Having a home office can be extremely useful. If you work outdoors or have a business that involves going out a lot to meet your clients at their offices, then you probably use your home office to sort your paperwork and, if you have a decent filing system, that can be perfectly sufficient for what you need. Likewise, if your business is small or just in the start-up phase, a home office is perfect - it’s right where you need it, with no commute to factor in and all the comforts of home at hand, plus you can use it to fit your work around other commitments such as childcare.
There may come a point, though, where a home office is simply not going to cut it any longer because you and/or your business have simply outgrown it. Here are 5 signs that point to you needing to consider an alternative base of operations for your business.
1. Your business is expanding
A growing business will naturally involve the need to take on more staff to cope with the extra workload. Where on earth will your employee work? You may find that few
people will apply for a job that involves perching at your breakfast bar!
Even if you’re still able to go it alone, the increased paperwork by itself may make space an issue.
You may have been able to schedule any necessary meetings with your clients at their offices, but if you’re becoming busier it might be more efficient to host those meetings yourself - let them travel to you, giving you more time to get on with your work.
2. Your home looks like a paper recycling centre
Can you get a vac into your office without sucking up paperwork or wires? Is your paperwork spreading out of your office and appearing on random surfaces throughout the house? Is it easier to work on your laptop in the living room because there’s more space than in your actual office? Any of these symptoms point towards you having well and truly outgrown your home office.
3. Your dog/baby/spouse keeps wandering in when you’re on a conference call
Remember that televised interview with Robert Kelly, the renowned Professor of politics whose children came scampering in, their harassed-looking mum hot on their heels? That guy could have done without working from home that day. If there are distractions like that in your home that could interfere with business calls then you need to consider an alternative base. Potential customers want to know that you can be relied upon to deliver a professional service - and having your Great Dane standing next to you during a Skype meeting or your postman ringing the doorbell mid-call might create the wrong impression.
4. All work and no play...
Being at home all day may seem lovely at first - no office politics, no stressful commute and complete privacy in the (non-shared) bathroom. After a while, though, you might be finding the lack of human contact during the day rather lonely - even a short walk outside and a smile and friendly greeting with another person can improve your mood.
5. What work-life balance?
Having a home office may be ultra convenient to get to (you don’t even have to get changed out of your pyjamas if you don’t want to) but the temptation to nip there just before you go to bed, or straight after a meal with your family might be too great to resist. It's hard to close the door at 6pm and forget about work for the rest of the evening if your office is in your home - the sight of your office door is a frequent, visual reminder of work. If you’re finding it difficult to work a reasonable number of hours each week and find time to spend doing things you actually enjoy, then perhaps it’s time to look at moving out of your home office.
What’s that alternative?
Well, you could lease commercial property for your business, if you’re happy to make a long-term commitment. Make sure you have the right location - somewhere that’s visible to the public (if you want and need to attract more business that way) and easy for your clients, customers and colleagues to reach. You’ll need a conveyancer or solicitor to sort out the paperwork, then you’ll need to organise:
- utilities and property taxes
- public liability insurance
- contents insurance (plus buildings insurance if you decide to buy rather than rent)
That sounds like a lot of extra work and money…
Yes, it does, doesn’t it? There is another option. If your home office simply lacks storage space, consider renting one of our storage units to keep your files, archives, stock and anything else you need out of the way in one of our secure stores. We have 118 stores all over the UK so there’s sure to be one local to your business, and they’re all located near major road and/or rail networks so they’re easy to get to.
If your business needs a more professional-looking base, we also have offices to rent in many of our stores, with easily accessible storage if you need it. At our Liverpool Queens Dock and Battersea stores, we have dedicated business centres that can provide you with absolutely everything you need to run your business, including additional meeting rooms and business support services such as IT and telephone answering. These are staffed by highly skilled, professional business centre staff who can greet your clients and make them comfortable in our modern waiting areas until you are ready to begin your meeting.
Our business support centres and many of our stores will allow you to have access to your office 24 hours a day and can offer:
- Free WiFi
- Connected utilities
- Contents insurance
- Formal and informal meeting rooms
- Business support services
- Modern office environments
- Onsite car parking
We can even accept deliveries on your behalf - no need for you to wait in to receive parcels, you can get on with your work.
If you’re tempted to close that door on your home office for good, give us a call and see how we can help your business to grow.