Transitioning a Small Business from Home to an Office
When starting or running a small business, it's a natural step to start out from home. It's low cost and convenient, allowing business owners to save money on renting an office and focus on growing their brand.
In fact, the ease and accessibility of running a business from home is contributing to a massive increase in new British startups. Government figures estimate that there are 2.9m home-based businesses in the UK, contributing £300 billion to the economy.
Around 70% of new businesses start off in the home. However, there comes a time when the home office ceases to be a viable option for business owners. This could be because:
- It's time to upsize: The business outgrows its home office and requires a larger and more professional set-up to accommodate a growing team.
- You need something more corporate: Inviting VIPs into your lounge doesn't quite cut it. Most companies, especially client-facing firms, need a professional environment.
- Protect your home address: You require more frequent access to meeting rooms, and it becomes too time intensive to keep travelling to meeting venues. Plus, coffee shops aren't corporate enough for visiting investors or clients.
- Home is too quiet... or too noisy: The home office environment becomes too distracting, especially during school holidays. Or on the flip side, working at home is too isolated and you miss the buzz of a shared office.
- Home is no longer a place to relax: When you work at home, it quickly becomes a place of work. Business owners find it difficult to draw a distinction between work and home life, which can lead to long hours and burnout.
At some point, even for very small businesses or freelance professionals, it becomes necessary to seek alternative workspace options outside of the home office.
This doesn't have to be a full-time option, nor should it be expensive, as the phenomenal growth over recent years of flexible coworking and hot-desking has enabled businesses of all sizes to escape the home office for a few hours each week.
Whatever your reason for considering a change of scenery, here are some low-budget suggestions to help your business transition from the home office to an alternative workplace:
Shared offices and coworking spaces
Coworking is spreading across the UK like wildfire. Most coworking spaces are found in city centres like London, Bristol, Manchester and Liverpool, but you can now find a good variety of shared workspaces in many different locations.
UBC's answer to coworking is called Venture. It's a little different to the 'classic' coworking set-up, as we offer a much more inclusive service package.
Venture clients get a small shared office with a private desk, lockable storage, use of our business address with mail handling services, a dedicated landline number, and even personalised telephone answering from our on-site receptionists. Venture runs on a monthly basis and can be cancelled anytime.
As you can imagine, this set-up is ideal for freelancers or mobile workers who feel too lonely at home or who crave a little more interaction. Venture is cheaper than a private office too, typically starting from £199 pcm, so it's a good stepping-stone for small businesses looking to move out of the home office.
A 'virtual office' is a combination of on-site business centre services including live call answering, receptionist services, use of a building address, and mail handling. The only thing missing is the office itself! It's a popular choice for startups, home-based businesses and freelancers, as you can continue to work from home whilst giving your business a real office address.
It's also useful for businesses looking to expand into new locations, as it enables you to set up a second office address in a new city to create a 'physical' presence.
**Sign up for a Virtual Office with UBC at any of our locations for 12 months, and get 1 month free. Find out more here**
A serviced office is the next step up from a coworking space. A UBC serviced office comes fully furnished and connected with Internet and a desk phone. Our flexible monthly licences include rent, rates and utility costs (such as buildings insurance, IT and administration support) with monthly all-inclusive billing.
It could be cheaper than you think. Did you know that UBC's serviced offices start from just £250 per person, per month? We have a fantastic array of private furnished offices available to rent on flexible terms starting from just one month, many of which are single offices or small rooms for teams of 2 or 3. Check out our full list of UK serviced office locations to find out more.
More options for home-based businesses
Flexible hot-desks are a great way to escape the loneliness of the home office by the hour or by the day. Check out platforms like NearDesk or Office Genie to search for flexible hot-desks local to you.
Also look out for Jelly meet-ups. These are free, short coworking sessions often held on a monthly basis. They are held all over the UK and UBC often hosts them at our Cirencester Business Centre in Gloucestershire. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest and to receive details of our next Jelly meet-up.