yes. Okay. Right. Okay. I'll call back into my hole. At this point, it's probably the only time when people listen to the WP belts. Podcast is doing the commute. Yes, that is a good point. You can, you can make use of the time in productive ways, but not necessarily doing the work, but you, you know what I'm saying?
Right. The idea that I have so much time heading to and from work, and if you, if you think about, okay, let's say that I typically would, so this is probably quite an extreme example, but let's say that I spent an hour in each direction going to work five days a week. So that's 10 hours. A week. That's 40 hours a month.
So all of a sudden, you know, you see it adding up. Basically, you're losing like a working week every month. Um, yeah. And, and this, this is, this is just not good. I can repurpose that time in the same way that I can repurpose the money that went on the, on the rent for the office, repurpose that into my own property.
I can repurpose that time towards my family. You know, I can get up later if I choose or I could get up at the same time, do an hours work, finished two hours early, an hour early, whatever. And that is just so lovely. Yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:28:44] But you know, it's very solitary, isn't it? And I'm the argument for an office, maybe even the lifestyle of going to an office is more social.
So even then you're traveling to it. Maybe you buy a coffee from, say, my sister in law's business who has one by that station. You get to know people who regularly get coffee. You talk to people, you see people more often. They, they might be people that you'll talk to and say what you do for your business.
So even that trip as well as listening to your podcasts and stuff could be useful and, and, and help to kind of network a little bit more. And then I think, you know, when you get into your office, if it's in a good location or your, it doesn't have to be expensive. You could be sharing with people who do something related to what you do.
In fact, here's the thing, I lost a couple of clients, although I kind of got them back. Fortunately. But I think I lost them due to the fact that they had an office space. So these clients all had offices quite close to these two other businesses. One of them doing emails, the other one's doing, um, general media and websites as well.
So they were kind of known in the area and they were known with these businesses and there were socialized. Perhaps they would go to the same cafes or. Eating places or whatever. So they weren't necessarily punting for their business directly, but they had a wider social circle. So it was so easy for me to lose those customers cause they knew who they would go to next.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:30:06] Yes. Um. You had me though when you said it's a bit less social right at the start of this thing. That was basically where it ended for me. I, I just stopped listening after that. This whole idea of, Oh, it'd be fun to chat to people on the train station all, I'm just thinking, nah, no, no, no, no, no. I'm happy with the happy with the honker down mentality.
Honestly, I think that's an important part of it for me. I am so happy alone. I'm totally all right with it, but really don't mind it. Clearly. That's something of my personality coming out in that, but it's totally all right. And there are other people who fit for whom sitting in this little space that I occupy five days a week would be an absolute train wreck.
You know? That's just not going to do it. And everything that you've just suggested, you know, the chat on the tube station, buying the coffee, talking to new people, all of that stuff would be so sorely missed. Um, and I, all I can say is for me, I'm happy that I, I don't to do those things. I'm happy to just Potter around in my own house.
And, uh, yeah, all of the things that you just mentioned completely correct. They're just not for me. Um, uh, um, I'm feeling a bit like a sort of like a character out of a Charles Dickens novel out of somebody like Scrooge or something penny pinching, a lonely, isolated, you know, or dead.
David Waumsley: [00:31:32] But it's, you know, um, but exactly the same with me.
So I'm kind of putting on an act, but I do remember
Nathan Wrigley: [00:31:37] I was
David Waumsley: [00:31:38] telling you about this before I called the early days of my youth where I used to be much more sociable than now. And there was this painter in our local town who for some reason. Rented this room, you know, fairly big room to do as a studio for painting.
She wasn't making much money somehow just because she was there in a place that people pass through and was interested in her. We all ended up getting behind a lot of young people, particularly, um, just, and it turned into this thing called the art rooms where a lot of people did stuff when we started doing band practicing and we did charity gigs to raise money for this art rooms, and it developed into this big.
Kind of center for a lot of people who had all interests in various different arts came out of this one person kind of setting up office somewhere. And I just think maybe now I can afford not to have that. But you could see how
Nathan Wrigley: [00:32:29] it attracts a lot of
David Waumsley: [00:32:30] people who just want that kind of, you know, to see people and be.
Personal bowl and you know, so I can see the advantages of an office, particularly if you can create that kind of environment.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:32:40] Yeah. There's a place in Scarborough where I live that is exactly the equivalent of this thing that you've just described, that this lady has. Um, it's a, an office which has been refurbished, lovely old building.
I think it was possibly a museum or something, but it's been refurbished, I think, possibly out of some sort of grant or something. It's lovely. The office is a really nice, everything is tasteful. There's a little. Um, coffee shop in there more or less, I think exclusively for the people who frequent this place.
Lots and lots of offices, maybe 50 or 60 something like that. And all the, all the cool kids go there. There's lots of little startups in there, lots of tech, lots of people who have their own little independent arts and craft businesses, that kind of thing. And. Whoa. The amount of work they exchange inside that building is pretty phenomenal.
You know, I only have to look at quite a few of the, the local websites that pop up for local events, and you know what? It's like, you sort of scroll to the bottom and see if anybody's left their Mark on the website. And you discover it is, it is probably quite effective if you have an office in that environment.
Um, I'm sure that it pays for itself, but the, the big problem for me, going back to the argument I made right at the start, is that the cost of this place is phenomenal. You know, it's very expensive for the actual rent for the office. The office is the same size as the one that I've. Got, um, the crowd that are in there are significantly younger than me, so I'd feel like a bit of an old granddad trying to be hippie.
Cool. Anyway, and, and so it just, it just didn't really work for me. I mean, it just, I looked around it, in fact, a few times in the last few years I've been around to see if I could make myself fit. And honestly, I, I, I. Uh, my age, I would feel like a square peg in a round hole. I just don't think I've got the talk.
I couldn't talk the talk and walk the walk. But yeah, I think it's a compelling argument. If you were younger, if you were 20 something setting up and you could fit the bill in that environment. Yeah, it would work. I'm sure. Speaking of old grandad, one of the nicest things of, um. Of being working at home is, is the whole dress code thing.
Now, I know this is probably not going to ring a bell for too many people, but I really, really, really like the fact that I don't have to wear any kind of uniform or look a particular way. Going back to my youngest years. I always rebelled against getting dressed up. You know, we'd go to my mum and dad would be attending a wedding and I'd be dragged along and I was made to wear these things and I hated it.
Like a way that I hate very little stuff. I really don't like it. I don't own any ties. I've worn a suit one time in my life, um, and it didn't last for more than about an hour. I got it off as quickly as I could. I'm sure you can imagine what it was. Um, and, and so having the ability to rock out of bed, just dress in whatever way I feel fit is so nice.
I love it.
David Waumsley: [00:35:45] Yeah. Yeah. You know, it's interesting because some people that I knew from my office days, um, that moved to doing our job, which was working from home, that was the thing that they found difficult. They just kept saying to us, Oh, I'm still in my pajamas. what am I doing? But, but they couldn't quite get out.
And really it was difficult for them. There is an argument here because somebody listening to us could just think what slobs we are, you know, because we like that because I was, I come in, but it was, somebody was saying the other day, you know, about successful people, you know, there are obviously, you know, when you're thinking about time, you know, there's no time, there's no point in making up your bed.
A tall, if you know you're going to get back in it in another 12 hours, but successful people do that because it's a kind of discipline
Nathan Wrigley: [00:36:36] know. Yeah, yeah. I've heard these arguments before, and I'm sure there's some basis in them, but I would argue that it's not entirely the case. You know, I, whilst I wouldn't consider myself to be remarkably successful, I wouldn't consider myself a failure either.
So I'm just, I'm happily sitting in the middle ground and I'm, I'm more than happy to occupy that space.
David Waumsley: [00:36:58] It's going to come down to personalities. I agree. I mean, in some ways I am quite tie-dyed like that. So there'll be routines which I'll set for myself. They'll just be other ones, which, uh, you know, which I just don't want to do.
Take part in. So I'm on your side, unfortunately for this, I'm doing
Nathan Wrigley: [00:37:12] a terrible job. No, no, no. You were always destined to have a terrible, terrible hand. Elvia cause it was, you know, both of us agree. Ultimately. Do you know the other thing as well is, apart from just being unshackled from the clothes, you're also kind of unshackled from, well two things first this time and second one is location.
So time is. I'm, I'm pretty disciplined because I've got kids. My time is much more structured than it would be if I didn't have kids because it revolves around, you know, I'll send them to or take them to school. And then there's a period of time in which I can work. Obviously that's a mess at the moment because of the lockdown that we're all undergoing.
But, um, and then I'll go and get them at school, but in the middle of that day, I've got that period of time where I can work and I'm on disturbed should it be necessary? And it usually is. Few times a week necessary to do some work. After that, I can put the kids to bed and eight o'clock, nine o'clock, 10 o'clock whatever.
Do I do an hour, an hour and a half? But usually that's the more light handed, the, the lighter aspects of the work. You know, sending emails, responding to things that weren't urgent and so, and nothing that requires a massive amount of brain power. Although I am a bit of a Nighthawk, I can absolutely work throughout the night, but you can model your day around, do an hour here, take an hour off, do a bit of gardening, walk around in the bit on the beach, go to the park.
Do something else, chat to your mom and dad on the phone, whatever. Whereas you can't do that sort of stuff. You don't have that freedom. You just need to be disciplined. You need to make sure that by the end of the week, you've clocked up the number of hours that makes sense for your business, and I can do that.
But the other one, which I know you absolutely agree with is the location one. You know, so long as I've got an internet connection, which now is ubiquitous, any cafe on us will provide me with that. My phone. Just about any part of the UK will tethered, provide that to me, to my laptop. You know, you're living in a completely different continent, a completely different culture and country.
All of that is open to you because of the fact that you've got out of an office.
David Waumsley: [00:39:13] Yeah. Yeah. What about the argument though of, um, th okay, so I'll work life balance this. I do look back on my times when I used to work to office hours and go somewhere and then leave it. And when I left, when I walked out the door, there was this wonderful sense of freedom and then that marked my time.
That was my time or time with my partner or whatever. And I really liked that. And. Do you not think that the office might provide something like that that might be good for your life balance?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:39:42] Yeah, so two sides to that argument. Number one, it would provide structure. There's no doubt about it, you know? I mean, if you go to work and there's no structure, then boy, what's the point.
Um, the other thing I would say is that you're also, so this is more of a freelancer versus agency life argument, but you know, that structure could be, could be more than you can cope with. It might be that you're being asked to do things in your 40 hours in the office that you, uh, that you actually can't achieve in 40 hours.
And if you are at home working, you can, um, you can sort of stretch that out a little bit. You know, those kinds of things, but I think that probably is getting outside of the remit of this argument. But yeah, if you, if you receive some solace from. Leaving at five o'clock and putting it all on the shelf until nine o'clock the next morning.
Yeah. That, that is a nice feeling, I'm sure. And it's a really worthwhile thing having, you know, if you're a, um, I don't know, let's say a dentist, there's probably not a lot of dentistry going on when you're at home. You just leave and you're done. Your dentist work carries on at nine the next morning when the first patient walks in.
Excuse me. If you're a dentist and I've just completely lied about the massive burden of work that you have when you're at home, the paperwork and so on. Sorry, I didn't, didn't mean to, I didn't mean to cast dispersions, but yeah. Nice. Nice feeling I would have imagined, but none of this I'm afraid is swinging me.
Um, I'm still going to be saying home office over. Office. Yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:41:14] But do you think maybe concede this one though, cause you have mentioned sometimes when it becomes quite tricky when you might have a guilt of being at home. Yeah. While, while you've got the kids around that it's very difficult for them to separate, you know, data home from data at work.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:41:30] Yeah. I was convenient. I was hoping you'd conveniently forget all of those misgivings that I have. I mean, especially now. Good grief. Uh. Okay. Just to undermine everything that I've just said. If I could, if I could get out into an office for maybe just a day. That would be nice right now because obviously, you know, I've got my kids, I love my kids more than anything else, you know.
Well, my wife, Oh, I'm going to get in such trouble. I love my family. I'm going to rephrase that. I love my family more than anything else. Um, but being on top of each other in the way that we are all at the minute, you know, because we're not used to, it is intriguing and does, does present a new and interesting complexion to the home working environment.
And it's muddied. The water and the boundaries have become far less clear. So a perfect example is that I've got my kids downstairs as we speak. I've set them some work cause we, we're trying to give them some schoolwork during this time. And, um, and I, I don't know if they're achieving that. I don't know if they've become stock.
But we've got this commitment to do this, this podcast together, call it work, if you will. Um, but the same would be true if I was currently building a website, which, you know, I'll get to later in the week, and yeah, it's difficult, but that's not normal for me. But you're right. You know, there are times when I bring the kids home from school and there's a couple of hours there where I need to do meetings and you know, it would be nice if I had the time to spend with the children like the entire time and the family the entire time.
But it's not real life is it? You've got to be a flip, be flexible, and the work's got to fit in around it some way, shape, or form.
David Waumsley: [00:43:12] We could argue that where home workers, largely because of the fact that you've got a home life that will accommodate that and the accommodation. And I've got no option as a traveler, which is one of the main things for home working for me.
My home can be anywhere and, but I don't get the work that I probably could have done if I might have. Taking, put more investment in a setup office, I'm probably would be doing better for work than I would be,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:43:38] but I've got my freedom. Yeah. And honestly, if you were to replay that sentence, which, which half of that would you rather have.
David Waumsley: [00:43:46] I'll just stick with what I've got now. Yeah.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:43:48] Okay. There you go. I think, I think in that case, on that bombshell and that ananymous victory on the Wrigley side of things, although it was very, very, very difficult for you to argue differently. Um, I think we should probably end it that really pleased. If you're an office worker, put some, put some comments, let us know what your thoughts are and, uh, yeah.
Bye bye for now.
David Waumsley: [00:44:12] Bye. Bye.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:44:13] Well, I hope that you enjoyed that. Always fun chatting to David Waumsley about these things always throws up some really interesting bits of information, things that I had not considered before, and in my case, being a committed home worker, I'd always seen that as the correct way for me, but I can see.
Absolutely why people might choose to work in the office. Please as always, head over to WP Builds.com forward slash, Facebook. That's our Facebook group. You could leave some comments there, or if you're feeling like you would prefer to do it on our website, head over to the post itself and leave some comments at the bottom.
Always appreciate it. The WP Builds podcast was brought to you today by AB split test. Want to set up your AB split test in record time, the new AB split test plugin for WordPress. We'll have you up and running in a couple of minutes. Use your existing pages and test anything against anything else.
Buttons, images, headers, rows, really anything. The best part is that it works with elemental BeaverBuilder and the WordPress block editor. You can check it out and get a free three day [email protected] Hopefully you'll join us at some point during the next week. We'll have a podcast for you next week.
We'll have the WordPress weekly news on Monday and the live news 2:00 PM UK time [email protected] forward slash live and also in the WP Builds Facebook group. So you never know. I might see you at some point this week. If not, stay safe. Take care and bye bye for now.