The nature of twenty-first century business is that some companies no longer need office space, with the rise of remote working and free Wi-Fi in most cafes creating plenty of alternatives to the traditional desk-based 9-to-5 nowadays.
But once your business has reached critical mass the chances are you’re going to need a physical base. But when is the right time to make the move? And what questions do you need to ask yourself first?
Working out when the right time to take on office space is one of the biggest dilemmas every startup faces at some point. How do you know when your business is ready to escape the nest and make the leap from the kitchen table to the office? And if you already have your own office, when is it time to make the move to a bigger one?
Obviously it ultimately depends on the individual needs of your individual business. But here at SciTech Daresbury here are a few things we think it’s worth you considering.
Are you in the right place to grow a team and grow a culture?
If you’re home-based then taking on staff can be a bit of a problem – you can hardly put your brand new marketing team in the airing cupboard!
The same is true if your business is a bit bigger, and needs to move into larger premises. This is why it can really pay to think about your second move at the same time as your first. You’ll minimise disruption down the track if your initial base has the capacity for your workspace to expand as your business does.
A good office can help you bring talent on board in the first place – put yourself in a prospective employee’s shoes, if you’re going to be spending much of your life somewhere you want it to be comfortable and appealing.
If you want to build a true team ethic, and put across the right image and brand to staff, customers, funders and collaborators, the right office space can make a huge difference.
Will you have access to the right technology to grow your business?
Your local coffee shop might have access to the internet, but does it have access to a Versatile Electron Linear Accelerator, a Super conducting Radio-Frequency Laboratory (SRF) or an Optics Metrology Laboratory. SciTech Daresbury is a nationally recognised Science and innovation campus and its world-class technologies aren’t found in many other places on Earth, let alone the average living room.
Is innovation possibly without collaboration?
Not every problem can be solved alone. If you’re new to starting a business are you confident that you can single-handedly see to every single aspect of it?
By being around people you guarantee being close to someone who has already overcome the problem you’re wrestling with. On a dedicated technology campus like SciTech Daresbury you could be sitting next to your next customer, supplier, collaborator or inspiration.
Will it make your life better? And will that make your business better?
Living where you work – or should that be working where you live? – has many advantages, but it can make it hard to switch off.
Working from home can feel like the easiest thing in the world, but it can be very tricky to switch off – any time away from your desk could make you feel guilty, and the temptation could always be there to answer just one more email. As a result you could be stifling your creativity, and leaving yourself exhausted and overstretched.
Office space can be a significant business cost at a time when you want to focus your resources on talent and tech – but the popularity shared offices and co-working spaces like SciTech Daresbury make it so much more affordable – with benefits like access to technology and a collaborative, creative environment vastly outweighing the cost.