Many office spaces are now largely empty as businesses have moved employees to working from home. As a result, business owners and office managers have to consider how much office space they really need and how many of these changes are here to stay. At Cultivate, I speak with businesses every day that are taking a hard look at their lease and the uncertainty of future business disruptions. Here is a short list of key considerations for your business as you reevaluate the traditional office.
Do You Need a Physical Office Space At All?
Although your space requirements have been reduced, there are still several key benefits to having some type of physical location.
- If you have employees, you should at least maintain a space where you can interview, train, and bring employees together as a team. It may be possible to maintain company culture with remote employees, but it is impossible to instill company culture in new employees over Zoom with staff that never interact with the team in person.
- Not all of your employees will work well from home. Some are unable to work effectively with the distractions at home, some get lonely and depressed if they are at home alone, and some simply don’t have a home that can accommodate an effective workspace.
- If you live in Franklin County then it’s hard to imagine life without broadband internet, but you may be surprised at the speed, options and reliability of internet service of your employees that live in a rural area. Many of the surrounding counties lack internet speeds of 25×3 internet. Employees may be trying to use their phone data, satellite internet, or a rural provider that can’t support the speeds and latency needed for voip calls, Zoom meetings or remote VPN access.
- To appear prominently on Google My Business you need an address for Google Maps. When a customer Googles your business, you do not want a photo of your home to be the result.
Consider a Shared Office
The Central Ohio region offers many innovative work spaces that go beyond the traditional office. A shared office or a private office in a coworking space or business center may be the perfect solution to save money and downsize. Some things to consider:
- What are the lease terms? Some shared office spaces require a one or even two year lease. Cultivate offers flexible month-to-month agreements so you can scale your footprint up or down as your needs change, or if you need to adapt your business quickly you can cancel before your next month.
- Do they offer technical support? If you are the owner of a small business then you wear many hats depending on the challenges of each day. Unless you are an IT pro or tech geek then you will need some help to combine cloud services and useful technology for employee productivity. Cultivate is the only business center or coworking space in central Ohio that includes tech support for over 20 business technologies so you can combine the best of working from home and the office
- What is the space availability? The demand for smaller and shared office spaces is increasing substantially as companies look to save money and downsize. As these spaces in our region begin to fill up, your options may be limited. On the plus side, however, if there are spaces that suit your needs, they may be ready to move in immediately.
- Do you need an office at all or can you get by with a block of meeting room hours to gather your team or meet with customers? Packages vary and some spaces charge for rooms by the hour while some sell blocks of hours.
- Is the space turnkey? Some shared office spaces are fully furnished and all inclusive of cleaning, utilities, and internet. This eliminates many of the headaches of managing an office so you and your team can simply drop in for a meeting or to get work done.
- Where is it located? The key benefit of working from home is that you don’t have a long commute. Find a shared office that is close to your home so it’s easy to drop in as needed, even if you are also working from home. Don’t rule out paying for a cowork or shared space at multiple locations so an employee can have a good workspace close to their home as well. A few hundred dollars a month to pay for their space is a great value considering the money you likely save by downsizing your larger office, plus the increased productivity that comes with having an effective workspace
- Certain types of companies have specific privacy and data requirements so make sure they can accommodate your needs. Your industry may require a fully enclosed and locked private office or a hard wired private internet connection instead of WiFi. These options may still be available but limited.
The way we work is changing faster than ever, and it may be time for you to consider whether having an empty office is necessary, or if you can save on costs by downsizing. Businesses have to constantly be evaluating what is necessary. With flexible leases and countless amenities, Cultivate’s multiple locations can keep up with your changing needs.