These days, there are a multitude of different varieties of office space, including remote, shared, serviced and co-working. But with so many choices, how to you make sure you pick the one best suited to your business? Here’s the lowdown of each one, including the pros and cons.
Having a remote office can have multiple benefits. Letting your employees set their own hours and work wherever they like will do wonders for their wellbeing, and subsequently, productivity and motivation. However, this type of working doesn’t work for everyone and if you choose to have a fully remote office you should set some boundaries, because there will need to be some level of structure and management in place. You could also have regular video calls, and in-person meetings every quarter, for example.
This is a great option for smaller companies and start-ups, as you will save an enormous amount of money by not having a physical office space, and therefore avoiding rental costs and everything else that comes with having a physical office.
You will also be better able to retain knowledge and the investment you put into employees, since many companies with fixed office space lose out on workers who want to move abroad, for example. With a remote office, you won’t get this type of turnover.
You will also be able to attract new workers with the skills and experience you require, as many people will see remote working as a perk, especially those who need flexibility.
But one downside of remote working is that no amount of instant messaging and video calls will replace real-life collaboration, and the types of ideas thought up at the office watercooler. Emails and calls only go so far, and you might miss vital, non-verbal signs otherwise picked up by body language, for example, which could affect communication.
Shared offices allow a lot more flexibility than the typical office. Leases are shorter-term, while members are offered different packages based on their needs, usually on a monthly basis. This is perfect for companies who plan to grow a lot in a short space of time, who are perhaps unsure how many additional employees will join the company in the following year or so.
An option popular with startups, you’re most likely to find shared office spaces in areas such as London’s small business centre, Shoreditch, or Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Many of them also offer shared communal spaces for the businesses who rent offices, such as Manchester’s Neo Workspace or London’s Proper Office.
Services offices are fully fitted and furnished single office space, or an entire office building, with bills covered in one all-inclusive rent fee. This is the perfect option for companies who want to hit the ground running, and since they are usually rented to multiple tenant companies, you will have the opportunity to meet potential business partners for networking.
Coworking has become a global trend, and has a relatively lower price compared to traditional offices. It allows for flexibility through various membership options, with hot desking and private offices.
However, shared offices can create problems in terms of lack of privacy, and distractions caused by other companies working close by. This could be particularly problematic when you’re preparing for a big client meeting or presentation, need to concentrate on some numbers, or have an important call to make.
And talking of distraction neighbouring companies could actually be a competitor. This may cause problems as you discuss ideas out loud with colleagues, but equally, it could be a great networking opportunity to share ideas, insight and advice.