COLUMN: Lynn Gate - Moving on from the kitchen table

PAPERS scattered across the small kitchen table, coffee spilt on the keyboard, the house phone ringing in the background, a dog barking at the back door, and a child shouting from somewhere upstairs.

PAPERS scattered across the small kitchen table, coffee spilt on the keyboard, the house phone ringing in the background, a dog barking at the back door, and a child shouting from somewhere upstairs. Does this sound like an all-too familiar scenario?

Knowing when the time is right to move your business into a dedicated office space can be tricky, especially when moving presents a whole host of new issues to manage.

The security of staying at home can put many people off leaving, particularly where costs are concerned. Internet security systems also allow for safe remote working, which can make you question whether you really need a separate office space.

However, home-based working environments also have the power to make even the most enthusiastic types start to feel a bit insular after a while, not to mention blurring the lines of a sensible work-life balance.

When you do feel brave enough and your business is ready for a move, you have two options; find a fully managed space, often known as a business centre or hub, or get your ‘own front door’ on private premises.

Having your own private space can sound very appealing but it is also a big responsibility as there are many third parties to pay and organise before you can even move in. For instance, setting up new accounts with appropriate utilities firms for water, heating and electricity can take anything up to three months.

The added responsibility of managing your own office can also feel like learning a new profession all together, which means putting your own business on the backburner when it should be your primary focus at all times. Less obvious matters such as parking permits, building insurance, waste collection, toilet and kitchen facilities, health and safety assessments and more, are all still a necessity.

The more modernised business hubs I have had experience working with are more flexible in their approach to letting space. Starting up in a business hub is simple – all your bills come from one source, leaving you with plenty of headspace to think about growing your business.

As a start-up, the type of business centre you want to look for is one that has the infrastructure in place to enable you to come in and start that very same day.

If you’re not sure about whether to choose a business hub or if you would rather your own office space, ask the advice of someone else who has made the move recently?

:: Lynn Gate, entrepreneur and managing director of The Office Company

 
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