Work From Home or Rent an Office? Pros and Cons

Photo (cc) by Fernanda Mancini

Last year, I left my full-time office job and started working from home. But after only a few months, I realized I needed to go to an office. While there are few things as satisfying as giving up a lengthy commute, I quickly realized that a home office comes with its own problems – and expenses.

I’ve since rented office space close to my house, where I write for Money Talks News and other sites. But one of my Money Talks News co-workers calls me crazy. Michael Koretzky is a Money Talks editor who has worked at home for more than a decade and written about it (check out 5 REAL Tips for Working from Home and 10 Tips for Working for Yourself – Without Working Yourself to Death).

If you’ve started working at home and are wondering if it’s worth the money to get your own little office, here’s a debate Michael and I had recently…

1. Consider your environment

JASON: When I lived alone in a small high-rise condominium, it was quiet and comfortable. Then I got married and moved to a beautiful 1937 brick home in Denver – but it’s cold in the winter and hot in the summer, so I need to run the heating or air conditioning all day long at full blast. That was fine when my wife and I were gone weekdays at work. It’s expensive when I’m there all day, every day.

MICHAEL: The trick is to carve out one space and ignore the rest of the house during weekdays. Unlike you, Jason, I live in Florida, so I chose the coolest room in the house for my office so I wouldn’t need to run the AC all day. I also bought a fan, and I drown out the sounds of chatting neighbors and playing children with some classical music, which is easy to work to.

2. Calculate expenses

JASON: Sure, renting space in an office building costs more than working from home, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. In addition to energy savings, the office I’m subleasing also includes Internet service and the use of a professional-grade printer, fax machine, scanner, and copier. For $150 a month, I also have a room with a door and even a decent view out the window.

MICHAEL: Yeah, well I spend nothing on rent. Sure, I have to buy my own printer, scanner, and office equipment. But over the years, they’ve more than paid for themselves – and I deducted them from my taxes. I do pay for a faster Internet connection at home, but I deduct part of that, too, and my wife benefits when she comes home and surfs the Web.

3. Avoid distractions

JASON: With a wife and a 4-year-old child at home, there was little doubt that my productivity soared when I started renting office space. Other distractions at home include television, the kitchen, and even the neighbors.

MICHAEL: Well, I don’t have kids, so I’ll concede this point. But avoiding the TV, kitchen, and neighbors is something I’ve written about before – because it’s a fallacy to think that working in an office is all work. When I did work in an office, I took lots of hidden breaks – talking to co-workers, taking coffee breaks, trips to the vending machines. No one works eight hours straight. So at home, I take lots of short breaks, and I still get my work done.

Four Tips to Finding an Affordable Office

If you side with me over Michael and decide to rent an office, take these tips…

1. Search for subleases. Like families trying to rent out their basements, many small businesses have an extra office they can sublease to help their bottom line. Likewise, sharing space reduces everyone’s expenses.

2. Look into executive suites. This is a type of office arrangement where workers rent a desk or a room to themselves, but have shared use of common resources such as conference rooms, office equipment, and even receptionists.

3. Consider virtual offices. This is a popular service that allows workers to rent space for part of the week. This is ideal for mobile people who can work with just their laptop and briefcase when they need to.

4. Scour Craigslist. Normally, businesses that are looking for office space will use the services of a commercial real estate broker. Unfortunately, a broker won’t be very interested in taking on a client who’s only seeking office space for one. Therefore, you’ll need to find the listings yourself. One of the best places to do this is on Craigslist. To find individual offices, search with the terms shared space, sublease, and office suites.

In the end, I was fortunate to find a sublease arrangement where I occupy a private office next to an insurance broker. Although I have to make a short commute, this arrangement is easily justified by my comfortable work environment and my increased productivity – whatever Michael might think.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It
15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It

Discover some must-have products on Amazon that you didn’t even know you were missing.

7 Social Security Blunders That Can Ruin Your Retirement
7 Social Security Blunders That Can Ruin Your Retirement

Making even one of these mistakes can easily cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

10 Common Expenses That Have Skyrocketed for Seniors
10 Common Expenses That Have Skyrocketed for Seniors

Retirees must stretch their dollars further and further these days — no thanks to these costs.

5 Ways Anyone Can Save on Out-of-Pocket Health Care Costs
5 Ways Anyone Can Save on Out-of-Pocket Health Care Costs

Here’s how to lower your health care costs without skimping on care.

7 Ways to Shop at Costco Without a Membership
7 Ways to Shop at Costco Without a Membership

You don’t necessarily need to join to get in on the warehouse store’s savings.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare
14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare

These services could save you money and help prevent costly health problems.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

10 Things You Should Never Do With Bleach
10 Things You Should Never Do With Bleach

Does the pandemic have you reaching for bleach more than ever before? Learn the ins and outs of using this powerful disinfectant.

15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.