Not very long ago in the Small Business World when we discussed shrinking office spaces it was all about removing cubicles, sharing desks, and setting up collaborative workspaces.
Wow have things changed.
The latest reports indicate that we are not even out of this first wave of the pandemic, so it seems that work from home isn’t going away anytime soon. That means potentially a lot of empty desks, which brings up the question, “Why am I shelling out so much money for all this vacant space?”
Back in 2015, the rising costs of real estate had small business owners looking for ways to operate and continue to grow, while occupying smaller spaces. In the time since, lots of articles and blogs have focused on it. Books on new ways to collaborate and the death of the cubicle were written about it. Still, in the five years since, very few small business owners were sold on this whole work from home thing.
Nothing incentives and motivates change like a crisis.
A New Work from Home Attitude
Before 2020, despite years of advocacy surrounding the potential benefits of working from home, most businesses viewed it as more an option for the affluent few than as a sustainable model. Only about 7% of private industry and 4% of state and local workers in the United States had access to work from home or flexible workspace options, and the majority of those were managers and well-paid white-collar workers. Small business workers with work from home options made up less than 1% of that number.
That all changed in February-March of 2020 – and there were growing pains.
With quarantines and state-wide shutdowns, those businesses not deemed as essential had to choose between offering work from home options or closing down entirely for an unknown amount of time. This hit small businesses very hard. For those with a workforce capable of working from home, what followed was a scramble to get remote access options setup. Not only were there challenges in getting the hardware configured, establishing work-from-home policies, and figuring out the best ways to remain in contact and collaborative, but hackers and other cybercriminals leapt upon the opportunity, attacking Communication Platforms and focusing on Credential Phishing, among others.
At CLARK, we’ve seen this change and experienced these challenges firsthand. We’ve been helping small businesses get securely setup for remote work, resolving work from home problems for our residential clients, and testing new communication platforms and remote access portals, while staying abreast of all the security threats out there. The thing is, despite all these challenges, it works.
Seriously, after getting through these initial growing pains, businesses all over the country are discovering what advocates of it have been saying for years – there are far more employer and employee benefits of working from home than anyone ever thought, including:
- fewer late arrivals and absences
- fewer deadlines missed
- an overall higher employee morale
- an overall higher rate of productivity
Work from home has been so successful in the business world, that many corporations are beginning plans to implement it even after we eventually emerge this pandemic, and small businesses are following suit.
With new tools growing ever more secure, including communication platforms that allow teams to remain in contact and collaborate in new and creative ways, there is a lot to be excited about in this new paradigm.
What does this mean for your current Office Space?
As we mentioned above, small business owners are beginning to ask themselves why they’re shelling out so much money for vacant space.
That is a great question.
Real estate and payroll are typically the two biggest costs in a small business budget. No one wants to downsize their workforce and with these now proven work from home tools and models, the ability to decrease your budget while keeping or growing your workforce and increasing profits has never been more realistic. Sure, there are factors to consider, like where you are in your lease and how much space you need for storage, among others. Every business is different, but for those with a workforce who can work from home, downsizing the current office space is a realistic option.
The Way Forward
Of course, this means you have an office move in your future. Not only to get your business into a smaller space, but in many cases, it’s going to involve relocating office-based personnel to their home offices. One of the most important security aspects of having employees work from home is ensuring that they are not using personal equipment. There is nothing more dangerous to maintaining a secure work environment than personal computers. Without the ability to control access, monitor usage, and get alerted to potential threats such as viruses and malware, your entire business is vulnerable.
As Darren has recently pointed out, IT Moves Don’t Have to be Hard. With a little preparation, the process of getting into that smaller space doesn’t have to be scary, and we can help. Historically speaking, planning an office move should begin 6-12 months before the actual move, so now is the time to start. At CLARK we have a great deal of experience with office moves. Beyond that, we have a large base of residential customers – not only can we get your employees setup in their home offices, we’ll also support them when they need help.
Whether or not you’re ready to pull the trigger on this, at the very least, it is something to consider. If you have questions, we can help. Check out our Technology Move Services and Home Technology pages to see what we do for you. Once you experience our proven White Glove Processes, you’ll understand what we mean by experience The CLARK Difference.
Stay safe out there.
I’ve always had a love of working with technology, being fortunate enough to have grown up with a grandfather who taught me how to fix things for myself and not be afraid to jump in and get my hands dirty. Over the last three decades I’ve worked as a technician, trainer, technical writer, and manager with small businesses, enterprise level organizations, and government, picking up a lot of skills on my journey. In addition, I’m an author, having published multiple works available online and in print.