Are offices an expensive unnecessary for small service businesses? Firstly there is the cost at a time of spiking rents, the nightmare that is the daily commute, and once your there, the wrench of endless, superfluous meetings that come with working in close proximity of colleagues. So ask yourself again: have offices become an obstacle for dynamic businesses wanting to display agility and accessibility in a fast flowing marketplace?
The traditional image of an office is of workers crammed tight in confined spaces, working in uniformity while the big overseer keeps watch over productivity levels. Yet even when offices have been reconceptualised as creative spaces – I am thinking here of open plan offices – they have been found to reduce productivity, distract workers, increase stress and anxiety levels, ratchet up high staff turnover and end up havens for sneaks and gossips.
It is the reason why lots of new businesses are now operating with no office space, and instead relying on a tight network of mobile colleagues to hold the business together. Technology is now making it increasingly easier to lead an active working life and yet keep up to date with developments, opportunities and general communication between colleagues.
Those who have chosen to operate without an office space all agree that it is imperative that communication and trust are prioritised in order to sustain continuity and awareness of where the business is going; however these companies all tend to employ workers with high passion for what they do, and so trust and productivity issues are rarely a problem.
They admit that not having premises can make them look unprofessional in the eyes of certain clients, yet they tend to quickly overcome this misconception once they explain that the client’s payment is always invested back into talent and projects, rather than sunken into property costs. They see that having this additional investment helps keep the company at the top of the curve through increased investment in talent and R&D activities.
So next time you’re sat in the office trying to tune out the shrieks of a giddy colleague or contemplating whether you have enough this month to pay for the plumber to fix the boiler in the staffroom, think about how you could be investing your time if you were able to permanently escape the four-walls surrounding you.