Do you have one?
We have decided to have an office at Reach Further, although Sue and I work remotely for the Institute, and Sue herself is completely online. We have an office because as a training company, we need somewhere to host our classroom based courses (yes, we run them online as well!) and the office on site is a bonus. Mostly because the stationery, printing, photocopying etc all have to take place or be stored somewhere, and a central resource makes practical sense.
However, we are a small company, and it’s easy to imagine how remote working might work for us, the issues gets bigger for bigger companies.
I remember one of the senior managers at BT at a flexible working think-tank telling me how difficult it was when they reduced their office space by two thirds, to create a new central co-working space in Leeds. No longer would he have his own desk, door, filing cabinet. . . . He too identified the problem as being one of “where do I put all my stuff?”, and even admitted to pulling rank and booking out a meeting room pretty much solidly for the first two weeks, as he couldn’t see an easy solution to doing without his paperwork. He concluded that understanding that remote working also means paperless working is a major part of adapting to the change.
There are some interesting thoughts around this question on one of my favourite networks – Quora – where a startup is asking if they need an office at all. It’s started a generous discussion, but not one person in the Quora discussion has mentioned the paperless/storage – instead talking about how much better “face to face” contact is than online. Do you agree?
See how others have answered the question “ To what extent can a startup work without an office? What are some good examples of remote working teams?” at Quora.