I’m currently sitting on the couch in my basement. I can hear the laundry going just outside my door, and upstairs (though it sounds like right by my ear), the baby is crying.
She’s not neglected (her dad is up there with her), she’s just struggling with crawling.
And I’m getting frustrated.
Cue the music for “parent of the year” — what song is that, anyway?
When we bought the house we currently live in, we knew we were giving up the perfect work-from-home office in exchange for a great neighborhood, single-story living, excellent schools, and yoga within walking distance. So, worthwhile trade offs. But trade offs all the same.
Why I Decided to Rent a Physical Office
Our new-to-us (but not at all new, it’s nearly as old as the city of Portland!) house has two bedrooms on the main floor, and a third teeny tiny room that we’re using as a nursery. There’s a cool room in the basement that we’re using as a movie room, plus there’s a bathroom with a great tub there.
My first reaction was to use the second bedroom upstairs. The same one we planned on using as a guest room (and our guest room gets used — which we want!). “It’ll be fine! We only have guests a few days a month!”
So we put the desk in the second bedroom.
It worked well at first. But I couldn’t handle being so close to all the non-work action going on. I got really frustrated.
Then, our friends came over and called us out for not putting together the downstairs movie room.
“Why don’t you use this as your office?” They asked.
That weekend, we went to IKEA and bought a standing desk and a rug. Brent put everything together, and I was on my way.
Only. It wasn’t far enough away. Or, rather, this old house doesn’t have enough soundproofing between the floors (if any at all). I could hear everything that went on… sometimes more dramatically than they occurred. My eight-month-old is not very graceful, and when she loses her balance while she’s sitting, she often falls right on her forehead. From the basement, it sounds like she was sitting on the ceiling then took a nose dive right to the floor. Complete with “it’s bleeding” level screams.
Turns Out, I’m Not the Only One Who Wants to Rent a Physical Office
My friend and neighbor J.D. Roth texted me the other day. “Would you be willing to split office space in Sellwood?” he asked, as the baby was losing her mind. I couldn’t reply fast enough!
So we started searching. There’s a fancy office space rental right by J.D.’s condo, but it was too expensive for what we wanted. He started thinking outside the box. Could we rent an apartment for cheaper than an office? Answer: maybe in other cities, but not in Portland, where the rental market is bonkers.
We both wanted to stay in the neighborhood. Partly because we’re lazy, and partly because we want to stay close to home so we can go home for lunch or spend time in the neighborhood we both call home. But mostly because we’re lazy and wanted something within walking distance.
We looked at two places, and one was a much more natural fit for us than the other. So, we’re signing a lease, and I’m moving my business 3/4 of a mile from my house!
I’m Excited (But Also a Little Sad)
Moving to a separate office, even one that’s only a short walk from home, is a big move. I am excited for quiet (or to complain about some other kind of noise). I’m excited to be able to leave work at work, and be completely off when I’m home. Who knows, I might even leave my computer at work (once I get a key).
But I won’t see the baby much during the day. And that’s sad. It’s normal, I know, but it’s sad. It’ll inspire me to work more when I’m at work, and be 100% focused on my family when I’m at home. I’m planning on walking home for lunch, and going to noon yoga. Although the office is in the opposite direction of my house than the yoga studio. So maybe I’ll dust off my bike.
When is it Time to Rent a Physical Office?
I can’t answer that for you. In fact, I’m not even sure I can answer that for myself. I do know that the risk is low. They’re offering the two of us a $500 lease, and only making us commit for three months. So I’ll check back in when three months is up.
I have high hopes, though.