The way we work has changed pretty radically over the past couple of decades, with today’s office landscape almost unrecognisable from what’s gone before. Many start-ups are forgoing rented space altogether, happy to combine a virtual remote office with the occasional café meeting or teambuilding exercise, while shared working spaces occupied by two or more organizations reflect a freer, more collaborative business culture. With office space costing so much – and often requiring an initial commitment of at least three years – it’s understandable that as a small business owner you’ll want to choose your environment carefully.
A new flowchart has been designed to help clarify your thoughts on this issue, breaking down the decision-making process into stages that reflect on the nature of your business. A company with 100 employees will have very different needs and costs to a company of ten, but a qualitative assessment is also advisable: is your team expected to collaborate frequently, to share ideas informally, or to focus on their individual goals and then report back? If you have clients that you meet with, what kind of impression do you want to make? Practical factors also come into play. If your business is founded on the basis of hardware you own or servers you rely on, you’ll have very different needs to a company whose employees wield their own laptops.
Of course, you get a lot more control with a dedicated office space, with new layouts and technologies being designed all the time to streamline working processes and encourage innovation and collaboration. With a remote staff, on the other hand, once you put faith in them to complete their tasks in a manner that best suits them, you will cut down on costs and on the energy you need to expend on office politics, etiquette and motivation. The third way – to share office space with other companies – can strike a nice balance, as many such offices will already come with an infrastructure (tech support, maintenance, tea trolley) and you can always relocate after a couple of months if the atmosphere turns out to be inappropriate.
For a bit more on the pros and cons of these options – and that flowchart that will help you find your way – be sure to check out this new infographic, so you can be confident you’re making this important decision with your eyes open.
For more details, view the infographic here.