How to know when a small business has outgrown its workspace
Office space can be a major drain on your budget when starting up a business, so in the initial stages, working from home means that entrepreneurs spend very little money on workspace, technology and supplies – saving thousands of pounds a month. A home set-up allows fledgling businesses freedom and flexibility, while putting any money back into the business as you establish a market.
However, working from the kitchen table or in coffee shops can soon impede on productivity and as your business changes you may find it has outgrown its workspace. If your small business is developing then you will need to move on from your initial workspace. Affordable office space is vital for innovation and growth in the early stages of business.
There are many disadvantages to working from home which can initiate that need to move:
- You will need more space for more staff as you take on more work
- Distraction and difficulty separating work home from work
- It’s more difficult to communicate with clients and co-workers if you don’t have a professional office space to meet up – meaning more time spent emailing and on the telephone
- The need for high self-discipline
- Isolation can be demoralising leading to lack of motivation
- A home environment can discourage clients
- Work doesn’t end – merging with home-life
If you can’t yet afford your own company premises after financial planning, an interim solution is a co-working office. These open workspaces allow for small businesses to share resources and office space in a collaborative environment.
There are a number reasons why most small businesses start working in co-working office spaces:
- Peer-to-peer networking with other businesses
- The social aspect for happier, more productive staff
- Affordability – you just pay for the space that you use
- Perks – like a gym, coffee shop and outside space
However, much like working from home, co-working space has limitations which can impact your business negatively. It is important to make the move from a co-working office to a private premises before the disadvantages below begin to hit your business.
The concept of co-working offices mean that you are working alongside other businesses, so your staff won’t be able to have private conversations. This is particularly tricky if they need to discuss a private business matter with a client. In a private premises you will be able to create dedicated quiet areas where staff can make important phone calls or relax.
You can’t personalise a co-working space
With your own office you can focus on creating a comfortable space to fit the needs of your staff. It is well-known that staff happiness increases productivity and engagement, and you can personalise the office to encourage this. Adding a staff break area with pool table or games console, and making sure there are areas for confidential business meetings.
Lax security, hidden costs and lack of control
By moving to your own premises you will gain control. You have to rely on the co-working management company for security, when you have your own premises you have the peace-of-mind that the security is tight. Also watch out for hidden costs in the co-working office contract and who has access to your business data.
The crowning achievement for any small business is to move into your own business premises, so share news of your progression to show clients how well the business is doing and increase their trust. You can hold an office warming party and send out your new address in creative ways. Relish the moment – you deserve it!
When did you know your business had outgrown its workspace? Let us know your advice for small companies in the comments below or on Twitter.