In this age of increasingly efficient communications, cloud-based file sharing, and some pretty powerful collaborative tools, many of us are now looking at the concept of dedicated office space as simply outdated. While most entrepreneurial efforts do require a bootstrap mentality and forgoing the expense of a professional office might seem like a logical way to lower costs, working from home or at the corner coffee shop can easily end up costing you more than you save.
Here are a few reasons why:
Focus. The commute from pillow to home office while still in pajamas is undoubtedly an attractive alternative to dealing with morning traffic. However, what happens after that can cause large productivity gaps in your workday. The dog is barking at imaginary intruders. Your cat decides to take random leisurely strolls across your keyboard. Your friends are posting cute photos and political rants on Facebook. Maybe there’s just a really good show on the television right now. Distractions are everywhere and there’s nothing to stop you from diverting your attention away from work-related activity.
The coffee shop is not much better. You’re surrounded by people talking, rarely in hushed tones, often making it difficult to concentrate on what you’re doing. The person at the table next to you spills coffee all over themselves (or worse – you!) and you can’t help but get pulled away from what you’re doing. Add to this the probability that you had something of a commute (however brief – hopefully you at least got dressed first) to get there, and the advantages start to diminish very quickly.
Infrastructure. Effective and efficient teams need infrastructure. They need whiteboards. They need conference rooms. They need to be able to converse with their colleagues and hash out details on important topics. Sometimes they even need to argue. Sure, the long list of modern communications tools make all of that possible in a virtual world, but those tools are almost invariably poor substitutes for the real thing. Skype works, but sitting across a desk from the other person works so much better. Tools like this were designed for, and function best as, a convenient method to augment – not fully replace – direct communications. Don’t make the mistake of discounting the value of immediate and ready access to your team!
You’re going to want a life. When working remotely, its easy to take a quick break and tell yourself that you’ll just finish what you were doing later. After all, no one is looking over your shoulder telling you otherwise. However, to compensate for that choice, you’re almost invariably going to end up working much longer hours than you planned. All the time lost from those distractions have to be made up sometime and, to do that, you don’t want to sacrifice time with family and friends more than is already necessary.
You will want to keep your three places. There is a concept known as the third place where home (first), work (second), and recreation (third) each take place in separate locations. When one of those locations is merged with another, you will quickly come to the realization it’s easier to “burn out” due to a lack of basic variety in your day. The brain needs to work, but it also needs rest and recreation to function well. Don’t lose that third place!
Image matters. Successful companies don’t work out of coffee shops. Your clients aren’t likely to get a positive impression of you and your team if you have to keep asking them to meet with you at Starbucks. Sure, it’s acceptable on rare occasions or under special circumstances, but having an office and conference room at your disposal is apt to portray a more professional image than you will get when pushing a few tables together in the back next to the rest rooms.
Office space is cheap. There is no shortage of opportunities to rent office space these days. (Gee, if we only knew of a great place to do just that!) Whether you only need access to a conference room for an hour or two or 24/7 dedicated space for an entire team, truly professional – yet economical – office space isn’t hard to find. One of the beautiful things about what we do here at WorkCentral is allow your space to expand with you. You can start small and add space as your success demands; it’s the perfect compromise, allowing you to budget only what is necessary for that specific phase of your company’s growth.
Ready to ditch the distractions and get down to business? We’re here to help you succeed!