This is a guest post for the MELD Coworking blog written by Adam Naor.
I’ve worked at several places that had a hybrid in-office and work-from-home setup. The hardest part is remembering that if you have anyone remote, you’re a remote company. This means you’re doing a disservice to the remote folks any time you talk about anything business-related in person instead of over chat.
In the new normal, we probably won’t go back to working 100% from an office, and this will change cultural shifts within firms. How people work, communicate, and interact will look different going forward. Some firms will remote work forever. Others will implement hybrid strategies: some people will work from home one or two days a week and cycle in and out. Some employers will prefer to work from coworking spaces for the added flexibility.
These changes to the structure of work will change the cost structure of firms, and many will seek to reduce their office capacity as a result. If your firm is transferring from an office to a remote set-up, here are three tactics you can deploy to save money and empower your workers.
Reduce Office Space Costs: Eliminate Inflation
If you’re searching for ways to reduce the cost of office space, you may want to look for a serviced place to work. Many landlords may agree to lock in rental rates in exchange for longer leases. In the post Covid19 era, offices will need to be less dense as workers spread out. If your offices in four buildings are spread over seven floors, then this is a lot of waste and disconnect.
It’s not only the cost of office space, but also degraded work time as people must commute within the building or office park to reach their colleagues. Google’s campus in Mountain View California, for example, spans 7 miles. Staff need cars, bikes, and taxis to reach their colleagues at other buildings. Talk about wasted time and efficiency!
You will be able to negotiate a lower price before you sign the lease if your company has a strong history of renting office or shared work space. If you are entering a large contract, employ a broker who knows the local market. Make sure that you have choices, too. If you’re trying to reduce the cost of office space, you don’t want to sign a last minute long-term contract.
One negotiation tactic to lower the rent of offices is to press for a few months of free rent. This allows you to pay a cheaper price per square foot; on the other hand this also enables the seller to claim full occupancy which is an important metric they will care about. For start-ups requiring shorter lease terms, bargaining can be difficult. But you should try nevertheless.
If your firm is growing rapidly, that is a point of leverage you should bring to the table as you will likely need more space soon. Seek negotiating the rent price if you are signing for the first time.
If you need a secured office space in a short amount of time, short-term workplaces are the most cost-effective way to launch into new office space. You can gain access to office space without any lengthy commitment and maintain flexibility.
If you are a smaller firm or have been in operation for less than a few years, this is likely a great solution. Short term office space is ideal for startups with the potential for very fast growth. This will reduce your fixed costs and enable you to scale up and down rapidly, as needed.
The virtual office is an increasingly popular office space alternative, and one that is considerably cheaper than conventional solutions.
Virtual offices are especially appealing if you have workers who want to work from home, who are based in other parts of the country, or if you want to grow your company on a dime to a new market. You pay for the amenities and the address with a virtual office, without having to worry about furnishing the space or covering the costs of technology.
Depending on the virtual office provider, if you intend to have the option for telecommuting workers, you may also have more than one person using a virtual office.
You may need to invest more initially but you don’t have to think about finding a larger space (and making the move) and updating your technical capabilities for at least two years. This forward thinking also means that the growth will not end up damaging you just to satisfy the growth by taking time and money away from client work.
Thanks for reading. I am following the key learnings outlined here to launch a Work From Home venture that makes working from home more enjoyable and productive for all: Work From Home Adviser. If you’re interested in connecting you can reach me there.
About the Author
Adam Naor is the founder of WFHAdviser.com, a site that helps remote workers thrive at home.