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A co-working office space is where many fledgling startups establish themselves. There are clear benefits to starting out sharing a space including situational networking, socialising and ultimately, affordability.
However, there comes a time when your business will outgrow a co-working space as you take on more staff and it’s time to move to your own premises, finding a home that reflects your brand and expertise.
It is important to make the move from a coworking office to private premises before the disadvantages of co-working impact your business, potentially preventing it from moving on to the next level.
Here are some of the benefits of having your own premises. If they resonate with you, it is likely to be time to make the move:
Co-working offices tend to cram people in, whereas you have the freedom to create private areas within your own premises. This will allow you to build up your own company culture.
In a co-working office, there will be a general buzz of conversation that is nothing to do with your business and this can disrupt the workflow for your staff as they may become distracted. Your staff are also potentially not able to have productive discussions across desks on matters which are private to your company.
- A more professional working space
When you have your own private premises you can create an organised space to suit your needs. You can plan the space as you wish to impress clients and investors.
You can also plan in areas for staff to relax on breaks, or areas for them to make business calls where they need a quiet atmosphere.
Often co-working offices are trying to appeal to younger workers so they can be very trendy and cutting edge, but the nightclub-style environment can be detrimental to your business being taken seriously and can also make a distracting place for your staff to work.
- You can support the mental health of your staff
Happy employees create a profitable business as they are more productive when they are physically and mentally well. Your staff will spend more time in the office than they will at home and so the office design is vital.
With your own premises you can look for somewhere with lots of natural light to aid mental well-being and health and you can provide staff with more personal space (as opposed to the co-working workplace density).
You can allow your staff to choose their own music with an office music system like Sonos to counteract workplace noise that you often find in co-working offices. Excessive noise contributes to stress, anxiety, tiredness and poor mental performance, so if your staff are experiencing this in a co-working office it is time to move.
- Choose your staff perks
Co-working spaces often offer some gimmicky perks to appeal to quirky startups. However things like free beer or ping-pong might not appeal to your staff. In your own premises you have the choice to provide something that will really benefit your own staff.
- Gain control
Moving to your own premises will allow you to take back control. The operation of co-working spaces is largely out of your control – you can be moved from one office to another without having a say. Also be alert to careless security, hidden costs and co-working office management having access to your data.
Important points to consider when finding a private premises for your startup
- Stick to your budget
Make sure that you can afford the monthly payments and take potential lean periods into account. If you are looking to grow and expand your business or increase profit it would be counterproductive to overspend on a nice view. Ideally plan for a six month safety net.
- The importance of location
‘Location, location, location’ – unsurprisingly, this old adage is true, especially for startups and small businesses. Are you in a convenient location for clients to visit you? Also consider what customers you want to attract. If you get the location right, it will benefit your brand image.
- Think about accessibility
Make sure that you check public transport connections are nearby for both staff access and visitors’ ease. Also make sure there is nearby parking if needed.
- Size matters
If you want your startup to grow over the next couple of years, make sure the office space you choose can accommodate your business as it grows.
Serviced offices are a good idea because as well as supplying phones, broadband and furniture, the service contracts can allow you to move into a larger space as your startup grows.
- The power of brand identity
Private premises can reflect your own brand and you can’t personalise your surroundings when in a co-working office. Your business brand is reflected in both the office style and location.
- Safety and security are paramount
Health and safety should be top of your list, as should data protection, especially if you handle personal data. A break-in would be particularly devastating for a small business.
- State-of-the-art tech – making your job quicker and easier
Good office tech is no longer a luxury – it is essential. Fast broadband is vital to any business – as is a good mobile phone signal – so make sure that your private premises has up-to-date tech.
Moving your business from a co-working environment to private premises is a big step, but a necessary one if you are looking to achieve profitable and sustainable growth.
Co-working offices provide the perfect opportunity for startups to get up and running, but there will come a time when the disadvantages can impact you and your staff and can suppress any potential growth. The key is to make the move before you see this happening.
Your clients will put their faith in a company with its own premises. Share the achievement with all your clientele and business partners to show them what a value asset your company is and how it is going from strength to strength.
About the Author
This article was contributed by Complete Office Search, providers of serviced offices to commercial firms looking for office space in London.