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Many small businesses, as some of you know firsthand, are based out of the home before making the leap into accommodations of their own. Setting up shop in the basement or home office is a great way to keep expenses down during the early years of the business. There are many upsides to the work-from-home business model: no rental agreement, short commute, and you can wear your bunny slippers to the morning meeting. There was a stigma against home-based businesses as being unprofessional, but as an increased number of them are proving themselves to be productive members of the economy, perceptions about them are changing.
In With the New
Of course the old way of business said that a company wasn’t really a company until it had made enough money to move “real” office, so that is where blooming home business owners aimed their sights. As soon as they could scrape together enough cash, they went out and staked themselves out a little shop on Main Street they could call their own. This is not necessarily the norm anymore.
It may be due to the improvements in communication technology that the stigma about home-based businesses is changing. Laptops and cell phones mean that entrepreneurs can still be productive without being tied to the office desk. This is true even more so with the growing popularity of online stores. Why rent a building when window shopping is happening through a computer screen more often than not? This leads to the question of whether or not home-based businesses are better off moving out of the home and into an office, and many are not.
Time to Move Out?
The question of whether or not to move into an office is a question that is very dependent upon the needs of the company. If there are gains to be made by the move, then that is probably what you should do, but here are some things to consider to help you decide if it is time to take the leap.
If you are planning to hire extra help in the future, then getting out of the basement is a distinct possibility. There are workplace safety laws and zoning that enter into play when it comes to having an employee. You could have a very awkward sexual harassment lawsuit on your hands if your dog decided to be intimate with your employee’s leg. Not to mention the general complications that arises when it comes to having someone in your home eight hours a day, five days a week.
Space is another thing to consider. As a business expands, so does the amount of space it takes up. If your business is spilling out of its designated area and into halls, then you should probably make the move. If you can’t find your kitchen table underneath all the paperwork that has accumulated, then it is definitely time to move out.
There are other reasons to move, too. If it is becoming increasingly difficult to separate your home life from work, then having a workspace may help you to keep your work where it belongs – at work. The work from home model can also lead you to feel trapped, since you spend most of your time at home. This could lead to larger emotional problems that could ultimately affect both your work and home life. Your work may be your livelihood, but it isn’t your life, so don’t let one ruin the other.
A Place to Call Your Own, Kind Of
Moving into an office is a very big investment. An alternative to renting out an entire office or store is to rent part-time. It is becoming more common now for some buildings to lease out offices or space part-time. This can be a more reasonable alternative to full-out relocation, especially if you really don’t need that much space. It can serve as a place to get some of the more logistical work done, even if you still keep part of the business at home.