Finding the best environment for a startup office space is an important decision that can have a profound effect on one’s ability to work most effectively. There are several factors to consider, including price, location, size, convenience, and many more. Here is a rundown of some of the most common startup workspaces and their advantages and drawbacks:
The home office could probably be considered the “default” startup office space. Many startups begin in a home office. The first incarnation of many of the world’s largest and most successful companies were found in home offices.
Pros: Home offices offer the lowest possible cost for people who don’t have the money or need for an external office space. The home office allows people who are starting a business to keep their current lifestyle, or even their current job, while trying to grow their new business. Another important consideration is that eliminating the commute back and forth from home and work saves valuable time that can be spent on the needs of the business.
Cons: Running a business from your home can make it difficult to separate your work and home life. Commitment and long hours are a way of life for entrepreneurial ventures, but sometimes having a home office can cause unnecessary stress that would be avoided by an external office space. There is also an aspect of legitimacy that comes with having an office outside of one’s home. Your home is generally not an ideal setting for meetings with clients, business partners, or prospective customers.
Traditional Office Space
Most businesses are located in some form of a traditional office space. A traditional office space is generally a relatively open, unfurnished “blank slate” that can be adapted for the needs of a startup office. They are often located in commercial areas and surrounded by other businesses in similarly constructed office spaces.
Pros: Because the traditional office space is the most abundant type of commercial rental property, it is likely that you can find something close to what you are looking for in terms of physical space for your startup office. You can meet people in a more professional setting than a home office.
Cons: The leases for traditional offices are generally for longer terms than many entrepreneurs who are looking for a startup office space would prefer. The commitment and potentially high overhead cost of a traditional office space can be a serious drawback to an entrepreneur. What if your company grows beyond what the office can currently accommodate? You must also remember that traditional office spaces are also basically…just space. You still need to consider the costs of furnishing the office with the basic office necessities like land line phones, chairs, desks, office Wi-Fi, etc.
Furnished/Fully staffed Offices
A furnished office is a completely furnished space with chairs, desks, meeting rooms, and everything else that a startup office should need. Many furnished offices are fully staffed office spaces, so the costs of a receptionist, secretary, cleaning services, maintenance, etc. are often included in the monthly rental price.
Pros: A furnished office can take a lot of the hassle out of setting up an external office space. The transition from your current startup space can be much faster and easier than moving into and furnishing a traditional office space. There is no real need for downtime when moving into a furnished office. A furnished office can also be a great place to meet clients as many furnished offices are elegantly decorated and have modern or upscale styling and décor.
Lease terms for furnished offices are also much more ideal for a startup company. Short-term leases and month-to-month rates are commonly available with furnished offices. You can also pay for only what you need, rather than getting a space that is larger and planning for growth. If you need a conference room, you can often rent them by the hour or day, rather than paying for space that is only used a fraction of the time.
Cons: The rental costs for furnished and fully staffed offices are generally higher than other office space alternatives. The shorter lease terms, flexibility, and office furnishings come with higher prices, but they also eliminate many of the hidden secondary expenses of a traditional office space.
The latest trend in startup office space is called a co-working space. These are basically furnished spaces that freelancers, entrepreneurs, or anyone else who wants to work in an external work environment can come and work. The space is generally an open area where people can come and use the resources and workstations available by paying a monthly fee or by the visit.
Pros: The collaborative and forward thinking atmosphere of a co-working space is especially attractive to entrepreneurs. There are great opportunities to network with people who have similar interests and get feedback on your ideas. It allows people to interact in a laid-back startup office space environment and avoid the isolation that can be felt in a home office setting.
Cons: Working in an open office environment can make it hard to work without interruption. People talking around you while you are on the phone with a client or stopping by for a chat may be counterproductive for some people. Co-working spaces also lack the comfort of having your very own office space to meet with clients.
Are you an entrepreneur? What is your preferred office environment?