I co-founded WooThemes over five years ago from my apartment. It took me quite few months before I dared to quit my daily job as a developer at a local software firm. I had been working there for seven years, going to the office every day from 8 to 4.
Suddenly I was waking up each morning, throwing on some clothes, walking out of the bedroom and into my living room; My office.
There was no more scraping ice off my car windscreen, no more morning rush hour, no more boss to answer to.
It was just me and my coffee, sat in front of a computer, chatting to my two co-founders on the opposite side of the world… from my living room. Life was great. I’ve since moved out of my apartment and into a house, but I still work from home every day.
Earlier this year I asked my girlfriend if she wanted to spend the our winter in Cape Town, allowing me to be closer to those I work with every day (WooThemes has an office in Cape Town). It was a no-brainer.
We’ve escaped from the frost and snow, and replaced it with sun and heat, and I’ve been able to go into an office whenever I want and work with the awesome WooTeam. Going into the office has taken some getting used to, as it is surprisingly noisy. No wonder everybody wears headphones most of the time.
I do enjoy the office, as I get to be social again. And I don’t mean the HipChat/Skype/IRC social. I mean face-to-face social. It’s hard to replace that, which is why we are focussing more on having our team meet face-to-face more frequently (over 2/3’s of our staff work remotely).
I haven’t gone in to the office every day though. Usually I’ll go in on Mondays and Tuesdays, and maybe one more day in the week. I go to the office mainly to meet with the team, but if I just want to get work done, I do it from our apartment.
If you ask someone where they go when they need to get some work done, they usually say they go to the designated “quiet-room” in the office, or go in very early in the morning before everybody gets there.
The fact that we managed to grow WooThemes from three guys to over 30 employees is testament enough that an office isn’t a necessity in this day and age.