January 4, 2019
Offices can be expensive places to run, which is just one of the reasons more and more businesses are surviving without them. Even as they start to grow, business owners realise that an office is a cost they do not need and that the money could be spent in better ways. Of course, there will always be some businesses it is not suitable for, but for those that can get around it, how do they manage without what has always been the hub of many companies?
You may be surprised that there are huge numbers of businesses that operate from home. It is not just the business owners either. Employees also work from home and that saves the cost of the office space and is often paid to them as a better wage. It also means that they do not have the morning rush hour to navigate, and they do not have to bother to dress up unless they are going to attend a virtual meeting.
Technology means that a business owner can stay in touch with employees all the time, and with things such as Skype, Whatsapp, and Messenger, it does not cost a fortune.
It allows mothers to get back to work, as they can still do school runs and take care of little ones, although they may have to do a few less hours because of these responsibilities.
Working from home means that the hours can be more flexible, and this is great if you are dealing with customers in another time zone. It can be very impressive when they get a response in what they know would be late at night in England, and when they did not expect a reply for a few hours.
There is software that will monitor the hours your employees work, so if you want to be certain that they are working the hours you are paying them for use time and attendance software.
For some business owners, outsourcing work is better than employing people. It really depends on the type of business you are running. There are not many tasks you will not find a freelancer or agency capable of doing, and the beauty is that you only pay them for any work they complete. It also means you do not have the onerous PAYE scheme to run, and will not have to pay employers national insurance.
On the face of it, freelancers and agencies might seem expensive, but when you take into account that there is no sick pay, holiday pay, maternity pay or any of the other pays that come with being an employer, they are not that costly at all.
You can also get access to expertise that otherwise might have been out of reach. A graphic designer, for instance, would cost a lot of pounds to employ. If you are paying them for just a few hours week each month though, they suddenly become more affordable.
There are bookkeepers, social media managers, virtual assistants to answer your phones and deal with your emails and people out there that can efficiently do just about any job you would need someone for.
Usually, a price is agreed per job, and that is what you pay even if they underestimated how long it would take them. Even much larger companies have stuck with outsourcing for some tasks, as they have built relationships and are happy with the level of work.
Cloud computing is safer than having thing stored on your hard drives. If you have a break in and your computers are trashed, or if there were a disaster such as a fire or a flood, you would lose most things, except for perhaps anything you have backed up and kept the backup elsewhere.
This problem does not arise with cloud computing, everything is there safe and sound no matter what event befalls your business. If you have managed IT services, you should discuss this with your provider. As well as being there to support the IT part of your business and to solve any problems as they arise, they are also very well versed in things such as cloud computing and will be able to help you to sort this out. They will be able to make sure you pick the correct software that best suits your needs, and often have support 24 hours a day.
With cloud computing, you and others could be looking at the same document at the same time. This can help to reduce the number of errors and of duplicated work.
With most people, if you mention automation in the workplace, they visualise the large robotic arms in factories or the kitchens that now have robots working in them. Robotics has created automation that can be used in any business, including yours.
Incoming phone calls can be monitored and you will be reminded if you need to call someone back. Emails are dealt with in a personal way, just as though you had replied yourself.
You can be given daily reports on sales, views, and where they have come from at the push of a button, and just about the only thing office automation cannot do is make the tea
One of the best things about automation is that robots do not make mistakes. If you have an automatic program for your accounts, for instance, you can guarantee the profit they show will be correct.
Regardless of whether you are using automation, outsourcing, cloud computing or any of the other suggestions, you need the best technology you can afford. Hopefully, by not having the expense of running an office, you will be able to by the best for your requirements, as it is not much use having a computer, for instance, that cannot handle a piece of software you need to use.
You should compare prices and platforms to see which is the best for your business. Some people swear by Apple equipment, where others will only use Microsoft. To some extent, it is what you are used to, but this is something else that your managed IT services provider will be able to assist you with.
One of the problems of not having an office is storage space, but you can get over this by going green. You really do not need a paper copy of everything if you are using cloud computing and think of the cost savings on paper, ink and printer accessories if you are not printing everything out. As well as the costs, you will save a lot of time too.
An automated email server will keep all the important emails for you, and anything you outsource, the freelancer or agency will have a copy of as well. Encourage your employees to go green as well, and then you will not only be doing your bit for the environment, you will be saving money at the same time.
If you rent an office the costs can mount up very quickly. There is not just the rent to pay. You will also have to find rates, electric bills, phone bills, cleaning, staff welfare, and insurance to name just a few. There are many more, and if there is any way you can run your business without the cost of an office that is exactly what you should do. That will be reflected in your bottom line, and then you will see that it has been worth forgetting the office.
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