Aspiring business owners believe having an office space is necessary for doing business. On the one hand, this is correct since we meet the clients in the office, and the office is the place where employees communicate. However, not every business requires an office. This article will discuss whether a business office is necessary and whether you should invest in one.
The office is far from the most important thing for an entrepreneur. Moreover, many of them claim that you can do without an office at all. But why is it that for most entrepreneurs, the issue of renting an office remains one of the first when organizing the company’s activities? Is it only because of the inability to count or because of a misunderstanding of the essence of the business?
It is clear that today a lot can be done directly from home, and most tasks can be solved remotely with the help of modern technologies of interaction via the Internet. But do entrepreneurs not want to have their own workplace, where it would be possible to gather employees and like-minded people, brainstorm sessions, celebrate successes, meet with clients, or indulge in business reflection?
Of course, it is worth remembering that office maintenance, despite all its undeniable advantages, is a significant cost item for most companies.
So, first of all, let’s answer the question, why do we need an office? Here are some of its features:
- Place, method, and means of communication. As a result, the integration of personnel, because it is the office for most employees that are associated with the organization.
- Workplaces for managers and employees.
- The method of monitoring the work of personnel.
- Representative functions.
- Place of official registration of the company: legal address.
At the same time, the office has several disadvantages:
- High fixed costs, especially in the most prestigious locations.
- In large cities, there is a massive loss of time. For example, it can take two hours in New York to reach a location far from the city center.
- Demotivation of qualified and creative staff: the office creates a sense of routine, boredom, and coercion.
Considerations for Optimizing Your Business
Should You Invest In Office Space For Your Business?
- Considerations for Optimizing Your Business
- Alternative Options Where You Can Rent an Office
- Final Thoughts
What should be done? Does everyone always need an office? There is no single right solution here. However, there are several considerations that you can try yourself and possibly optimize your business.
Place, Method, and Means of Communication, Staff Integration
This is the most important function of the office, and personal meetings cannot be avoided. However, it is realistic to significantly reduce their number. Technical means such as telephones, ICQ, Skype (audio-video communication via the Internet), a secure corporate network (VPN), and a VoIP system can help the entire team to be in contact regardless of physical location. Recently, it has become especially convenient to use all these tools (there is Internet almost everywhere, for example, via WiFi), and every day it becomes easier.
And one more important aspect. For the company, the incoming phone number that it indicates in the advertisement and to which customers and partners call is very important. And often, for many, even large organizations, a physical move means a change of numbers, equivalent to the loss of significant investments. There has been a solution to this problem for several years, especially relevant when some of the main office employees are working.
Now many companies provide a “virtual phone number”, and then you ask which phone numbers (including mobile ones) to switch calls to. If the first one is busy or does not answer at the specified time, the system transfers to the second one, and so on, it is possible to iterate through the numbers in a circle. By the way, the number turns out to be multi-channel. Naturally, you can set up a voice greeting, a waiting melody, etc., and instantly reconfigure all this via the Internet. You can transfer calls between employee numbers. You can receive faxes. There is a system of detailed statistics on all calls, etc.
Workplaces for Managers and Employees
Firstly, many small companies and structures can work without an office. Secondly, even in a large company, it is possible to distinguish categories of personnel who may not appear in the office for at least part of the working time. For example, programmers, designers, agents, consultants, and trainers can work remotely without losing productivity.
You can also introduce the opportunity to (partially) work outside the office as a reward for certain results of an employee’s work. For many, it is very important, and you, in turn, will receive savings at your workplace.
It has to be noted that many of the ideas outlined in this article apply not only to employees working outside the office but also to managers of small companies who want to remotely control their office.
However, there are several important points to consider here:
- The functionality should allow such a mode of operation.
- A person must be sufficiently experienced and loyal to the company.
- An employee should not belong to the category of “eternal lazy people” who need to be constantly “kicked”.
- Establishing effective communication and a control system is necessary, which we will discuss below.
- If necessary, the employee must be provided with the necessary technical means.
The method of Monitoring the Work of Personnel
It is quite realistic to establish an effective remote control system. First, create a motivation system that targets the employee for results. Secondly, create a regular reporting system from which you understand how an employee works. Thirdly, use all the means of communication described above.
That is the place where you meet your customers and partners. Everything depends on the company’s activities, and these considerations are not applicable everywhere. However, in our experience, meetings on clients’ premises, restaurants, and cafes are more efficient. Moreover, the client is pleased that the company meets him and its representative is ready to come to his office: again, in large cities, this saves the client time. This is often a good starting point for a long collaboration.
Place of Official Registration of the Business
With the legal address, now everything is stricter. Increasingly, the tax inspectorate blocks the company’s settlement account for the discrepancy between the physical and legal addresses. So it seems that a small office is needed if you work officially.
Alternative Options Where You Can Rent an Office
If you have no desire to spend money on office maintenance, there are other business opportunities for you.
A virtual office is appropriate for businesses operating solely through communication methods and digital communication functionality. The most important thing here is to develop an effective employee motivation and monitoring system.
Coworking is also appropriate for those who do not want to rent a costly office space but cannot work from home or in a cafe. Coworking spaces have grown in popularity, bringing together individuals such as freelancers, photojournalists, software developers, designers, and Web businessmen.
Incubator for Startups
Startup companies in the high-tech industry may attempt to enter a business incubator and obtain preferential rental conditions.
What to choose, everyone decides for himself. There is no unambiguous answer to this question because it is necessary to consider not only your comfort, the convenience of employees, and the financial side of the issue but also the specifics of the business.
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