At some point, you may decide you’ve outgrown your home office and embark on the adventure of finding office space. But, what do you need? That’s the question we’ll answer in today’s post.
When you first started out as an entrepreneur, maybe you decided to set up an office in your home to save money. Maybe you bought a desk and set it up in a corner of your bedroom or used the kitchen table to get work done. And, maybe working from home worked well in the beginning. Working from home was a great option when you didn’t have much money. You could schedule meetings with virtual employees via technology, use Slack or other collaboration software to ensure you met deadlines, and see clients at a tolerant local coffee shop that didn’t mind you taking up one of their tables. Running a small retail operation from home is a little more challenging, although using drop shipping or 3rd party providers like UPS eliminates the need to store inventory in your garage.
At some point your growth allowed you to consider finding office space as an alternative to working from home.
Knowing when finding office space is the right move
Finding office space is right when the benefits outweigh the costs associated, such as rent, utilities, buildout, and maintenance. So, let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of finding office space.
When you have your own office space, you make a better impression on clients and partners. Having a separate space implies success and trustworthiness. You may find it easier to hire employees who may not choose to work from home. Plus, moving out of your home may bring greater focus to your businesses without the distractions from dirty laundry or noises from neighbors.
Having an office also makes collaboration easier and builds camaraderie. Working together benefits not only the organization but individuals, according to Harvard Business Review. Thus, you may find your employees are more creative and work together more seamlessly in a shared space than when working remotely.
In addition to the cost of working in an office, recent data from the pandemic shows workers are more productive at home than they were in an office, although there’s wide disagreement in terms of the actual percentage increase in productivity. Workers like working from home as it eliminates commute time, reduces their costs (no expensive lunches or dry-cleaning bills), and allows them more flexibility (for instance, they can squeeze in a load of laundry or a doctor’s appointment between meetings).
Finding office space
After making calculations based on the pros and cons, you decided it’s finally time to upgrade to office space of your own. Before you make the big move there is obviously a lot to consider, especially when it comes to finding, budgeting, and maintaining your new space. Taking the leap and investing in your very own office space is a huge milestone in your entrepreneurial journey, so here are some things you must consider when finding office space.
Envisioning your office space
In finding office space, you must consider your current and future needs. For instance, obtaining space in a co-working location offers many advantages in addition to the low cost of these arrangements. Some co-working spaces offer seminars to help your business grow while others offer shared equipment or receptionists to reduce your costs. To attract businesses, some co-working spaces offer meals, snacks, and drinks that both reduce costs and help you attract and retain employees.
In other cases, you might want a spacious, modern office space with plenty of open areas for group collaborations to allow room for growth.
Finding office space involves a myriad of decisions from an expensive, well-appointed building with 24-hour security to a less glamorous warehouse-type space. Only you can make the decisions about your needs. An expensive space makes it appear you’re successful, which is really important for attracting clients if you offer professional services while a less well-appointed space shows you put your money into the business and offer lower fees.
When you acquire office space, you’re basically faced with a blank canvas regardless of the building’s amenities. You incur the cost of building out the space with flooring, decoration, and furniture, so include those costs in your decision before finding office space.
Finding the right location
Location is everything when it comes to moving from working from home to working in an office. You need to consider a whole range of things, from your commute time to your parking situation. Consider traffic patterns and nearness to your target market and collaborators. For instance, lawyers commonly find office space near the courthouse since they move from the courthouse to their office frequently and in business centers to be close to their clients.
Just as the building you choose for your business impacts your brand image, so does location. Atmospherics such as lighting, spacial distances, and parking not only impact retail customers, they impact your clients and employees as well. Consider these factors when choosing the right space for your business.
Maintaining Your Space
Once you invested in an office space for your business, you need to think of a long-term plan to maintain a clean, organized, and orderly space. You probably need to hire a cleaning crew to come in every night to do a deep clean on the space but you might also need people during the day to take out the trash and spruce up the space if you expect a lot of traffic.
As well as keeping the space clean, you also need to pay for the lighting, gas, water, and electrical costs that go hand in hand with your space. You also need insurance. This can all add up quite quickly so you need to be really on top of your finances before making the big decision to find an office space.
Read your rental agreement to determine which maintenance costs are your responsibility and which are paid by the landlord. For instance, who pays for ongoing landscaping costs like mowing and who pays when there’s structural damage, such as a broken water pipe. These major repairs can throw a monkey wrench in your budget if you haven’t planned for them. Similarly, you need to set aside money for routine maintenance such as repainting that you require occasionally.
Hopefully, these ideas provide some guidance as to whether you’re ready to make the big move to your own office space. From tracking your growth, to making a long term plan for your new office, there are a number of different considerations to make. All in all, you need to trust your own judgement and know that your final decision will be the right one for you and your company.
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