There are now more options than ever before to maximize your business’ existing space. If you are growing and are afraid of paying rent on a very large space/building that you cannot yet fully utilize, you can use virtual or remote options to leverage your existing space. If you have rented square footage that currently exceeds what you need, you can make this space available to solopreneurs (i.e., one-person businesses that are often run from the owner’s home) and start-ups. I believe that enterprises such as WeWork and other collocating entities and co-working spaces have appeared to fill the needs of businesses and self-employed people who are in transition. Use these entities and this movement to your advantage.
At The Resourceful CEO, we currently primarily work virtually. However, we use space at Regus, a flexible office and executive meeting space provider, for group or client meetings. We’ve also used a brand new local library nearby that has great meeting spaces for team meetings and video conferences. This works for us because we have strong operational procedures in place that help us manage what we do and help us manage each person’s role and deliverables as we grow. (Lacking these operational procedures, I definitely believe you need to be located together in the same office at the same time.)
Large Virtual Operations
I think that you can operate certain types of companies 100% virtually until you reach a certain size, perhaps 100-200 employees. These include B2B service delivery firms such as consulting firms, online marketing firms and more. It is when ongoing, regular collaboration between individuals who would not normally communicate except by happenstance becomes critical that you then need to move your company to a physical space.
If you are growing significantly and have become space-constrained, you can move some functions to partially or fully remote and reserve space in your conference room for those individuals to come in and collaborate periodically. For example, your outside sales people or sales/implementation engineers may largely work at or from various customer sites. You then allow them to work from home in-between these assignments but come into the office 1 day every two weeks or for scheduled meetings. By doing this, you can free up space to insert more personnel who really need to be there – at the office – daily. You could also have two people share the same office or desk but on different schedules.
Co-Working Remote Options
Returning to the co-working model, I think having some space where employees can come together and collaborate but also work virtually from elsewhere (i.e., home office or client site) affords your company the greatest flexibility until it hits the size that necessitates a dedicated office building or space. Your business can grow larger without taking on high, inflexible rents for space you do not yet need. With the co-working model, you’ll pay more for the square footage but you only pay for the square footage you actually use.
What virtual or remote options have you considered or would you like to hear more about? Please share below!