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Downsizing your office, what to consider

Julie Lord
 


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There are lots of reasons why you might need to downsize your office. Perhaps rents have risen or work has dried up. Or maybe you just want to shorten your commute from 30 minutes to 30 seconds. Whatever your reasons behind the decision you'll have quite a few things to think about during the transition.

Permissions

Before you begin the process, you will need to ensure you are allowed to use your home to run a business. Even some freehold properties may have covenants in the deeds limiting the business activities that can take place.

Meetings

You will need to decide how to arrange to meetings. If you mostly need to meet with customers you may be able to get away with visiting them at their home or offices. For some meetings, however, you may need to hire a meeting room on an hourly basis so be sure to factor that into your budget.

Procrastination and distractions

Be realistic about this one. There's no point in working from home if it means you don't actually do any work. If you are likely to be distracted by household tasks that you would otherwise have ignored then perhaps working from home isn't for you. Equally, if your family are going to keep interrupting whilst you are working you may find your productivity drops. Consider having a rule that once the office door is closed you can only be contacted by phone – just like when you had a rented office to escape to.

Work-life balance

The other side of this is when having your office on the other side of the hallway means you can't switch off from work. Keeping your work contact details separate from your personal ones means you can turn off your work computer and leave the work mobile in the office at the end of the day. You may also want to use a mail service to disguise your office so you don't risk customers knocking on your front door.

Documents

Even very small businesses can end up needing to store large quantities of paper. Much of it might be redundant or you might be able to have it scanned into a virtual vault. If you still find you can't fit all the filing cabinets into your prospective home office you could always opt to rent a cheap storage unit and keep them there.

Furniture

If you own your own office furniture you will need to decide what, if any, you are keeping for your home office. Second-hand office furniture companies might be willing to take whatever you don't need off your hands but are unlikely to offer you a good price for it and, if you have the time and inclination, you may be better off selling it off through a small ads or auction site. If you find you have an awkward gap between quitting your offices and getting your excess furniture sold you could always consider using a self-storage unit for a few weeks.

With all these considerations sorted, you’re sure to find working from home a little easier to bear – you may even find you enjoy it much more than the traditional office environment!

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