Something that can put some startup entrepreneurs off opening their own business is the cost of renting office space. It’s not just the rent either; there are taxes to consider, utility bills, furnishings, and decoration. It soon adds up. The question is, though: does your business even need an office?
Technology is so advanced these days that you don’t need an office environment to use it. You can get your emails and phone calls on the go, you can respond to them wherever you are. You can organize virtual meetings through Skype, Zoom, or other video-calling technology. You can save all your documents to the cloud. You can even have virtual phone numbers for your business, which means your customers can call a landline, and it will divert to your mobile. There is no need to sit at the same desk day in, day out, in case you miss an important call or email.
One of the major benefits of not having an office is cost-saving, but time is just as important, and that is another thing that is saved by not having to go to an office each day. The daily commute can take hours, and those hours would be much better spent getting a head start on your work, or even being used to give you a chance to do something for yourself (think of the extra gym time you could have, or the classes you could attend. You could make a meal from scratch for dinner rather than relying on takeout. You could read a book, spend more time with the kids, and much more).
If you’re happier in your environment, if you’re more comfortable, you are more likely to get on with the task at hand and complete it well. There is data on precisely this subject, and it shows that about $600 billion is wasted each year due to employees simply not being able to concentrate on their work. If everyone telecommuted (perhaps something that the future will bring), productivity would increase by about $450 billion each year.
Of course, if you run a remote team you still need to ensure that everyone is doing what they need to do, and it can be wise to invest in some employment law consulting so you know what to do if something goes wrong.
If you’re not tied to the same office or cubicle every single day, you can explore more of the world around you. Since you will still be connected to your business, you can still answer queries and take orders, but you can do so from anywhere you want. Coffee shops, a park bench, the beach, anywhere and everywhere (as long as you have a signal on your phone or tablet) can be your office.
Whereas in the past, it may not have seemed professional to speak to someone from somewhere other than a quiet desk space, today it is perfectly acceptable – even expected. If you do want to have a desk for a while, you could look at renting one in a shared office for a day or so. This gives you the ultimate flexibility that a new business needs in the 21st century.