You are scheduling a meeting with a fellow business owner and ask them if you can meet at their office. You’re in the middle of a reorganization process at your own office, so you figured it’d be better to meet elsewhere. They reply by saying they don’t have a physical office, they do all their work and coordination digitally. Intrigued, you ask a little bit more about the digital office and then eventually move on and set up to meet at the local coffee house. As you hang up the phone you start wondering if you could benefit from closing down your physical office and setting up a digital one. But, is this best for your business?
Here are some of the pros and cons of having a physical office.
Having a physical location will come in handy when you need to meet with clients. You will look more professional greeting your clients in your own office space rather than meeting them at a local coffee house or restaurant. You will also avoid awkward conversations with clients about not being able to meet at your office.
Having a physical location is a big benefit for communication. Being able to talk to employees face-to-face tends to be easier than messaging back and forth. It usually is the fastest way to communicate and is better when working creatively. With digital messaging, people have a chance to filter what they say which is not always the best when you are trying to bounce several ideas off each other.
One of the big pros of having a physical location is that there are fewer distractions for you and your employees. When all of you come to work, you know you are there to work; there is no television, pets or people to distract you from doing work. You have a designated space and time where all work can be completed and the line between office and home is drawn clearly.
Having a physical location is a significant business expense. It won’t be cheap to keep all of your employees in one space, and depending on how many employees you have will play a big part in how expensive your rent will be. You will also incur the utility bills that go with the office space, so you’ll need to factor that into your considerations.
A cheaper option if you do want a physical office might be a shared office space.
Having a physical location will limit the growth of your business when you are ready to expand. You will have a set amount of space and room to add in more equipment and employees. Unless you are willing to move your office, this is something to consider if you are a rapidly growing business.
There is no avoiding the next generation of workers; it is going to happen no matter what. With that being said, a lot of millennials are now working as free lancers or are used to the idea of working from anywhere. It is becoming more common to work within a digital office instead of a physical office. With digital offices becoming a natural work environment, you might be fighting an uphill battle when you start hiring millennials.
There is not a one-size-fits-all answer. You will need to make a decision based on what you think will work best for your office and your situation. If you don’t need a lot of face-to-face interaction and want to save money, the digital office might be your best option. Consider both the pros and cons and make the best decision for you and your business.
Meredith Kisow is a senior at LSU majoring in Mass Communication with a concentration in public relations. Meredith enjoys reading in her spare time.
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