We recently posted an article entitled “Your place or mine? Where do you sell health insurance?”. In it, we discussed the pros and cons of meeting clients at their homes or places of business versus having them meet you in your office. The article made the assumption that all agents have an office that they go to, but that’s definitely not the case. Some very successful agents have made the decision to work from home, foregoing an outside office and the benefits that come with it. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the benefits of working out of your house.
Obviously, agents who work from home do not have to pay rent and the other overhead expenses that come with an outside office. This can save them a lot of money and even allow them to take a tax deduction for the home office.
Of course, even without an office, it’s important to have the various office tools that can make agents more efficient, like a quality printer and copier, speedy internet, filing cabinets, and a good phone system. In other words, some of that overhead will be necessary whether you have an outside office or choose to work from home.
We say “less” instead of “no” travel time because, while not having an office does eliminate the morning and afternoon rush-hour commute, you’ll likely spend more time traveling to clients since you’re unlikely to have them come to your house. For a lot of people, being able to start and end their day at the house rather than sitting on a busy freeway is reason enough to work from home. Avoiding the traffic can help reduce stress.
Another benefit of avoiding that morning commute is that brokers can get a quicker start to the day. You can wake up and start working. In fact, some agents find that they can accomplish more early in the morning before the work day officially begins than they would in eight hours at the office. Being able to work uninterrupted, without having to answer phone calls or incoming emails, can improve productivity. Additionally, some people find that they are more creative early in the morning. This is when they do their best planning or best writing. Why waste that creative, productive time sitting in a car?
For some agents, this is the best reason to work from home. By eliminating the commute and working from the house, they have more time in the morning and afternoon to spend with the family. Ultimately, this is what you’re working for, so if you can arrange your schedule so that you can be around the people who mean the most to you, why not do that?
At the same time, some people fear that if they work from home, the temptation of playing with the kids, raiding the fridge, or turning on the TV will be too much to resist and they won’t be productive. This is a fair point; working from home isn’t for everyone, and those who are not disciplined enough to work when they need to work may find that an office environment works better for them. Others, however, are able to overcome the temptations and end up being very productive when working from home.
As a general rule, we should work during work time and stop working when the work day is over. However, it’s 2019 and that’s not really the way most people work nowadays. We all have smart phones and have the ability to check email at any hour of the day, so most of us do. For a lot of people, agents included, the work day doesn’t end when we clock out at five o’clock. Similarly, most of us have some downtime during the day, or at least a time of the day when we don’t feel much like working. If we’re stuck at the office, we might find ourselves checking Facebook or Twitter or engaging in some other unproductive task. Put another way, going to an office doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re productive during the workday and done working when the day is over.
If you work from home, then you can at least use your “down time” during the work day for other tasks, like running errands or throwing in a load of clothes. That’s a nice alternative to social media when you need a short break from work.
The fact is that it’s possible to do a little of both—to go to the office two or three days a week and work from home the rest of the time. Going to the office will give you an opportunity to strategize with co-workers, meet with clients, and submit business if that’s where most of your productivity tools are. Working from home will give you a chance to be creative and do your business planning, return phone calls, and work on other tasks without interruption. Most importantly, changing up the routine can help you avoid getting stuck in a rut and make you look forward to work. And work should be something we look forward to, not something we dread. If you don’t currently look forward to getting up and going to work, maybe you need a change of scenery.