• Simon Moir

Why we decided not to have an office-space

Hitobito officially started during COVID-19 which meant we started by working from home and we haven't looked back.

The truth is that we never had it in the plan to have an full-time space for at least the first 12 months, we considered a share-space or taking some space with another business (Itch Recruitment) but now its not something we would consider for the foreseeable future.

So what are the pros and cons about working from home?

Lets start with the negatives.

  • Perception of other businesses - interesting the expression that you see on peoples faces when you say you don't have a space, it seems that many see it still as a measure of your success or how serious you are about your business.

  • Motivation - yeah sure some mornings its tempting to not roll out of bed compared to the deadline of a start-time in a conventional office. We would be lying if we said it wasn't! Also, there isn't the same pressure on the days you just aren't feeling it to keep up with those around you (because there isn't anyone!), this can be countered with strong online communication with those around you to keep you accountable but it is something to be aware of.

  • Distraction - There are plenty of these and why we have found that having a dedicated space is critical to your success in getting through your work.

  • Perception of those you live with - those around you can fall into the trap of thinking that because you are at home that you can get everything done around the house as well as work your normal day. This has been a challenge to change these thoughts but over time those around you get to understand that your work day is like anyone else's.

  • The social side - this is the part that you have to manage carefully because I think many could fall into a world of solitude too easily. We are lucky that our clients are extremely sociable and welcome us into their space but really any local cafe or restaurant will treat you just the same (especially during these times).

The positives

  • Silence - the ability to control the noise around you is golden, you can quieten things down when you need and then use music or the television as background noise. You can adjust it to suit your mood without upsetting anyone else.

Queuing that playlist of tracks that take you back (now free of social ridicule and embarrassment) is a great way to switch mood.
  • Change your space easily - we can choose to easily move our office from the study to the backyard to change up the mood. Our business requires a mix of mind-numbing interpretation (just look at any of the awards!) as well as the creativity that goes into designing new employee engagement strategies. Adjusting your environment is a fantastic way of changing mindset.

  • Connectivity - we all got used to communicating over teleconference or video-conference over lockdowns and this has continued to work very well for us. We use Microsoft Teams as our main way of communicating between ourselves and it is far better as a reference point than the usual quick office chat that is often forgotten shortly after.

  • Cost - think if your office space actually saved you money. The home office is a tax deduction which is a vast change to the cost of running a commercial office. However, this should not be your driving force as there are many other factors that should come be considered above this.

  • It works for us... but we might not be the norm. Anne-Marie and I enjoy time to ourselves (I think I would be best described as an extroverted introvert) and have both found the workspace environment a massive distraction in the past. Having our own space, in fact our own homes many suburbs apart, means we can knuckle down without the distraction of others.

  • Time - this is both a positive and a negative. I find that I tend to not take as many breaks as I did in an office, there isn't the social distraction and you can get a days work done in at least half the time as being in an office (especially open plan).

Now, this can mean that you can fall into the habit of spreading your work out or smashing out a large project in half the time, but you have to make sure that you don't fall down too many rabbit holes and end up spending twice as long as normal because you dont have someone next to you to pull you back to the task at hand.

So in summary, it works for us but probably wouldn't be for everyone. That was very obvious during lockdowns where my wife (who runs a very successful business with a team of over 15) and eldest son struggle to stay on track without feeling like the walls are closing in on them! You have to be honest and about how you get the best out of yourself, otherwise you will find your work rate plummet and missing deadlines left, right and all over the place.

If you are thinking that it might be right for you then I would suggest giving it a shot but tread carefully and make sure you have the technology and support of those around you.

If you would like to have a chat about this further then please get in contact, always happy to share our experience.

Hitobito - HR consultancy for hospitality and retail

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