Have you ever considered whether to work from home or from a serviced office?
|Photo courtesy of AgnosticPreachersKid|
If you are starting up your own business, a digital nomad with no fixed office to work from or a freelancer, working at home is an understandable choice to make.
However, having a home office is not for everyone who works for themselves. Serviced offices are an tempting option for the growing army of homeworkers, freelancers and entrepreneurs.
This post covers some of the options to help you decided which might be best for you.
The benefits of working at home
Waking up on a Monday morning knowing that you are working from home that day is a good feeling. There is the advantage of not facing that horrible commute into your work. No traffic jams, no train journey where you stand all the way, despite having a ticket.
Aside from the lack of commuting, the time you gain from working at home is a great benefit. You can use that time for catching up on work, walking the dog or getting some exercise.
Working from home can do wonders for your productivity. At home, the lack of office noise, banter or dull meetings leaves you free to work. When you can concentrate, it’s amazing how much good work you can do at home compared to being in a noisy office.
That said, if you have a family, working from home can be a pain. Often family members forget that you are still working despite being at home. You may get asked to put some washing in the machine, or to run an errand, taking you away from your blissful concentration.
The cost of working from home
One of the biggest advantages of being a home worker is that it is very cheap. Obviously, you are not running up any extra costs for renting an office which, if you are starting out with your own business, is important.
Yet, working from home does not mean you should go without heating or lighting during the winter. In fact, your energy bills could go up when you add your home working use onto your ‘domestic’ use.
If you like working alone all day, everyday, then working at home is for you. As discussed, it can be good for your productivity.
Humans, however, are social animals that thrive on social contact, in the main. After several days or weeks working at home alone, you can see why some people decide it is not for them. Having nobody to turn to during the day is an aspect which can make home working a non-starter for many people.
High productivity at low speed
If live in a town or city which has high speed broadband in your area, then you are likely not to notice how quickly web pages load on your computer. You may not notice the speed at which you can upload or download files from online folders or websites.
High speed broadband is a luxury in many rural areas. Often, working at home can be a technological challenge if you don’t have good broadband access. Low speeds makes activities like video conferencing or sharing files a slow, laborious challenge.
It’s important to check that your broadband at home can cope with what you need to do for your work. For instance, uploading a video to YouTube can take far longer if you don’t have high speed broadband. Make sure you know this before you commit to home working.
Working in a serviced office
As your business grows and you start to win customers, it is probable that your clients will want to meet with you at some point. If you are working at home, you could always bring them into your kitchen or sitting room for the meeting. It does not look very professional, however.
Also, you might employ someone as you expand. If you work at home, having an employee working with you in your spare room can be impractical and awkward.
Suddenly, renting a desk or office space at a specialist serviced office provider, such as the ‘Send Business Centre’ based outside London between Woking and Guildford, looks very attractive.
You can work in a professional environment where hiring a room for client meetings is easy. And, you can share an office or rent a desk for you and your employee avoiding the awkwardness that can go with working out of your spare bedroom.
To be productive, it is not just about the broadband speeds. You need to be comfortable. Serviced offices often provide you with seats, desks, lamps and storage for your files or computers, if you need them. That can save a lot of hassle, and you get high quality office furniture to work from, not just an old kitchen chair which you might use when you work at home.
Not only that, working from home on a hot or cold day can be uncomfortable, unless you are fortunate enough to have air conditioning fitted. Serviced offices provide this as standard, usually.
Using a serviced office means you benefit from their ability to fit high quality IT systems. This enables you to have technology which matches what big businesses take for granted. Technology for most businesses, freelancers or entrepreneurs is essential. If you can afford it, renting a serviced office can give your business a boost by having high speed, efficient and up to date technology at hand.
Also, if you work at home and you have a technology meltdown, serviced offices often have IT support people on site to help you out. That immediate help could save your business money in the long run.
Home working has its benefits. But, what if your business holds stock, samples or sensitive documents? How do you keep them secure at home?
With 24-hour security, CCTV and controlled access, serviced offices can give you piece of mind that items important to your business are kept secure while you are away on business or at home.
The biggest benefit of working in a serviced office is the connection with other people. Networking with other business is a hidden benefit of renting a serviced office, not often mentioned on their websites and marketing materials.
For example, if you are a web designer, you will probably meet someone in the same office who needs a website. Or, if you are a financial adviser, there will be plenty of people who will need help with their personal finances. You won’t have this benefit when you work from home.
Finally, is it better to work from home, or to work from a serviced office? That is difficult to say. Both have their benefits and challenges. It does depend upon your business, your finances and your ability to be able to work alone or not.
As with all business, the success of your business will rely on the profits you make. You need to locate it in a place which will best support your objectives. That might be at home, or in a serviced office. Do some research and see which suits you.