I have worked from home for several years, but travel into London regularly - to see clients and to stay sane!
Are there many other founders working from home and how do you find it? And if you were looking to start a new business with new co-founders, would you look to work remotely again, or would you want to switch to having an office (even if just a co-working space) and ensure everyone was able to meet up?
cheers for the thoughts Richard. I actually disagree with the "commuting wastes time" though. As an entrepreneur that works from the moment my eyes open til my head crashes back on the pillow, I find the enforced commuting when I do go into London is a perfect time to sit back and "think". Freeing the mind of the day to day slog and having some free thoughts about big picture, etc is something I need more of. Maybe I am at stage where I need to get back to an office for my next project! ;-)
I think it is important for a founder to get out of home to follow what's going on in the market, make networking, meet customers, investors, other founders. I like the flexibility of home working but I also feel like I need to talk to people or sometimes just be around them. As said in previous comments, it has a lot of things to do with personal tastes. My choice is to balance the both.
Personal preference counts for a lot.
I'm a technical person and tend to work from home because I'm more productive. I have awesome hardware and software, there are fewer distractions, and I have more ways to approach a difficult problem. Commuting wastes time and money. Tools like Slack provide a better way to record "conversations" for posterity.
That said, there are times when face-to-face is important. Anything that has to be hashed out over a whiteboard, or anything with the client present. It's also important to get some face time (video doesn't count) with people to remind each other that we're real, competent people working toward a goal.
For a startup, this could translate as working remotely with a small, centralized office that can be used for small meetings. (With the right zoning and licensing, this could even be a spare bedroom in someone's house.) Larger meetings could take place in a rented space every 2 weeks or so; often libraries, hotels, universities, schools, restaurants, etc. have spaces that they are willing to rent out for cheap. (An advantage of renting larger spaces is that you can vary the location to avoid favoring various clusters of employees.)
Generally, I'm not fond of a requirement to be on-site unless there is a clear reason. Too often, the requirement for on-site is due to lack of trust, a culture of interruption on a whim, or the boss needs other people around to feel comfortable.
Personally, I find that my answer changes depending on what aspect of the business I'm working on. For the most part I work form home; but, home for me is a house shared with roommates and that doesn't always provide the best environment for being productive. Also, since I don't have a dedicated office space, my bed also tends to function as my desk.
In response to your commuting waste time comment, I guess it depends whether you're the driver or passenger. I know I've been majorly productive when working on trains/other public transport. I even came up with the most of my business plan in an impromptu "meeting" with a friend, while we rode in the backseat of car. But I'm never as productive if I'm behind the wheel dealing with the stresses of Dallas traffic.
Agree Ugur - a mix of both. Sometimes it is great to just lockdown at home with no distractions. But other times you need that interaction with other humans (not just the dog) to swap ideas and chew the fat.