Every year thousands of people take the plunge and start their own business, eager for the freedom and sense of ambition that a 9 to 5 job simply doesn’t offer. In most cases, working from home is the most cost-effective and convenient solution. These benefits can be so attractive, in fact, that many people don’t, or don’t want to, realise when it’s time to move out of the home office.
While the signs that it’s time to move out of your home office are often obvious, the fear of risk involved with finally moving out may be stopping you from seeing them clearly. If this is all starting to sound vaguely familiar, then maybe these home office woes will also ring a bell. If one or more of these key areas are being affected, it’s probably time to say goodbye to your home office.
The home office environment itself will have the most obvious effect on your business operations. These signs often simply can’t be ignored and are often the final straw for many business owners.
Disorganised and messy workspace
If your home office or your home itself is starting to look more like a business-themed horror movie then there’s no doubt it’s time to look at more space. Piles of paper, boxes of files and general clutter can start to make everyday business tasks almost impossible. As well as physically stopping you from getting things done, this type of mess can also have a significant impact on your mental organisation. Losing an important document not only stops you completing an urgent task, but it can also cause general stress that affects your other work too.
Whether it’s just your home office space suffering or even the rest of your home as your work begins to encroach on other territories, disorganisation is a clear sign it’s time to take action. When it comes to getting more space avoid simply investing in more filing cabinets; this is a short-term solution to what is going to be a long-term problem. Instead of turning your spare room into a giant filing system, look at getting some archiving storage away from home to store all the important files you need to keep but don’t need to access all the time. If you do need these documents and instead need filing space you can access regularly, maybe it’s time to look at some affordable office space.
Most businesses will need to invest in more equipment if they want to grow their business or increase production. This might simply be more computers or bigger printers, or it could be equipment you need to make your products. Businesses selling food items, for example, often start working out of their home kitchen but will eventually need to move on from domestic equipment to increase production.
If you’ve reached the point where you need more or bigger equipment to take your business to the next level, then you’ll need to find more office or warehouse space. Don’t fall into the trap of buying those extra two computers and simply squeezing them in to take up that last bit of precious space. Instead, if you’re thinking about getting more equipment, think about whether you’ll need to buy any other equipment in the next year or two. It makes more sense to secure bigger space in anticipation of the future growth of your business.
Looking for other spaces
Whether it’s meeting prospective clients, suppliers or employee meetings, if you’re increasingly heading to your local coffee shop or constantly arranging to meet others at their own offices then it’s probably a good sign your current space isn’t working. As your business grows you’ll notice an increase in meetings in general and you’ll usually want to present the most professional image possible. Even if it’s just a small employee meeting, you’ll probably want a more productive and official space than your living room.
Probably the most important effect on your business is your customers. Whether you typically deal with customer calls on the phone or you prefer one to one meetings, it’s important to have a space that is conducive to customer care.
More customer meetings
Getting more leads and acquiring more customers are essential to business growth and you should be celebrating these positive business changes. Unfortunately, you may also notice that your home office space is longer making the most of these important opportunities. Holding a key meeting with prospective customers in your living room can not only be distracting for both you and the clients, but it may give the kind of unprofessional impression that turns them away. Likewise, if you’re handling customer service calls or enquiries over the phone, family and other home noise in the background can affect both you and your customers.
Customers start to notice
You may also find that your customers or prospects start to assume that you have an office or commercial space to meet at. If you get the impression that clients are expecting to meet in a more professional setting, or they even mention something about your office set up when they’re at your home, then it’s time to seek out either temporary or permanent office space. While you can look at renting conference rooms for short periods of time from local office spaces, this can often be a pricey short-term solution to a problem that will potentially only get worse with time. Instead, it might make more sense to look at getting your own permanent space with a meeting area you have complete control over.
When the work gets to be too much you may find it’s time get some extra help. Whether you’re just considering hiring an extra pair of hands or you’ve already expanded and doubled your employees on the previous year, your employees can have enormous effects on your business.
The simple fact is the more people you have, the more space you need. Many people often forget that it’s about more than just space to work; it’s about space to rest as well. Having a cramped workspace, having to eat lunch at desks and feeling generally trapped in the work environment can make for unhappy and unproductive employees. As an employer, even with just one or two employees, you have a responsibility of care. Plus, the more productive they are, the better for your business. If you’re planning on taking on any more employees or have recently taken on some new workers, take a good look around and reassess whether the space is really sufficient.
Breaking the law
You might not even realise it, but you could be breaking the law or local planning restrictions. Your property or area may have restrictions on the number of people that can work there, and the percentage of space used for commercial purposes. If you haven’t already, check with your local council and find out what the rules are for working out of residential space. Even if you’re not breaking the law, you could unwittingly be upsetting your neighbours with noise or parking problems that can often result from an overly full house.
The easiest way to tell if your current home office situation is affecting your employees is to listen to them. If they are feeling cramped or unmotivated, you’ll soon know about it. As soon as your employees begin to complain about the work environment it’s important to seriously consider making a move.
Probably the most important but almost definitely the most overlooked area that affects your business is you. If your current working environment is negatively affecting your life, then you need to stop ignoring it and act.
Stressed at work
A home office situation can easily blur the lines between work and home, especially as your business grows and begins to take up more time and space. If your home life starts to affect your work, either due to procrastination and distraction or simply disorganisation, then your work will undoubtedly suffer as a result. To keep your business heading in the right direction you need to give it space to grow, and sometimes that space needs to be bigger than your home office.
Stressed at home
Piles of documents in front of the TV and a work phone that rings long after it’s dark can significantly impact your home life. If you’re finding you’re struggling to really unplug in the evening, are easily tempted into working at odd hours or your relationships are even suffering as you deal with the time and work it takes to run your business, then you need to think about separating the two for good. Getting some dedicated office space away from your home will help you keep normal 9 to 5 hours with time to unwind and relax with family when needed.
Working in a home office environment can seem like the perfect solution, to begin with, but working alone at home can quickly become isolating. It’s easy to internalise stress when you have no one to vent to or bounce ideas off, and simple everyday tasks can start to become frustrating. A rented office environment or even shared office space can give you a more productive work zone with just enough company to get you through the day.
Are you finally ready to admit you need to upgrade from your home office space? It doesn’t have to be as risky or expensive as you think. Our business storage solutions include bespoke office space with electrics, lighting and WiFi to suit your needs. You won’t have to pay for more space than you need, and there’s no pricey long-term contract to tie you down. Call one of our friendly team today to find out more about securing flexible, affordable office space today.