So your business is making its first real big move, and you’re in the process of locating your own bastion of productivity. It’s an understandable choice and one you should rightfully be excited about. There are plenty of reasons to look for a proper workspace. For one, the separation of work and home physically is an important factor for a lot of people in helping them to relax. If your workspace, where you’ve just spent three hours compiling a report that still isn’t finished, is the same place as your location for watching TV, your body can and will get confused. There are plenty of other reasons too of course. If you’re looking to expand, you probably can’t expect new recruits to your company to work side by side with you in your bedroom. Then of course, there’s the basic professionalism that having a proper workspace provides.
So how the blazes do you find one? Thankfully, it’s neither as tiring nor emotionally draining as looking for a house, provided you know what you want and where to look. If your business is still at quite a modest stage and you either don’t feel like going through, or paying for the usual utility bills – a serviced office is probably what you’re looking for. There are different forms of these, though they all usually provide a fairly flexible contract for when your business takes off. Hot-desks, serviced offices, shared offices; they’re all different ways of saying that you’ll be able to work in an office under certain conditions. These are normally related to hours of work, equipment available and pricing options.
It’s worth explaining the co-working space idea a little more. As well as sharing a space with like-minded business people, you’ll have a huge flexibility in when and how you work. We’ve written about it before extensively here on Startacus, so feel free to check back to that link.
Free office finder is useful provided you’re in England and specifically, one of the larger cities. If you’re in Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland though, there are still countless sites that should make it a doddle to find one of these workspaces for yourself. If you’re in the Republic of Ireland, something like the appropriately named Great Place to Work should help. Websites like Workspace and Spectrum Properties are one of many that that wonderful old tool known as ‘Google’ produces. You could also try websites like Gumtree and Craigslist, where people who have an office space too large for their business are looking for others to share it with – thus reducing rent costs for both parties. Local colleges are often excellent sources for shared office space as well.
The other alternative then, is for the big timers. If you’ve got a staff of more than around 20 people then shared offices is obviously not going to work. For one thing, it would get too confusing as it’s doubtful you’d get all your staff in the one location. You’ll need conventional office space. Think of the TV show. Provided you’re relatively sure about the business’ plans in the next few years, then it’s probably worth splashing out the extra cash to establish your first HQ.
Make sure though, you ask yourself the right questions before confirming the purchase. Is the office in the right area? Is there sufficient parking for your employees? Are there kitchen facilities, or is it near somewhere that workers can get food? Will you be expanding any further in the near future, and will this office accommodate those goals? Again, the local council and Jobs and Benefits office should be your first port of call, as there is a good chance they’ll have a ready list of available options in the locality. Don’t, however, be afraid to look beyond home. Plenty of people commute to work and if your ideal workspace turns up 40 miles away from home, don’t immediately rule it out. The potential benefits of having a productive and successful office could outweigh the extra early start in the mornings.
Once again – don’t forget that local councils are obliged to help you with this type of problem, so if you’re still stuck make sure to go into the Jobs and Benefits office and explain your situation to them. Many regional colleges offer services to start-ups looking for an office suite and the council may actually be able to help financially as well, depending on your circumstance.
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Mi-IDEA Manchester looks for disruptive startups
11th Apr 2017
Tech Startups take note - this Manchester evening meetup on 26th April 17, will give you all the key info you need to know about the Manchester based MI-IDEA post accelerator programme...