Home Office vs. Commercial Premises?
There is no easy answer as to whether it is better for you to run your business from a home office or commercial premises.
Obviously, if you are a small manufacturing company then trying to engage in engineering from your home might be a challenge but for many businesses this is a very real issue to get to grips with.
Ultimately, the solution will depend upon the nature of your business and your own preferences but there are a few general points by way of pros and cons to both approaches.
The home office.
For something approaching 40 years, the pundits have been telling us that big centralized offices were dying a death and that very shortly we would all be working from home.
Well, it hasn’t happened and there are a number of reasons why not:
- interruptions and distractions from daily home life (children, pets, sales calls, unscheduled neighbours’ visits etc.);
- difficulties purchasing and installing the appropriate technology infrastructure (perhaps reducing these days but still sometimes an issue);
- a sense of being too isolated from your customers and colleagues (i.e. out of the loop);
- the psychological pressures of feeling that you are spending 7 x 7 in the same location and environment leading to difficulties in establishing a clear break between your professional and private life.
Rented office accommodation.
This is now readily available and there is a wide variety of options to choose from.
You may be able to get a fully equipped and ready to go office that incorporates secretarial and administrative support from a central location. In other cases, you might simply be able to pay for a virtual office giving you a hot desk or office when you occasionally may need one (e.g. a business meeting) and telephone, fax and email support.
However, whatever model of rented office accommodation you select will have certain disadvantages when compared to working from an office at home:
- travel time and expenses to get there and back;
- sterility of the environment (sitting in an office which is one of many in a building where you do not know or have anything in common with anyone else can be soul-destroying);
- transparency to your customers. It is often very easy to see when someone is operating out of a rented and serviced office complex and some customers may prefer the honesty and simplicity of knowing that you are working from home.
The only thing to say by way of a conclusion is that there is no conclusion!
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether working at home is better than a rented office or worse. It will depend very much on your business, your personal values and the cultural tone you wish to communicate to your customers.