Are you starting a business and looking for a new office space? Or maybe you run an established business and are thinking about changing your office setup to save on expenses. Whatever your reason, you have plenty of options to consider. Here are five ideas for creating a working environment that’s just right for you and your employees.
The Traditional Office
Traditional office spaces are still the best option for many businesses, and many small business owners use them. For instance, if you need a convenient location for clients to meet with your employees, you probably need to utilize this type of office space. In addition, if you rely on team collaboration in your business, a traditional office space provides an environment where all of your employees can interact and plan together. But there are some drawbacks to running your business from a traditional office space. For instance, you will likely pay more in overhead than you will with some of the other options, so startups or businesses that aren’t yet profitable shouldn’t take on this large expense until their income justifies it. In addition, employees can often experience more distractions because of meetings and socializing.
When a company has a large space and isn’t using all of it, it will sometimes rent it to other non-competing businesses. The renting company earns extra cash, while the business that rents it out saves on expenses. For example, you will likely share the costs of utilities and internet service with the landlord, and the space may come with furniture and office equipment, which will save you from having to purchase it. In addition, most commercial landlords require you to sign a long lease, but that’s not always necessary with this type of arrangement.
In today’s business climate, it’s perfectly acceptable to run a business from your home. The advantages are obvious — not only will you save on overhead, you will also get to write off a portion of your home office and related expenses. But there are disadvantages as well. If clients regularly come to your office, it can be awkward if you don’t have the proper setup, such as a separate entrance and a dedicated meeting area. In addition, new employees may not feel comfortable working in your home, and the arrangement has the potential to disrupt your family life. Space can also be an issue, depending on the size of your home and staff. Many business owners start out in a home office, but when the staff becomes too large, or the need for client meetings increases, they decide to relocate to another space.
It’s not always necessary to have a physical office space at all. Some companies conduct all of their business remotely, and their employees work from their own homes. This type of setup comes with some major benefits. For instance, in a summary of 500 studies, Global Workplace Analytics found some pretty amazing benefits for employers who set up a telecommuting program for their employees. One of the most significant is cost. The studies show six out of 10 employers realize cost savings, while two-thirds report increased productivity among their remote workers. And employers aren’t the only ones to benefit. The studies also show that employees would rather be given the chance to work remotely than receive a raise. That leads to increased employee retention, according to 95 percent of the employers surveyed. On the other hand, if you don’t have employees who can self-motivate and take responsibility for their own work day, you could lose money because of wasted work hours. This option is most successful if you have employees you trust, along with communication systems and tech you can rely on.
If you require a professional-looking office space with all the amenities, then a coworking space might be the answer. Also known as ready-to-go office spaces, business centers, executive suites, and serviced office spaces, coworking spaces offer everything a traditional office space does — without the associated high costs. This option works best for freelancers and solopreneurs, but if you have a staff, one of the other options would likely be a better choice. You can rent the spaces on a short-term basis or for the long haul, and you typically get wireless internet, conference room access, and standard business amenities such as a printer. Before you sign a contract, it’s important to know who rents offices with you. If you end up next to a competing business or someone you have a personality conflict with, it can ruin an otherwise perfect working environment. Also, be sure to review your contract to ensure that you don’t agree to a lease for longer than you want, and that all of your desired amenities are included.
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