As businesses look to cut costs and create a safe, flexible working environment, there is much talk about what people actually need from an office. While some organisations are scaling back their office space, others are asking if they need an office at all. What are the options for an office-less business? And what do you do with your staff and IT equipment? Shared work spaces and data centres are here to help.
How much does your office cost?
First let’s look at the motivation behind abandoning offices. It’s primarily a value-based decision – how much is this office needed vs how much it costs.
Office costs can be a huge burden on businesses:
- Service charges
Imagine wiping all that off your expenses. Your margins could look quite different.
For employees, too, the cost of commuting can run to thousands of pounds per year.
So, what are we getting for this money? What is the value of the office space? Could we all just work from home forever?
What is the value of the office?
The most obvious benefit to working together in person is the easy collaboration that happens when you sit near someone. Throwing around ideas, spontaneous ‘water cooler’ chat, the focus of being around other people up against the same deadline, etc.
But beyond collaboration, there are two big reasons to keep the office:
- Not everyone is able to work from home, either because they don’t have a suitable environment, or need the distraction-free environment of the office
- If your IT equipment and server stacks are already set up on-premise, a new home for them needs to be found before ditching the office entirely
Shared workspaces could be the answer
The good news is that you don’t necessarily need to return to your office to get the benefit of an office environment. Shared workspaces were increasing in popularity even before the COVID-19 pandemic began. A study conducted in Spring 2020 by Coworking Resources predicts:
Almost 5 million people worldwide will be working in shared workspaces by 2024, up from around 2 million in 2020.
The impact of the pandemic seems likely to increase the rate of growth, driven by both the employee’s desire to reduce their travel and the employer’s need to cut costs.
Shared workspaces are a fantastic alternative to the office:
- Short-term leases give you much greater flexibility
- Furniture, lighting, heating, and WiFi are all included in your monthly rate
- You can rent by the desk or lease an office, whichever works best for you
- Facilities such as meeting rooms are typically available for ad hoc rental, giving you the full office experience without the full cost
Coworking spaces are springing up around the country. With more than 1000 in the UK, we have the third largest shared workspace market worldwide. The advantage of this availability is that it increases the ability of employees to work near their homes, ditch that commute and avoid the associated health risks.
And what about your IT?
While shared workspaces offer built-in WiFi, you will be responsible for your own IT needs. That means you need to find a home for your IT infrastructure. Thankfully there is an IT equivalent of the shared workspace: the data centre, which can offer a full range of managed services.
Colocation services enable you to store your existing servers in a secure, purpose-built facility and maintain continued access to your data, wherever you are working. (We also have coffee machines, should you wish to visit!) We take care of your power, cooling and connectivity needs, ensuring your service is never interrupted and giving you the benefit of fixed monthly costs.
Cloud services enable continued access to your data from anywhere – and here you also get the benefit of someone else being in charge of the mechanics. No more server maintenance; it’s all taken care of. Migrating to the cloud gives you flexibility and easy scalability, but it does come with a few restrictions worth exploring before you make the leap.
Many organisations go for a hybrid model, utilising the cloud where it makes sense to do so and maintaining control of those applications with higher risk factors.
In any case, colocation or a combination of colocation and cloud, is the perfect support system for a move to a shared workspace office setup. Not only does it ensure you maintain continued access to your data, but it also gives you the added reliability that comes with using professional infrastructure management services.
No office? No compromise!
Although we’re hesitant to make any predictions, it’s clear that shared workspaces and colocation centres make a good match. By having a new solution for hosting your IT and a place for your employees to work, you can get rid of the office without causing any disruption to your business.
If you want to talk to someone about what managed infrastructure solution would be best for your business, get in touch.