Opinion: This Entrepreneur Works and Goes To Sleep In The Office
Would you ever sleep in the office? Working the 12-hour day 6 days a week lifestyle, I really did not have the time or energy to find a condo. After working a long day, the last thing I wanted to have to worry about was making viewing appointments, going to Ikea, and cleaning the condo. I decided to live in my small private office for two weeks and then see if I had gone insane.
I got the idea of sleeping in the office from technology startups, Jeff Bezos, and an article I read that said that a surprising number of Members of Congress in the United States sleep in their office. This included Paul Ryan, former speaker of the United States House of Representatives who openly spoke about the benefits of sleeping in your office.
These people sleep in the office for many of the same reasons that I did. These people didn’t want to have to worry about a house back home plus a new rental. They also wanted to send a strong message to the people that voted for them. They wanted to show they were not in Washington DC living the fancy corrupt political lifestyle. The message was particularly popular amongst conservative men, that wanted to show they are all about small government and not wasting money.
I enjoy being able to say I’m in the office 24/7 working for our law firm’s clients… Even if I am sleeping seven hours a day in that office…
Not Living the Fancy CEO Lifestyle… Yet…
As the CEO of a technology-based law firm, I wanted to show my investors that I was not living the fancy CEO lifestyle. That I am willing to do whatever it takes to make our company successful. It sends a powerful message when asking people for money. I am always excited to go to bed, so I can wake up and take on the next day’s list of things to do. Every day is hard, but every morning is exciting.
Who wants to commit to a 12-month lease on a condo? I was not sure which area of town I wanted to live in or if I would move to another city to open another law office. I had started by doing two week stays at various Airbnb’s. Moving all my things every two weeks was completely exhausting and I didn’t want to do it anymore.
The commerical lease allowed 24/7 access to the office space, so there was nothing to worry about.
The first thing I had to do was get a mattress, bed sheets, and a pillow. On a weekend when no one was at the office, I went to Ikea to make these small purchases. Yes, I still had to go to Ikea, but I didn’t have to worry about furnishing an entire condo. I moved everything into the law office.
Sleep In The Office
I chose the twin size bed as it was just enough for me to fit on but would still fit up against the wall of my office behind the door. Clearly there was not enough space in the office, nor would it look good, to have the bed on the ground during the day. The twin bed was fine if I learnt not to roll over on my side. I almost fell off the bed a few times the first couple nights. I eventually learned not to roll over anymore…
The legal assistant would come into the office at 8:30am every day, which meant I had to get up at 730am to put away the bed, sheets, pillow, get dressed, shave, eat and not look sleepy for when she arrived. I bought a storage box for the pillows and sheets. By the time the legal assistant came in, my office was back to normal.
Who Calls At 4am?!
It worked great for the most part. The office was very quiet except for the occasional phone call at 4am (who calls their lawyer at 4am??) The office was extremely dark and I enjoyed being able to take my bed off the wall and go to sleep. No 45-minute bus ride back to the condo. No 45-minute bus ride back to the office in the morning. When you are growing a company, 1.5 hours a day in commuting is a lot of time you could spend on something else.
Saving $2500/month on residential rent is also great. I would rather spend that money on Google advertisements than have it as a sunk cost. $2500 on advertisements can bring in 25 leads per month in Toronto. If we get 15% of those clients, thats 7.2 extra clients per year. The average person spends around $10,000 on their divorce, so that’s $72,000 in extra revenue per year.
Showering In The Office
Showering was easy as I have a membership at social clubs that have gyms, showers, and steam rooms. Laundry was done at a coin operated store. For food, I mostly bought these pre made, frozen “healthy eating” meals. I really enjoyed this because it forced me to limit my portions. I noticed that I could start to see my abs forming. Beyond that it was salad, chicken, nuts, and fruits. We had a fridge and a freezer in the law firm.
I was always concerned that someone would walk into the office early in the morning (before 730am) or late at night. At night I would never fully relax (no walking around in my PJ’s.) This led me to continue working until around midnight sometimes. I became super productive and was getting super fit. Waking up every morning stressed that I had slept in wasn’t ideal but it certainly got me out of bed quickly. I enjoyed the expresso maker first thing in the morning, but was concerned I was becoming a caffeine addict.
The Game Is Up
On one night, a senior lawyer that had just come back from India came into the office at 930pm on a weekend. I was making some protein waffles (yes, I know it’s weird at night) and doing some printing. It was the first time I had met him, and he asked if I lived in the office. I wouldn’t lie, so I said sometimes I do. He was annoyed and I was told I couldn’t sleep there anymore. Perhaps I could have fought it but the last thing I’m interested in at the end of a long day is engaging in office drama. I write this article from the king size bed in my comfortable AirBnb.
I’m glad I didn’t commit to a 12-month lease, as ClearWay Law is now opening a law firm in Duncan BC, on the otherside of Canada from Toronto, Ontario.
Would you give up comfort and sleep in the office to be successful?
Alistair Vigier is the CEO of ClearWay Law and spent seven years in the army.