Should You Rent An Office Or Work From Home?

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Working from home or the office - a question that is being asked now more frequently than ever. We're taking a look at these two options to help you make your decision!

A dream for many workers is to have the opportunity to work from the comfort of their home. Many companies embrace the idea of letting employees work from home the entire time or have core hours that they need staff to be present. Some workers, though, might struggle to be disciplined with their workload and would find it difficult managing their time and keeping distractions to a minimum. Here are some pros and cons to be aware of should you decide to venture into these waters.

A Home Office

For those who have had a job that involves the dreaded commute, it can seem like no better option exists than working from home. With the average drive in the U.S. taking 26 minutes, the impetus is strong for eliminating travel time from the daily grind. This can afford an extra hour (or two) to be spent with the family, relaxing or simply more time to get work done.

The other factor for those wanting to work from home is having the ability to conduct their business in the comfort of familiar surroundings, however, this only really works if a dedicated space or area can be set up that will be the “home office”.

It’s no use if your home office ends up being your bed or the kitchen counter or the toilet… When working from home, the ability to focus should be high on the agenda, and as such, some adjustments should be made. Make sure to have a discussion with all the occupants and to set some ground rules (if younger kids are involved) as to what areas are off limits and when, and if there is a need to keep noise levels (and distractions) to a minimum.

Then you’re left with two basic options when it comes to your office set up – either sacrifice a room that isn’t used (or isn’t used, much) or alternatively, look into adding additional space through renovation. Whilst one option is clearly going to be the more expensive one, the practicality of such a purpose-built room cannot be denied. If you’re a homeowner already, acquiring funds for the addition would be a matter of refinancing your existing loan. Don’t forget to check all available options, as there could be current deals that your prospective lender might not be able to offer. Thankfully, there are many lenders and brokers which offer their services on the internet, and you should have no trouble researching available loans online in an effort to find the best one for you. With no need to rent commercial office space, the money that goes towards the necessary renovation will ultimately pay dividends in the following:

  • Little or no commuting
  • More time with the family
  • Reduced carbon footprint
  • No long-term leases
  • Increased productivity
  • Property value increase

Admittedly, working from home can have its drawbacks also, especially if a person is not very good at self-motivation and being disciplined with their tasks. For those who struggle to stay focused or have little personal discipline, working from home may not be the best option. It can be hard to adjust when first starting to use your own space to work, but being very conscious of your activity levels, this can be overcome.

For entrepreneurs who work from home, communication is not a problem, however, this can be an issue for those collaborating on projects and business strategy. A firm plan to keep communication lines open and accessible for staff to share ideas should be essential. There is off the shelf software available, such as Slack or Basecamp, designed to help alleviate communication issues between employees that will help any business leveraging work at home staff.

Renting Office Space

Looking into renting an office or co-working space is advisable for those with no room to have a separate work area at home, or for those who find isolation a problem. There are options on renting a private office, sharing space or just renting on the days you need it, at a daily rate.

A small business owner may find the credibility factor from having a stand-alone office as a major selling point. A digital nomad may prefer a shared space where there is the opportunity to interact and communicate with fellow workers. Shared space can be useful for entrepreneurs as it can give them a chance to run ideas past similarly minded people. Leasing a permanent office can be expensive for small businesses, and it will keep you locked into a contract for a period of time. This could also increase the prospect of financial vulnerability, a possibility for any new company or business.

For businesses that require client meetings and personal interactions, it will always appear more professional if they are conducted at a dedicated office rather than at home. There is the option to lease space only when needed if the meetings are a rare occasion. Finding office space to hire may be troublesome for those that do not live in an urban environment as many of the serviced offices available are generally located in business districts, all around the world.

Benefits Of Leasing Office Space

  • Prime location address
  • Additional services – printing, fax machines, internet
  • Dedicated space for work
  • Ability to collaborate and share ideas
  • Display a professional image

Leases for office space are flexible in the current market but having an address in a sought-after location will still strain the finances. Try looking for space offered on the edge of business districts as the price will be significantly less. Opting for shared space will also reduce the cost, and many have meeting rooms which can be rented per hour when needed. Renting a private office will not decrease the solitude factor as many will only have a shared kitchen and bathroom so a home office may be more suitable.

Which Is Better?

The decision to choose between working from home and leasing office space is ultimately a personal one, as everyone is different in their approach to their business. Deciding if you have the self-control to stay focussed at home and can complete tasks in a timely manner is something that must be done. Determining the specific needs of your business is also crucial, and if meetings with clients or suppliers are a regular occurrence, then an office will be essential.

Financially, a home office will be less of an expense even after taking into account possible renovation costs. The rent for office space will always increase, there would be additional travel costs involved, placing a further burden on your business that may not be needed. The only increase in expense with working from home would be the initial renovation work needed, but this is also offset by the fact that you have added value to your home that previously wasn’t there.

For those who are unsure if working at home is right for them, try it for a month or two, and get an understanding of where the benefits and pitfalls may be. For these initial steps, using a day rate shared space could help in the first weeks to ease you into the habit of working from home.




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