Working from home seems to be the ideal of many and with improved technology and internet access, an increasing number of businesses see it as a viable option for their staff. Benefits to employees are immense but there are also advantages to the employer with great savings being made to overheads such as renting office space or moving to accommodate growth.
Now if your whole business is run from home you may begin to see the advantages of moving into a smart office space. Of course a home office is a bona fide workplace and if it works for you, why would you want to move out? For a start-up the move represents growth and success having attained a certain level of professionalism. Though there are issues you have to overcome when working from home such as:
There is no doubt about it, continual interruptions from children or partners can and will disrupt the flow! Creating a home office and getting family to acknowledge and respect boundaries can be difficult. If you find that family life is beginning to intrude on your business life then perhaps it is time to look at alternatives. Missing deadlines or getting calls interrupted will certainly hamper the success and growth of your business. Then again, some find working from home fits in well with family responsibilities and improves their work-life balance.
We are all different. Some of us need to have a set routine of leaving the house, smartly dressed for work every day and enjoy the motivation of the workplace. Working productively from home relies heavily on self-discipline. You need to be able to get up and be at your desk at a reasonable time in the morning rather than drift into a cycle of getting up late and being distracted by day time TV! If productivity levels are dropping and you lack the will power to avoid distractions then perhaps moving into an office is the best option for you and your business.
The natural success and growth of your business may mean that moving out of your home office is simply the most obvious thing to do and for the first time, you may be in the position to do so. Growth is a great thing but along with it comes the need for more storage space, perhaps additional equipment and employees to cope with the volume of work as well as the need to add the professional edge to your operation. If all of this means that you have outgrown your current home office space, the only option may be to move into a purpose built office space.
Before you take the plunge, you should consider the following challenges that you will face when you move out:
OK your rent may be an obvious one but have you thought about the other additional costs? Insurance, utility bills, office fit-out, IT support and cleaning are some of the expenditures that will need to be reviewed. Be aware you will be tied into leases and utility contracts for a certain period of time so consider this a long term commit.
Loss of flexibility
Depending on your type of business you will be less flexible when you move out of the home office. Not only will commuting take up a certain amount of your day but you will need to keep your office open during business hours just in case suppliers or clients turn up unexpectedly. You wouldn’t want to give the impression you were not open for business however you could use a telephone answer service to take calls in your absence.
If you need a proper office space then chances are you are busy enough to start employing staff. Bear in mind when you start employing you will need to do more than just pay them! Think of benefits, appraisals, training and development as well as providing the new workplace pensions which will soon be compulsory. Are you ready for this?
Unless you manage to locate an office space close to home, you will have to start commuting again! So not only will it take up some of your working day you will also incur travel costs such as tickets, fuel, parking not to mention wear and tear on your car if you are not using public transport.
There are other ways to gain a more appropriate space, progress your business and protect your bottom line without the commitment or risk:
Use business centres
Think about hiring office space and services. There are many business centres that can not only offer you services such as handling calls and mail but will give you a virtual office address in a location you might not be able to afford. You can also have use of offices with all the amenities from video conferencing to meeting rooms. This option offers the best of both worlds as you can keep your overheads low by continuing to work from home whilst having the option to meet clients in a bespoke space rather than a hotel or coffee shop!
Extend your house
This is a major decision to make but it will add value to your property and give you the bespoke office space you need. You can create the perfect layout that caters for staff and clients including storage and meeting space.
Create more space
Instead of moving out or extending your home, why not redesign your existing space? You will be surprised how much extra space you will find with a revised layout. If necessary, employ the help of an expert to help with the redesign and layout.
Do you really need permanent employees and can you afford them? Why not consider outsourcing instead? Whether you need regular help, a specific skillset or occasional support with ad hoc duties to relieve the pressure during a busy period, you could work with freelancers or hire virtual assistants that charge on an hourly basis.