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Should I rent an office or work from home?

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‘Should I rent an office or work from home?’ – If you’re a small business this is probably a debate you had with yourself when starting out. Maybe you’ve grown your business and are now thinking about whether to invest in office space or continue working at home. What are the advantages and disadvantages of either working from home or renting an office?

Staying at HomeSHould I rent an office or work from home?

Most service based small businesses start from home. However, as they build their work load some of them feel that they need to move to separate business premises. Obviously the main factor with working from home is the cost. There is no additional rent or utility bills to pay and you’ve not got to factor in any transport costs or time.

Working from home is beneficial to those who have other commitments during the day as it’s so flexible, such as collecting children from school. Many self employed parents start their business around young children, so might not work traditional office hours. If you’ve got a business that can mostly be conducted online and you’re committed to working, then being at home can have its advantages.

Keep it separate

However, it can be hard to separate your business and personal life if you work from home. The likelihood is that your emails will always be on, especially with smartphone technology, and there’s the tendency to work longer hours and over the weekend. If you’re running your business from home, it’s a good idea to invest in a separate business phone and internet connections.

There is also the chance of distractions from children and other family members, as well as household chores. If you are considering working from home then you need to set aside a separate work area where you won’t be disturbed and have certain hours that you dedicate to working.

Renting an Office

Making the decision to rent your first office is a big step. Not only do you have to find somewhere suitable, but you then need to factor in all the costs and negotiate on the rent.SHould I rent an office or work from home?

One of the advantages of working form an office is that it provides you with a more professional image. Instead of meeting clients at home or in the coffee shop you can invite them into a business environment. Depending on where your office is, there may be additional meeting rooms you can hire out when required. Being in an office also means that you’ll focus 100% on the business when you’re at work, rather than having the opportunity to do things around the house.

Social Interaction

One of the downsides of working at home is the lack of social activity and it can feel very isolated being by yourself all day. Even if you just rent a room in a shared office there will be other small business owners around who you can interact and share ideas with.

There can be a significant cost associated with renting office space, so you need to decide exactly what you require. A good first step might be to simply rent a desk in a shared office. This way you get the benefit of the office environment, but won’t have any additional costs to pay. The rent will usually include services such as reception, cleaning, phone line and catering facilities.

Serviced offices are another good choice for small businesses. These are fully furnished and provide you with all the facilities, so you can just turn up and start working. They are also a great way of being based in a prime location, which you otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford. They can be rented on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis depending on your requirements.

Check what’s covered

If you decide to rent an office you need to check what’s covered in the lease and what you have responsibilities for: for example cleaning and building exterior. Before jumping into anything make sure you take into consideration the length of the contract, as well as the monthly rental cost. You need to have a budget that covers all the associated costs, such as equipment, insurance and utilities.

There will be some small business owners who will always choose to work from home and those who would go for an office every time. Before you make any decisions you need to consider carefully what you main requirements are and what will work best for your business.

 

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About Catherine Stern

About Catherine Stern

Catherine Stern is a freelance writer with a background in marketing and PR. She currently writes web content on a range of subjects, from finance and business to travel and home improvements. As a working single mum of two young boys she understands the pressures that today’s working parents face and the topics they want to read about.

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