Off the Premises: Is The Conventional Workplace Dying?

Estimated reading time: 5 mins

In order to succeed in business, you need to have an infrastructure that drives profits while also identifying and eliminating wasteful expenditure. Of course, that doesn’t mean not spending money. Capital investment is one of the most common ways in which you can gain a leading edge over your competitors. But every expenditure needs to be weighed heavily against its fiscal multiplier. You need to be able to demonstrate how that expense will pay for itself (however indirectly), allowing you to better meet the needs of your clientele and add value to your brand. Anything from a new piece of hardware or a new software program to additional employee training can help to strengthen your business and increase your appeal.

That said, whatever your business does, makes or sells, there are always ways in which you can make savings that can ease cash flow and allow you to invest more in the areas that will facilitate growth or drive quality and value for your customers. But since time immemorial, many of the capital investments that eat substantially into our cash flow have been taken for granted, Chief amongst which is the costs associated with your office or business premises. 

But the COVID-19 pandemic has proven the mother of invention. Businesses have, by necessity, shown businesses that they can operate (and operate successfully) without the expense associated with a physical premises. It’s shown us that maybe businesses don’t need a bigger and better equipped office. But an alternative to the conventional workplace. Here are some that could save you money and improve your cash flow without impinging on your quality of service…

Remote working from home

This is one that many workplaces have already adopted, with varying levels of success. There are numerous studies that demonstrate employees can be more productive while working from home, but at the same time, the home environment brings a new set of challenges, to which you will, inevitably, need to find solutions. 

Your employees will need to contend with the distractions of the workplace, from irate youngsters to the immediacy of household chores. They’ll also need to adapt their environment to make it more conducive to productivity. If your employees have been working remotely for some time now, they’ve already likely made some adjustments to the home in this regard. However, its up to you to also ensure that they have a digital and cyber security infrastructure that keeps them (and your business) safe and secure. 

Cloud-based infrastructures, virtual machines and VPNs can all ensure that your employees’ capabilities isn’t limited by the software and hardware they can access at home, as well as giving them the capability to do their job from wherever they set up their laptop.

Industrial sheds

If your business is more physical, industrial or practical in nature, finding a suitable and affordable alternative to an industrial facility or warehouse can be a challenge. But in many cases custom industrial sheds can be an affordable and practical alternative that is built around your needs at a fraction of the cost of a traditional premises. There are many different kinds of custom sheds and they can be fitted to suit a range of purposes and applications. 

They can be used for simple needs like storage, warehousing and distribution, but they can also be engineered to process perishables and even used as workshop space. With the right partner, you may be surprised by just how affordable it can be to build an industrial shed around your needs. 

Storage units

If your needs are fairly simple (i.e. you just want a warm, dry and secure space in which to work, you may find that something as humble (and cost-effective) as a storage unit is enough to meet your small business needs. Yours wouldn’t be the first successful small business run out of a storage unit and it certainly won’t be the last. Indeed, there are still businesses of all shapes and sizes run out of these small, discreet and eminently affordable places from modest offices to retail outlets. Of course, if you want to give your business a sense of grandeur and prestige, this might be contrary to the image you’re trying to create, but there are lots of ways around this.

For instance, you may want to give your business a virtual office with a prestigious city centre address. Likewise, a virtual receptionist can take your calls, transfer them through to you, and even take your messages when you’re too busy to come to the phone. In fact, they can do everything an actual receptionist does at a fraction of the cost.

Hot Desking

If you want all the facilities and amenities of an office, but don’t want to be tied into a lengthy contract, you may find that Hot Desking is just the solution for your small business. Ideal for businesses that have a small team and relatively minor needs in terms of digital infrastructure, Hot Desking can give you the space and amenities that matter to your business without the overhead costs and inflexible contract. Most tend to allow you to roll month by month, so you can relocate your business if you feel that this solution isn’t working for you. And because most Hot Desking / shared workspaces are spacious and well equipped, you can be sure that you can carry out your business operations as usual while also keeping yourself and your team safe from potential COVID transmission. 

It’s essentially everything you like about having an office, with much less expense and without tying you into a long contract. 

None of us know for sure what our working lives and workplaces will look like after the pandemic has become a distant memory. However, it’s likely that cripplingly high office rates, intimidatingly long contracts and unreasonably inflexible terms are to become a thing of the past. Businesses of all shapes and sizes will start to expect more of their workplaces in terms of affordability and flexibility. And this is sure to have some exciting implications for productivity and profitability!

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