Jacky Sherman

The Consultant's Consultant

07970 638857


Is It Better To Work From Home Or Rent An Office?

Moving out of my comfort zone ...

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After 15 years of working from home, I moved into my own training room this weekend. It feels like a time of new possibilities. It also feels a little strange ...

Now I've decided to rent an office, I can surround myself with my branding!

Now I've decided to rent an office, I can surround myself with my branding!

copyright: jacky sherman / asentiv

When I was offered the room, I could think of many reasons not to take it on. In the end, I went for what felt right. That little voice said, "Come on, girl, get out of your comfort zone and do something different!". So I did!

If, like me, you're working in consultancy, coaching or training and in the process of making the same decision as I just did, here is some of the thinking behind my decision.

"What do you need an office for?

If you've got a team of people working with you then usually it makes sense to be in one centralised location. If it's just you, and maybe a virtual PA, then maybe it's because you can have lots of people come to your premises?

When I started in business as a coach, my clients never came to me as I always went to them. From the initial sales meeting onwards I would make the journey, and the client would provide the premises for our work together.

On rare occasions, if we needed to get out of their environment, I would hire a room somewhere close by. As an avid networker, meeting with other networkers, it would usually be in a coffee shop or hotel bar.

That has changed thanks to my work with Asentiv. While I still work in-house with clients, my primary business is based around classroom training in support of groups of business people. To date, I have been delivering these in various hotels and other venues around Northampton.

This is a strong reason for the change; while I have found some great (and some not so great) venues around the area, I have always been subject to their availability. Timing always had to fit in with their diary, and there was a lack of flexibility to make changes without incurring cancellation costs.

"What impact does having premises say about you and your brand?"

Although home working is now far more acceptable to a lot of clients, there are still those who want to see that you have more substance to your business than a one-man-band working out of the spare bedroom. What do your clients expect of you?

"Having my own space means I can design and decorate it to match my brand!"

Having my own exclusive space means that I can fix permanent features on the walls that reinforce my key messages and enhance client learning.

This was a major factor in my decision to move away from bland hotel training rooms where all my branding has to be transported each time. Also, there are restrictions on fixing poster to walls, painting and other adornments.

"It's invaluable to have all of my resources around me!"

When running training of the sort I do, it is invaluable to be able to produce different resources or change tack at a moment's notice. Training in my own premises means all my resources are available and I can bring in different material as appropriate.

As the room is available for people to see, I can invite clients and others to meet with me at my base and they can see the set up in advance.

"But there are other personal reasons for moving out of my home office!"

A key one comes back to moving out of my comfort zone. Several of my close business friends who have made a move say it significantly improved their productivity. There is something about going to work that keeps you focused on work.

Home has far too many distractions. Too easy to play ball with the dog instead of making those urgent phone calls. Equally, it can be difficult to switch off from work, and it's seductive to keep dipping into your business over the weekend and in the evenings.

Work is usually more successful if you have a dedicated area where you have some sort of physical boundary between your work and social life. An entire bedroom as your office means you can actually shut the door and walk away for a while, separate premises define those boundaries even more.

"I haven't mentioned costs yet!"

It can be quite a surprise. I started out working from home to save on those costs. It's worth finding out if that is a false economy or not. When taking into account the costs of venue hire, travel costs and endless cups of expensive coffee at meetings held in coffee bars, I was surprised to discover that the change was revenue neutral.

Of course, it does depend on how close to your home your premises are. One of the factors for my move is that it is five minutes from home. This cuts my unproductive time travelling to training venues down considerably.

At my last venue, it was half an hour travelling time each way plus the need to be there half an hour ahead to welcome early arrivals and time at the end to remove posters on walls and branding materials. There are times when this has added a total of 2 hours to the length of my day.

The expense will eventually reduce even further. Another reason for the move is my plans to expand and bring on other trainers which will mean the room occupancy during the week increasing without additional costs.

"With any office space, unless you've had it purpose built there will be compromises!"

There are also changes I will have to make to my working life. Most of them I have anticipated and are probably for the better. My tip for you this week is to make your own analysis of what is best for you before investing in offices or premises, but on the other hand, take note when your situation changes and be prepared to move out of your comfort zone.

I look forward to writing another blog post in twelve months time on how the move turned out. Who knows where it might take me? Like I said, exciting times ahead!

Until next time ...


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