End of an era: what are the alternatives to office working?

End of an era?
End of an era?

As the office changes, it’s important to look at what alternatives are available…

For many, this is home working, something that requires serious discipline if you want your business to succeed. For others, working remotely on a laptop or from a shared office space is preferable. There are benefits and challenges to all alternative office solutions. Piers Chead is CEO of The Formations Company, which aims to simplify the start-up process for SMEs. He feels that working from home has many benefits that you don’t find in an office environment. “Your discipline has to improve. If you want your business to succeed, you’ll have to stick to a structured routine. Having no-one to tell you what to do means you will have to adapt and learn to be strict with yourself very quickly and that is only a good thing.”

Not having an office can also mean you save money on rent. As an SME, budgeting needs to be a top priority and if a company is to survive and thrive then it needs to grow quickly. As Chead notes: “Any money-saving strategies, such as working from home, can come in very handy.”

That said, Chead acknowledges all the benefits that an office can bring, and thinks that you have to understand how you work best before you decide between home-working or an office. He argues that an office can offer authority and structure to a business, but it can also lead to a perceived loss of freedom that you can get in a static environment. “Budget also comes into the equation here. If you can’t afford an office, but you kind of need one, there is always the option of hot-desking. Not only can hot desking be a professional space where you will meet like-minded people to you, it also represents a suitable location to take clients for meetings.

“This is quickly becoming a popular option for many young entrepreneurs who start their own business: it represents a balance between working at home and working in an office – you have that professional environment which can stimulate your work ethic (that might otherwise be reduced when working at home) and the option to leave whenever you want, therefore that freedom is maintained.”

In the next instalment of our End of an Era series, we take a look at how you can be more productive when working from home…