This week is the last week I’m going to be working out of an office. My business partner and I have decided that we’re joining many other small businesses and going mobile. We’re going to live the life of the road warriors.
We are Arcturus Creative, a creative agency located in Tampa, Florida. We have a team of designers, social media experts and marketing strategists. Until now, we’ve had a small office that we’ve loved at the amazing Rialto Theater. Recently we’ve decided to give it up.
I’m sure many of you small business owners and entrepreneurs have considered this option before. Some of you may have even taken the leap. Here are some of the reasons behind our decision.
1. Doing business usually means being away from the office
Every day, we’d go to the office. Inevitably, we’d be pulled away for meetings with clients, networking events, lunch meetings or any number of other day to day activities required to run a business. Fact is, we just weren’t there there that often during business hours.
When we did need a stationary spot to work, a coffee shop, The Tampa Club, The Oxford Exchange, or any number of other options usually were closer and more convenient. Not to mention they usually had better coffee!
We’ve never had a client have an issue with meeting us somewhere in public. When we needed a private space to work, we’ve been able to use the conference rooms at these locations.
2. We just didn’t get as much done at the office
Most of the time when we were at the office, it was full of distractions. Employees needing questions answered, phone calls, general conversation, or any number of other things served as distractions. Being in a single location where everyone knows how to find you means that blocking off time to be uninterrupted becomes difficult if not impossible. I’ve found that when I was working remotely, the questions, emails, phone calls, etc still came in, but I had some leeway in when I answered them. This allowed me to finish the task at hand before I interrupted my workflow to respond to correspondence.
3. The office was an unnecessary expense.
Every month, we had to pay rent. Paying the rent check when we weren’t there all that often always felt like a waste of money. The thought occurred to us that the money we were spending on rent could get us another employee, or new equipment, or any number of other things. It simply boils down to opportunity cost. The fixed expense each month was money we could be using to grow our business.
When we need to meet with clients, co-work spaces or private dining clubs offer a much more comfortable location for meetings, and usually they have very reasonable prices for conference room rentals. In fact, in an average month, we would spend much less money with club membership and room rentals than we would spend on a fixed office space.
4. Technology made the mobile office possible
These days we can do anything remotely. With our phones and laptops, we can manage projects, organize work teams and communicate with clients. We can manage our employees and give them more flexibility in their hours by using productivity tracking software.
Cloud based project management software, Google Documents, Dropbox and other online applications allow all of our office functions to be managed and organized via cloud. Connectivity is ensured via the proliferation of wi-fi and mobile tethering.
Every day new products are coming out to help us improve our productivity and workflow. Recently, we decided to look into portable second screens that were mobile. We discovered that Displaylink technology can be a USB powered second monitor. These days technology has largely made the office obsolete.
5. Having a mobile office means increased flexibility
If your business is like ours, your clients haven’t all conveniently moved to the same neighborhood. Chances are they’re spread out all over town, or even around the world. By untethering, we now have the flexibility in place to work from anywhere in the world. For example, the picture of Jupiter Beach I took the other day that is at the top of this article. Anywhere we can get cell data reception, or wifi now becomes our mobile office. Our Macbook Pros and iPhones contain all the tools we need to run our business.
Are there any cons?
There is always the possibility that some potential clients may take us less seriously because of our lack of a physical location, but frankly, most of our clients are more concerned with our work and results than what our office looks like. Having a professional website that showcases our work and who we are is more important these days than having a physical office. In addition, we have clients who are very happy with our work who are happy to give us solid referrals.
Managing our employees may also be a hurdle to work through, but we believe that our team will appreciate the additional freedom and that our project management workflow will continue as always. Putting in good reporting tools and communication will keep productivity levels as effective if not better than they are today.
We’re going mobile! Goodbye to the office
These days more and more businesses have gone mobile, we’re looking forward to joining their ranks. I believe that freeing up the revenue will increase our flexibility in running our business and being able to move as we need to in business will only increase our productivity and growth. And frankly… I’m really looking forward to working from the beach!
UPDATE: We’re staying a little while longer
Since I wrote this article, my awesome landlords at the Rialto Theater talked to us and offered us a proposition to stay in our space. We love our office there, and we’ve since decided to stay a little while longer. The interesting thing is that the reasons we wanted to go remote are still valid, so we’re going to adopt that model and try to repurpose the space we have to add value to our business. I’ll keep posting updates on this blog as we figure out how to leverage the space better for our business.