Do I need to have an actual office space outside of the home to be taken seriously, or can working from home be viewed as a “real” office for my business?
Does your business require an actual office space to perform the day-to-day tasks? It obviously depends on what kind of service you are providing, and if you have the needed revenue to sustain this endeavor. Here are a few of my tips on the “how” and “why/why not” of office space outside of the home.
First, let’s look at some of the issues why you may need an office space outside of the home, but do let me point out that you shouldn’t make this move just to look like a bigger business than you really are. From a financial standpoint don’t start blowing out your budgets just to have this appearance of a much larger look.
There are plenty of boutique type of agencies and businesses that are doing just fine working out of their homes or in more creative spaces, which I share more about that in a moment. Let’s break this down into two separate categories of working outside of the home, and working within the home.
An Office Space Outside of the Home:
Let’s first evaluate how much interaction you’re either having or anticipate needing to have when it comes to the face-to-face with your clients. Are you meeting a lot of your clients in your home setting, and if so, is this becoming problematic?
Secondly, do you have the financial resources to sustain the overhead of having an office outside of the home? You could also ask yourself however is that do you also anticipate generating more revenue by having a physical presence outside of your home?
- A “stand alone” solution:
- This type of space would likely involve a more formal lease, it may also not have all of the amenities, or those amenities such as a kitchen or conference room space might be additional, which overall may likely be a more expensive option along with a bigger commitment to occupy that space for longer.
- A coworking space:
- This office setup can include an open desk format, cubicles, tables, and intermixed with other professionals. Co-working spaces typically offer additional amenities such as free beverages, conference room space, networking opportunities, and day-to-day or month-to-month rental options at a reasonable price. You may also find a private office within the space, although likely at a bump in rent.
- A service like Pivot Desk, or another professional looking to share space:
- It’s likely that another company may have some open offices available for lease, and Pivot Desk can connect you with these businesses. These can also be open desks, cubicles, or actual offices. You may also be able to connect another professional willing to share space with you, and the obvious win-win to share the costs.
- Virtual office:
- This can either just include a mailing address with no office amenities, or a space where your mail can be forwarded with a front desk receptionist and most likely a-la-carte drop in offices. Or, if you just need the mailing address and no offices since you’ll continue working from home, you can find that as well.
Is It Still Viable To Work From Home
Now, during this podcast I didn’t go into the full pros and cons of working from home. The following is just meant to be highlights.
- The commute is awesome:
- Whether commuting downstairs, upstairs, across the hallway, or somewhere else close by, it’s likely that the only traffic pile ups involve maneuvering around GI Joes, dolls, or dog toys. When you’re ready to finally get to work, it may only take mere seconds to get to the office.
- Collaborative tools:
- Financial savings:
- Working from home can save your small business a nice chunk of change to roll back into your business for other needs. Remaining fiscally nimble is a huge plus, and actually being able to streamline costs to a point where you can build up a cushion can carry you through some of the trickier financial times you may endure. If you’re already paying rent or a mortgage, and have that extra space for an office in your home, then why pay out additional funds for a space that may or may not actually be necessary?
- Time savings:
- We may be in a position to buy a lot of things in our business or personal lives, but time is just a commodity that is hard to come by. In some cases cutting down on a daily commute to an office may net you an extra 5-8 hours of productivity a week. That in itself is enough of a reason, don’t you think?
- Increased productivity and quality of life:
- If you or your employees have some flexibility with schedules and are disciplined enough to get things done when needed, then the possibilities are endless. Rise early and crank out some work, then take a break in the afternoon for a bike ride or a run. Head over to your kid’s school in the middle of the day for a class party or event, and then get back in time to the home office for that group Skype call with your team. Either way, this set up could allow you to have the schedule you need to thrive personally and professionally.
- Your team is where you need them most:
- This is a huge bonus in my company where we provide concierge medical services. Our teams can be dispersed throughout both major metro and rural areas depending on where they live. We can then assign caseloads where these teams are in close proximity to our clients.
Working from home isn’t for everyone and it can be very isolating at times if you don’t have a business or a telecommuting career that involves face-to-face interaction. If this is the case, figure out ways to build that in. Can your home office accommodate a colleague, another entrepreneur, or some other like minded professional to share space with? Maybe a hybrid setup like working from home a couple of days a week and then taking advantage of a co-working space would be best.
Let us know your thoughts and experiences about working in an office outside of the home, or running your business from your home.
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