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Office Accommodation

The appropriate office accommodation can create the working environment that helps a business achieve its objectives.

Office Accommodation Overview

When you go self-employed, you’re faced with a choice – rent office space or work from home?

For many, it makes sense to work from home at the start, but when your business really takes off and you need to think about next steps, it’s worth considering whether home working is sustainable for you in the long term.

Setting Up Your Home Office

If you’re working from home, setting up the right space to work in can make all the difference.

The Right Equipment

If you thrive in a more traditional workspace, consider investing in a proper desk and an adjustable chair. This will be the heart of your home office after all, and it’s where you’ll be spending most of your time.

Lighting

Natural light is often touted as a way to improve productivity and concentration. If you tend to work later on in the day or you can’t set up your home office by a window, consider getting a daylight lamp.

Advantages Of Working From Home

For some self-employed people, a home office is the best solution. Here are some of the main advantages of working from home over working elsewhere.

It cuts out the commute
Commuting can be a real drag. Whether it’s a two-hour train journey, an hour’s drive or a 20-minute walk, it takes time out of your day that you’ll never get back – and that’s before you take into account how long it takes to get ready in the morning.
When you work from home, you can be at your desk (or the kitchen table) and ready to work within a few minutes of waking up, or getting some exercise in before you get stuck into your tasks – instead of stuck in traffic or crammed into a train carriage.

It costs less
The cost of office space can be high, depending on your particular needs and location, and if you’re just working by yourself it can feel like an unnecessary expense.
Whether you work from home or rent office space, you can claim some of the costs back, either as part of your tax-deductible self-employed expenses or as part of your capital allowance, but you can’t claim for buying or building a business premises.

It gives you more flexibility with your home life
Sometimes there are things you just need to be at home for. Whether it’s waiting in for the plumber or a parcel, if you’re working from home anyway then you have the flexibility to deal with the unexpected.
On top of that, there are the everyday tasks you can fit in around your work – from laundry to receiving online grocery deliveries. If you need a screen break or a rest from a manual task, you might have time to pop in a load of laundry or wash a few breakfast dishes before getting back to work.

space

You can set it up however you want
Maybe you need to be surrounded by plants or keep your office environment at a certain temperature. Maybe you work best on the sofa with your laptop on your lap. Being at home gives you lots of flexibility when it comes to your workspace preferences.
Office spaces – particularly shared office spaces – can have more restrictions on what you are and aren’t allowed to do. Plus, if you spend money on decorating a rented space and then have to move out, you’ll be out of pocket in terms of time and effort, as well as money.

It’s more eco-friendly
Whether you drive or use public transport to get to your office, you’re increasing your carbon footprint. Working from home automatically takes that out of the equation.
In a rented office space, you’ll be constrained by the environmental practices of the whole building. They may not recycle or adhere to energy-efficient policies. When you work from home, you have much more control over how green your business is.

Disadvantages Of Working From Home

While there are plenty of plus points to home working, there are some downsides, which mean it won’t work as a long-term solution for some people. Here are the disadvantages to consider before setting up a home office.

You can get easily distracted
Whether it’s children, pets, or that slightly odd noise your boiler keeps making, it can be a lot easier to take your attention away from your work in the comforts of your own home than in the purpose-built environment of a professional office.
And comfort can be part of the problem. While there might not be anything in particular happening that distracts you from work, the fact you’re in your home surroundings may tempt you into relaxation, and before you know it, you’re checking Facebook instead of getting on with things.
If you know you’re prone to distraction, setting up a space in your home that’s just for work may make it easier to separate your work and home life.

You can become isolated
When you work on your own it’s easy to become shut off from the world around you, and even more so when you’re not leaving the house for work.
If you tend to go stir crazy or need the moral support of other people around you, it may be better to look into shared office spaces – or plan lots of events and get-togethers outside of work to make sure you’re getting enough human contact.

It’s harder to switch off
It’s 7pm and you get an email from a client. Do you open it? If you open it, do you respond? And if they ask you for a piece of work, do you get started on it?
When you leave an office at 5pm on the dot it’s easy to declare work over for the day, but when you work from home those boundaries can get blurred.
It’s important to make sure you have down time from your work, so setting up a designated area in your house for work can help make the work/home boundary more defined.

It’s easy to stagnate
When you work outside your own home, each day brings many more experiences than if you don’t leave. Whether it’s an interesting view on your commute, a conversation that changes your perspective, or just seeing something other than the four walls you live in, the little differences in your day can help stop you from getting into a rut.
If you do work from home, make sure to get up and see the outside world every now and then, whether that’s sitting in the garden for a while or going for a short walk.

It’s harder to accommodate clients and employees
One of the biggest downsides to a home office is that it can be more restrictive if you work with clients and employees. When you first go self-employed, you may not want to take on any employees, but meeting clients could be important for your business.
Coming across as professional can be important for securing business, which for some types of work could well rule out meeting at your house. Having an office space solves that problem. If you prefer to work from home, there’s always the option to meet clients in nice cafés or, in the case of particularly important meetings, you could rent office space for the day.
As for employees, it may be harder to convince people to come to your house to work. Hiring people to work remotely is one way to get around this obstacle, if working from home is a priority for you.

Setting Up Your Home Office

If you’re working from home, setting up the right space to work in can make all the difference. It’s where you’re going to be spending a large part of your working day, so you want to make sure you’re going to be productive.
However, what works for other people might not work for you. Get the perfect set-up with these five tried-and-tested home office ideas.

The Right Equipment

If you thrive in a more traditional workspace, consider investing in a proper desk and an adjustable chair. This will be the heart of your home office after all, and it’s where you’ll be spending most of your time.
Depending on your work, a laptop is usually more practical than a desktop computer, and it gives you the freedom to work from other spots around the house. A second monitor is also useful if you need to spend a lot of time cross-referencing spreadsheets or researching.

Lighting

Natural light is often touted as a way to improve productivity and concentration. If you tend to work later on in the day or you can’t set up your home office by a window, consider getting a daylight lamp.
If you decide a daylight lamp isn’t for you, make sure you adjust your lighting at home so that it isn’t so dark as to make you drowsy and cause strain on your eyes, but also not so bright that it’s off-putting and likely to give you a headache.

Move Around

When most people think of an office at home, they imagine a desk in a small room, but that sort of home office setup isn’t for everyone all of the time.
It’s a good idea to have a space where you can keep important work-related documents – but you don’t have to spend all your time at a desk. It’s equally possible to work well from your dining table, your sofa, or even the garden if the weather is nice enough. The important thing is to make sure you’re comfortable and that you can concentrate on what you’re doing.

Avoid Distractions

If you’ve ever worked from home before, you’ll know how easy it is to get distracted. There’s always laundry that needs doing, a dog that needs walking or something else niggling at you when you’re trying to work.

If you’re lucky enough to have your home office in a separate room, then it’s easy to close the door and focus on your work. It’s much more difficult if you tend to wander around or like to sit on a sofa.
Calming music can help if you have pets, children or even a partner who might prove distracting otherwise. If you know which room you’re going to be working in, see if you can tidy it ahead of your working day – that way, you won’t start doing it when you’re faced with an inbox full of unopened emails.

Separate Work From Home Life

When you’re working at home, this can be a tricky one to master. If you’re able to dedicate a separate space to work, then compartmentalising work becomes much easier to do. But if you’re tight on space, there are still plenty of other things you can try.

Establish a daily routine — ideally one where you start and end your day with exercise. Even if it’s just a 15 minute walk around the block, it means you’re creating a buffer between your work and your life at home. It can be easy to get sucked into a never-ending pile of paperwork, so schedule in regular breaks and eat lunch at a normal time. Not only will you keep your energy levels up, but you’ll feel more productive afterwards.

Choosing Suitable Start-Up Office Space

Choosing the best location to set up an office, is a decision that can ultimately make or break a business in its early days and certainly shouldn’t be taken lightly. The location can be critical to performance and profitability.

To help you make the right decision. Here are some important tips;

1. What is the nature of your business
The first consideration when looking for office space is the nature of your business. The ideal space should be large enough to accommodate all your employees and operations. For instance, if you are starting a manufacturing business, the chosen space should accommodate machinery, equipment, staffing levels and there should also be provisions for storage of stock, materials and anything else that is essential in the function ability of your business.
Poor planning can lead to a cluttered workspace which at best is unproductive and unprofessional and at worst could be hazardous.
The ideal office space should enable you and your employees to uphold the culture of your business.
The working environment has a significant effect on the productivity and morale of your employees. Get space that motivates your staff to work harder and longer. Do not compromise on the image and reputation you intend to build for your business when choosing the office.

2. Get value for your money
The goal of many property owners is to get as much as they can from their investments in terms of rent charges. Evaluate the pricing of each space to determine if you are getting value for your money. Sometimes lease contracts have many charges hidden in fine print. You may miss those charges if you read the lease document in a hurry.
Calculate the total costs of moving your business to the new space including the cost of renovations and installations. The space should be worth every penny that your business will spend on monthly rent charges.
If the move isn’t going to make you more money, you really need to question if it is necessary. Profitability always has to be the driving factor. In addition, the price should be within your budget for rent and leasing charges.

3. Consider the space layout and amenities
The layout of the office will determine if all the equipment and furniture that your start-ups need will fit. The space may appear large enough, but some furniture and equipment may not fit depending on the layout. Check the lighting and air conditioning as well.
You want to create a comfortable and safe working environment for your staff. The amenities in the building and space can help you make a wise decision.
If you intend to meet most of your clients at the office, look for space with a reception area. Pick an office with a conference room if you have many employees or partners in your business. You will need the facilities to hold meetings. Consider the internet and telephone connections, parking facilities, and other amenities like a kitchen and storage units.

4. Choose the right location
One of the reasons for getting a physical location for your start-up is to create the right impression to your clients. People trust brands with physical locations where they can meet the owners and seek information on the business.
Location is as important as you need it to be. When you’re scouting locations for your new office, it often pays to think outside the box. Whilst it is obvious the cost of office space can be expensive in popular areas, if you don’t need to be in a prime location, then there will always be cheaper options a little further afield. If you do your research, and/or strike lucky, then you’ll set up in an area that’s on the up. So you might soon have all the advantages of a popular location anyway!

Having said that, the location of your office space can determine the image you create to your potential and existing clients. While getting space in prime locations is hard and expensive for a start-up, choosing such locations helps you build your brand image.

Your clients and staff members should have an easy time accessing the office. Consider the state of the roads and traffic flows. In addition, consider the security and access to other facilities like restaurants and recreational facilities. If the rent charges are too high in the ideal location, consider renting a virtual office or sharing space with other businesses. When choosing a space, always have one eye on how easy it will be to maintain.

5. Don’t overstretch your budget
Budget goes hand-in-hand with location.
What can you afford? What are your deal-breakers? It helps to be realistic in the beginning, especially if you have a start-up business.
Ensure that the budget you set is flexible enough to allow for last-minute changes, at the same time keeping within what you can actually afford.
Before jumping in, think about any hidden extras you may be expected to pay, such as maintenance fees or parking costs. Then there’s the deposit. Can you provide a three-month rent deposit, up-front?

6. Read the lease terms carefully
After inspecting the space thoroughly and confirming that it is a perfect fit for your business, do not rush to sign the lease document. The property owner may try to rush you to sign the contract especially when the office is in a prime location. Do not sign it before reading all the terms and clarifying any cost implications of each clause.
Sometimes property owners will hide charges and binding clauses in the fine print.

Consider the lease period as well. Moving your business from one place to another will have a negative effect on its long-term profitability.
Getting the right office space takes time. If you rush the decision, you will either incur higher costs than necessary or lease the wrong space.
By making sure you’re informed on every detail in the lease, you’re protecting yourself against any problems further down the line.

What if you want to sell the company during your lease?
Ensure the lease is transparent about owner responsibility. You’ll want to be crystal clear on your obligations.

Have you looked at the lease and rental rate?
You don’t want to get settled into a location then discover that at the end of the lease the landlord is letting it out to somebody else (or even hiking the price up).
Enquire about how long you can let the space; it seems like common sense, but if you make sure from the beginning, you may have some room to negotiate.

7.Enlisting an agent
The pros of enlisting an agent are that you’ll be handing the logistics of the move over to a (hopefully) tried-and-tested expert who will take the most stressful parts away from you.
The cons? You can save money by taking care of things on your end, allowing you to broaden your search. Is that a risk worth taking, though?

8. Size: look to the future
Keep in mind that, depending on how you see your company growing, it’s always an option to go for more office space than you may initially need. Investing in more desks is easier than having to look for new offices if your business expands.
A cramped office space isn’t a great productivity booster, while renting a space too large results in wasted funds.
It’s generally recommended that working areas offer the equivalent of 80 to 100 sq. ft per person. This is a very general rule, however, and you should know yourself what your company needs.
This is where it really pays to know your growth forecasts!

9. Is it the right building for your company?
As well as location, the amenities within your office building will impact your business immediately.

Is the building safe?
Security is of the utmost importance when looking for a new office building. Is the reception manned, and is there a clear emergency-exit plan? These are not to be taken lightly if you want your company to succeed (in the safest way possible).

Is there parking and bike storage?
Some employees will drive – are there parking spaces to accommodate their cars? There should also be ample bike-sheds, considering that cycling has fast become a popular mode of transportation for workers and many firms have gained favour by offering cycle-to-work incentives. All of these factors together contribute to the overall happiness of the office.

10. Shared workspaces
For some start-up businesses, deciding between location and budget can leave you in a difficult situation. Having the ideal location for your business comes at a price, but then if you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere you lose out on networking opportunities then shared workspaces are an option to consider.

As well as providing office accommodation shared workspaces give the opportunity to invite prospects into well designed spaces.

With a shared office, you’ll cut down on rent while being able to work in an attractive, lively setting. No more taking your clients to Costa Coffee for meetings.

Having a space that speaks for your company is vital, for both clients and employees. Inviting clients to your prideful office is a show of confidence. For your employees, it helps that they share the company’s vision and are surrounded by its ‘brand’.
First impressions are key. Your office needs to reflect your personality.

If you’re on a budget and your first office is a bit pokey, or maybe it lacks character – have some fun on the design of the interior and try to make it reflect your culture.
Remember; the devil is in the detail. Leave no stone unturned when designing your office – if done well, it’ll pay off in the long run.

11. Connectivity
A weak (or non-existent) broadband connection can be catastrophic for your business. Without an internet connection you’re not likely to get much work done.
The location you choose will also affect your broadband connection, and should be a deal breaker as a bad internet connection can seriously hinder the business operations

12. Building Management
In an office building, your first point of contact if for example, a repair is needed in the building, is the property manager. It makes sense therefore to get to know them and build up a good working relationship. Before making a decision, consider the property manager and their level of involvement with the building. Are they approachable? Reliable? Are the tenants happy with the space?
A few signs that there is a good property manager on site are

• the heating, ventilation and air conditioning are all working well
• communal areas and toilets are up to a good standard of cleanliness
• the building itself is in a general good state or repair

If the office has a manned reception, employees of the company that runs your building will be the first point of contact for your clients when they come to visit you. Take into account how you were greeted etc when you came to visit the site for a viewing as this will be the impression your potential visitors will have too.
It may sound trivial, but it should be a crucial consideration

Find the Best Office Accommodation

Starting a new business do you need an office?

Exciting Futures  was created as an all-in-one solution by bringing together the tools or services you may need to run your business! when you map out your business model, office accommodation may be one of the overall parts your business needs to review if required and next steps.

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