We all at some point in time are faced with the decision of choosing an office space for ourselves and our teams. Should you get your own home office or should you go for a rental office? Are coworking spaces better than shared workspaces? Are you confused with the choices available and in choosing an office is best suited for your requirement?
We went through this decision a few months back. In the process we ended up creating GoFloaters service offering to bridge the gap that we saw in the market.
The result of that exercise culminates in this definitive checklist that we came up for office space. We hope you find it useful in making the right decision for yourselves.
1. Budget Fit
Budget fit is by far the most important criteria for startups and freelancers. As you are starting out, you don’t want a big expense on a monthly basis. The quick survey that we did helped us identify the pricing slabs for various types of spaces.
You would have to be prepared to spend on an average Rs 6000 – 7000 per month to run an home To build and run a home office for yourself. Obviously there are some upfront costs to build and set up a home office. A rental office would come at around Rs 5000 – 6000 per month plus taxes. Rental offices may not have great ambiance and they might not provide you with the flexibility that you may need. You will also have to shell out huge sums of money upfront as deposit and advance.
Shared Workspaces and Co-working spaces come in all shapes and sizes. Shared workspace at some of the big brand business centers may start at Rs 8000 per month + taxes. Coworking spaces on the other hand start at around Rs 5000 per month + taxes. Kindly note that while these are numbers from the survey that we did in Chennai, we believe that the rates would be slightly higher in other metro cities of India
GoFloaters spaces on the other hand start at Rs 3000 per month + taxes.
2. Proximity to home
If one of the reasons that you are a freelancer or a part of a startup to have the flexibility of work hours that your corporate job did not provide, then this should be one of the important factors for you. We metro residents are spending increasing number of hours on the road. One study says that daily commuter spend more than 3 hours traveling per day between office and home.
By all means your first preference should be for an office that is closer to home. This should help you narrow down the search to shared workspaces and coworking spaces and rental offices that are closer to home.
3. Flexibility of locations
This factor may not be for everyone. Your business may require flexibility4 of locations for certain departments. For example if you have a heavy field sales team, then having access to offices in multiple locations would be a great idea.
4. Expandable with team
You might be small now, but that is not for ever. Hence it is always good to take office at a location that has a scope to expand as your team grows. When you take a rental office, you might have to take the space with certain maximum capacity in mind. Till you grow to fully utilize the space you would end up paying more money. This additional fixed cost on your business might become a big burden on your business.
5. Distraction free
Your business needs your complete focus. Your team needs to be able to perform at their best too. Thus choosing the office that has minimal distraction is so very essential.
6. Great ambiance
Boring walls, plain vanilla colors or shabby interiors don’t go well with your brain. Your brain’s creativity is much higher when you are in an environment that is aesthetic, comfortable and acoustically well designed. Sometimes it is not a bad idea to frequently change the location from which you work. New environment can spur new ideas and creativity.
7. Networking opportunities
Business in today’s world is all about networking. You never who when a casual introduction might lead to a business opportunity. You might find a new collaborator, new employee, an investor and possibly even a co-founder when you network with strangers.
Does you business involve a lot of paperwork? Then possibly having an office that has printer, scanner and copier might be important. Most businesses today run on digital technologies where such amneties may be needed only sparingly. You will always a print shop or a copier shop may be just down the street.
9. Issue redressal
Issues would happen and could happen anytime. You cant avoid them and hence you need to ensure that the office space that you take up has a process in place and defined SLAs for addressing issues.
Do let us know if we missed out a factor that you think is critical for you to choose an office. If you liked our checklist that i it has helped you in choosing your office we would be happy to hear about that. A downloadable version of the checklist above is here.