Why companies don’t need offices

Zoe Hanks

Zoe Hanks

Zoe Hanks MSc, Managing Director, Grassroots Ideas Ltd. is our newest leader writer and we are delighted to welcome Zoë on board!.

Grassroots Ideas are a vibrant and passionate ethical communications and branding agency who are strong advocates of a more socially responsible way of thinking.

Zoë’s background in international Marketing, Branding, Communications and PR – along with her ‘glass half full‘ attitude to life and good sense of fun – delivers real tangible results to the businesses and individuals she works with.

This month Zoë, in line with our investigation into Social Enterprise, looks at Youth Entrepreneurship.

We recently moved our offices to a fantastic renovated mill, partly because we desperately needed the space as our home office was being renovated, but partly because we wanted to provide the right impression to our clients and having a bona-fide office address gave us this. Or so we thought.

Since then, I’ve been hearing more frequently that my misguided belief that we needed an office was just that, and in fact working remotely from home or at a customer’s office can actually boost your business.

We have often thought “what will we tell our customers”?. One of the biggest challenges I believed we would face if we encourage our employees not to be office based would be answering the question “Where is your company based”. How professional would it be if our Creative Designer said “In my spare bedroom”?

That is, until I read an article in the online edition of Forbes. I read about a Consulting firm in the US with almost 70 employees and get this – they did not have an office. Their Headquarters is a post office box; they have an Internet-based phone and a unified communications system. After several years of buying and maintaining corporate offices, the CEO finally admitted that his clients didn’t want to see his office or conference room. They wanted him to go to them.

About 18 months ago, the company decided to send all it’s employees into the field, where they could be more productive. That made a lot of sense for consultants and salespeople. But they also went further, dispersing their administrative workers. The person who handles billing, for example, now has a desk at the site of a longtime client.

At first a couple of clients did say something like, Let me get this straight: You gave up your office so you can use our office for free?”. But the CEO convinced them that any employee parked at their location could at least serve as a point of contact, helping ensure a smoother working relationship. Another positive aspect of this is that their employees are on-site 90% of the time – precisely because they don’t have an office to retreat back to.

Once I started thinking of all the benefits to our workforce, the list started to grow considerably :-

* Financial benefits of not having an office to maintain.

* Increased productivity for clients when more time spent on their site.

* Environmental impact of not having to travel as frequently.

* Less time travelling can mean more time for networking, business development etc.

* Increased staff motivation as employees likely to have much better work/life balances.

* Becomes a way of attracting new employees with flexible working practices.

* Employees don’t have to be North West based – they could be based anywhere in the UK or even the world drastically increasing the talent pool!

Of course, there are some pitfalls to not having an office where all your team is based – you may not experience the daily camaraderie that office based teams have, and it’s difficult to bounce ideas off each other when you have that “light-bulb moment”, but with the advent of modern technology (Skype is a favourite in our office!) we are convinced that moving to a “virtual office” is definitely right for our company.

So, as of the 1st September Grassroots Ideas will be goin Hanks MSc, Managing Director, Grassroots Ideas Ltd. is our newest leader writer and we are delighted to welcome Zoë on board!.

Grassroots Ideas are a vibrant and passionate ethical communications and branding agency who are strong advocates of a more socially responsible way of thinking.

Zoë’s background in international Marketing, Branding, Communications and PR – along with her ‘glass half full‘ attitude to life and good sense of fun – delivers real tangible results to the businesses and individuals she works with.

This month Zoë, in line with our investigation into Social Enterprise, looks at Youth Entrepreneurship.

We recently moved our offices to a fantastic renovated mill � partly because we desperately needed the space as our home office was being renovated, but partly because we wanted to provide the right impression to our clients � and having a bona-fide office address gave us this. Or so we thought.

Since then, I�ve been hearing more frequently that my misguided belief that we needed an office was just that, and in fact working remotely from home or at a customer’s office can actually boost your business.

We have often thought �what will we tell our customers�?. One of the biggest challenges I believed we would face if we encourage our employees not to be office based would be answering the question �Where is your company based�. How professional would it be if our Creative Designer said �In my spare bedroom�?

That is, until I read an article in the online edition of Forbes. I read about a Consulting firm in the US with almost 70 employees and get this � they did not have an office. Their Headquarters is a post office box; they have an Internet-based phone and a unified communications system. After several years of buying and maintaining corporate offices, the CEO finally admitted that his clients didn�t want to see his office or conference room. They wanted him to go to them.

About 18 months ago, the company decided to send all it�s employees into the field, where they could be more productive. That made a lot of sense for consultants and salespeople. But they also went further, dispersing their administrative workers. The person who handles billing, for example, now has a desk at the site of a longtime client.

At first a couple of clients did say something like, Let me get this straight: You gave up your office so you can use our office for free?”. But the CEO convinced them that any employee parked at their location could at least serve as a point of contact, helping ensure a smoother working relationship. Another positive aspect of this is that their employees are on-site 90% of the time � precisely because they don�t have an office to retreat back to.

Once I started thinking of all the benefits to our workforce, the list started to grow considerably :-

* Financial benefits of not having an office to maintain.

* Increased productivity for clients when more time spent on their site.

* Environmental impact of not having to travel as frequently.

* Less time travelling can mean more time for networking, business development etc.

* Increased staff motivation as employees likely to have much better work/life balances.

* Becomes a way of attracting new employees with flexible working practices.

* Employees don�t have to be North West based � they could be based anywhere in the UK or even the world � drastically increasing the talent pool!

Of course, there are some pitfalls to not having an office where all your team is based � you may not experience the daily camaraderie that office based teams have, and it�s difficult to bounce ideas off each other when you have that �light-bulb moment�, but with the advent of modern technology (Skype is a favourite in our office!) we are convinced that moving to a �virtual office� is definitely right for our company.

So, as of the 1st September � Grassroots Ideas will be goin

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*