From hot-desking, the garden shed to the cloud – Giles O’Halloran talks us through less conventional ways of working.
If you are setting up your own business, or perhaps intending to work as a freelancer, you need to consider where you will work and how you will work. Sometimes the classic office location may not be an affordable or suitable option and a client may not provide a place for you to work either.
In the same light, flexible-working and flexible-work are terms that are often banded around but either misunderstood or simple discounted. If you opt to run your business, don’t simply fall into the trap of thinking you either work from home or a work location separate to your home. There are other options, you can have flexibility but it will depend on the nature and type of your business.
Wherever you opt to work, it will often be your work place and where you sell what you do – therefore, a true work-shop. It could be a location or a laptop, but make sure the environment you choose is safe and suits the type of work you do. It does not need to be an office or some other physical location, but this is your starting point to think about where you can work and best sell the work you do.
Lots of people now work from multiple locations. Each week they may spend time at home, at a shared centre, an office or a client site. It might therefore suit you and the service you provide to consider this as an option. It keeps you on the go and varies your environment. Clients often prefer people who are flexible, mobile and enjoy working face-to-face.
It may sound comical but it actually makes sense. People are creating mini-offices or workshops in their garden sheds. It means they work from home but separate themselves from home – both mentally and physically. It has really worked for some people getting this divide, and it is quite easy to set up. It is worth considering if you want to keep costs low but have a physical work location close to home.
If you have the opportunity to work at a shared service location, such as an enterprise hub or even a shared office suite, this can also be a great option for you and your business. Be aware of cost, but being able to mix with potential clients or business partners means it could be a great way to develop your business, build relationships and create opportunities. Small businesses and freelancers mixing together can often share the burden of costs, help one another with business development and even pass business on.
If your business is online and you have a website, chat technology, social media, blogs etc … why have an office at all? You could be one of the growing number of people who has everything based online in the Cloud. Simply travelling between locations with connections to the cloud, you can use mobile devices to run your business, use free apps or cloud services for office docs and cut admin costs/burdens by doing so. It is very much like mobile working but the Cloud is at the heart of your business.
So, before you simply opt for a home office or renting/purchasing office space… think about what really works for you, how you work and the work your business will do.
Giles O’Halloran is a regular columnist for Pathfinder Magazine.