Wondering if to rent office space is a dilemma that all almost all entrepreneurs end up experiencing and it’s a hard one to answer. Working from home as you try to build your business can become horrendously tedious.
If you’ve got as far as hiring people and they’re working in your home with you, you’re left with a whole other set of frustrations that don’t only belong to you!
But how do you know when you’re ready to give up your kitchen table or living room sofa and start renting office space? Isn’t it just an excessive expense? Office space in London can be pricey but the popularity of shared, co-working and hot desking space has made it more affordable. Also, the benefits can hugely outweigh the cost.
If you’re still not sure, we’ve put together 11 reasons why your startup’s ready to rent office space.
1) You find it hard to switch off from work
You’ve been sat at your computer all day, you can’t even take a break for lunch without getting crumbs on your keyboard as you type out emails with one hand and eat your lunch with the other. That’s even if you’ve remembered to make yourself lunch… you’re probably just eating some leftover crumbs that you found in the fridge.
Sound familiar? Working from home sounds like the easiest thing in the world, but it’s really not. Any time you spend away from your computer leaves you feeling guilty, even if it’s well after working hours. How can you relax when you know you’ve just got those two e-mails to answer? It’s not like they’re urgent but maybe if I just answer one… (yeah right).
Just because you’re an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you need to spend all your time chained to your laptop. Money might not sleep, but you should! Study after study proves that not switching off from work doesn’t make you more productive. In fact, it hinders your creativity and decreases your output.
2) You’re getting frustrated with employees or partners
Even though there are some brilliant communication tools out there for businesses, not being able to meet up more than once every few weeks can mean that you all start feeling disconnected. Being able to work remotely is a huge benefit of the Internet years and it’s right to embrace it, but it’s still important to have some face to face contact. This can be especially relevant in the early stages of building a business as it’s much easier to maintain relationships working remotely than it is to build them.
Sometimes this can be solved by using better communication platforms, having more virtual meetings, screen sharing or just picking up the phone. When these channels have been exhausted and you still feel like it isn’t enough, maybe getting your office a base is the only step forward. Sometimes there is just no substitute for being able to tap someone on the shoulder and have a conversation for five minutes about a project you’re working on.
3) You’re finding it hard to build a company culture
Having a remote team makes it almost impossible to foster any kind of company culture. Of course, your company has a culture even if you’re the sole employee, but if you start to take on more people, how do you ensure that those values are conveyed effectively? It might be time to bring everyone together – even if it’s not five days a week – to start building the foundations of your startup’s culture.
4) You’re feeling lonely and cut off
You’ve only ventured out of the house twice in the last week. Once was to meet an investor, and once to go to the supermarket. Trying to make small talk makes you sound like a more awkward version of Larry David and you’re not sure you could hold an interesting conversation about anything. In fact… what is conversation?
Working in solitude can be the sweetest thing when you’re busy, but doing it permanently can send you bonkers. This especially applies to extroverts who get their energy from spending time with others. It’s nice to be able to have a chit chat over making a cup of tea. Even if you don’t notice it at the time, it can make the day go faster and give you a valuable perk up.
5) You’re feeling unhealthy
Apart from sitting down for most of the day, you’re not eating properly either because you don’t have any set time for a break, or colleagues to go to lunch with.
You’re also staying up late and staring into your bright computer screen, which research has shown can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone secreted mainly by the pineal gland in the brain which controls sleep and wake cycles. Having a good night’s sleep is paramount to maintaining good health, which all feeds into being able to switch off from work for a few hours.
Also, related to point 2, not feeling like you can communicate with your employees is making you anxious.
6) You’re lacking inspiration
To maintain inspiration it’s good to keep your brain stimulated. When you feel like you’re running out of ideas it’s probably because you’re not giving your brain enough time or space to “connect the dots”.
You might spend a lot of time concentrating on particular areas, honing in on what you’re doing, but your best ideas will come when you step back and allow yourself to process what you’re learning, to link it to experience and memories and for your ideas to connect with each other. This will help you produce more creative, higher quality work.
Being in an environment which encourages you to break away from your desk every now and again and engage with others is a great way to increase your experience, gather knowledge and give your brain chance to connect those dots.
There are some pretty cool office spaces in London now offices recognise the benefits that working in a simulating space has on productivity and motivation, so it shouldn’t be hard to find somewhere you and your startup feel comfortable in.
7) You’re becoming de-motivated
If you work alone in the day it’s really hard to motivate yourself when things just aren’t going as planned. Suffering setbacks when you’re starting a business is inevitable but it’s way harder to go through these on your own. Just being around people who have had or are going through similar experiences but battling through, can be a huge boost.
Just the act of getting up to go into the office in the morning can make a difference. Stepping out of your PJ’s or comfy clothes and into something presentable can do wonders for your motivation levels.
8) You know you should be doing more networking
If you’re a startup and only just moving into your first office space it’s likely that you’ll want to move into shared office space, co-working space or just rent a desk. These kinds of offices are perfect for networking, and that doesn’t just mean the people sharing your office. Every person in your shared office has a network and although the person you’ve become friendly with may not be able to help you with your business, they may know someone who can.
What’s more, you’re in a better position to help others. Connecting people and offering the odd bit of advice is a good way to get to know people and give back – which is an essential part of networking. Plus, it’s always nice to help people.
9) You have employees in your broom cupboard (and everywhere else)
As well as pizza boxes, you also have a collection of developers and digital marketers littered around the place and there’s a distinct correlation between the two. Your neighbours are starting to give you strange looks as they wonder what kind of establishment you’re operating.
10) Your living room floor is full of beer and pizza boxes
Since you’ve been using your place as a main office, it’s also become the after hours hangout for any co-workers. Since no one has time to cook (clearly), you’ve been giving the local pizza takeaway a considerable boost in profits and trying out new breakfast combos too (pizza crust dipped in coffee/Nutella anyone?).
11) You’re not happy with your lifestyle
If you can change all of the above for the better, your lifestyle will change dramatically. By eliminating frustrations due to communication, combatting loneliness and motivating yourself you should find a new lease of life for your startup.