As the writer of this blog, I primarily work from home and only go into the office a few times a week. Today was a great weather day (well until it got cloudy) and I took my laptop outside and did some work in front of my apartment building. While I was out there, one of my neighbors (who also works from home) came out to get some fresh air and take a break from his work.

My neighbor Blake is a hair stylist who works on films, creates wigs for movies and live theatre as well as takes on cutting hair for private clients in his apartment (yes, he has a professional hair studio set up in his apartment).  Today Blake was stressed out, but by work.  His stress came from a friend who could not understand that because he was home, that he was still working and could not just leave his apartment and go to hang out. This is a common problem that many work at home entrepreneurs and small business owners face.

I told Blake that I actually wrote a blog a few years ago called “Challenges of Working from Home Rather Than at an Office Space Toronto,” he pulled up the blog post on his cell phone and kept nodding his head about the advice and said he wanted to share it with his friends. His friends and family have a hard time understanding that him working from home was not an excuse for them to call about social things or to stop by unannounced.

While not a problem that Blake faces, some home based entrepreneurs have a problem with being seen as unprofessional because their business address is their home address. In order to overcome the look of working from home (while still working from home), many small business owners sign up for virtual office solutions that give them a professional business address and/or an address and a live receptionist to answer their calls and transfers them as directed.

The perception of working from a downtown business centre works well for keeping up professional appearances for clients and prospects for virtual office clients, it can also help to make family and friends believe that you have an office somewhere. If people believe that you are at the office, they are less likely to believe that you are available to socialize.

Making people believe that you are located at the office space you list as your business address can have some drawbacks, clients and customers can sometimes think they can show up unannounced. The front desk receptionist can usually inform the unannounced visitor that you are out of the office, but it becomes more difficult when it comes to out of town family or friends that just stop by.

It was amusing, but one day when one of Telsec’s virtual office clients college friends stopped in to surprise her. They had found her business address on her website and decided to come by her office to take her to lunch. The quick thinking receptionist did not want to turn them away, so she called the client to inform her who was there to visit. The client told the receptionist to tell the visitor that she would be back in the office in an hour. While she was driving into the office, she called the office to speak to Victoria (who handles day office rentals) and arranged to rent a day office. Recognizing the client’s need to impress the college friend, found a vacant lake-view office to rent out and gave the client the premium office at the half-day office rate.