Much can be said about the pros that come with working in a home business. The dress code is usually relaxed, the commute is a breeze, and typically you don’t have to travel further than down the hall or up the stairs to the kitchen to get a bite to eat for lunch.
Yet most home business owners, at one point or another, find themselves in the awkward position of needing a more professional space to meet a client or hold a conference. Additionally, some feel uneasy about using their personal residence as their business mailing address. And while they might not need to go too far for coffee either, some home businesses are less interested in investing hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars into equipment like copiers or conference phones, unless they prove to be absolutely crucial to the business.
For the home business owner dealing with these challenges, there is an alternative to the much bigger cost and commitment of forgoing the home office and renting “straight space.” Office centers are a great option for business owners who work from home but occasionally need to step it up professionally. These workspaces oftentimes offer virtual office packages that include a professional mailing address, professional telephone answering service, and as-needed access to conference rooms or smaller, one-on-one meeting rooms complete with water, coffee and the like. These amenities can prove critical for the home business owner to conduct business with the utmost professionalism.
Videoconferencing is another service typically offered by office centers. Having this technology available for use can be huge for the home business owner, who may not have the equipment or technology available at the home office. Contracting this type of service also results in a greater cost savings in the travel expense category.
Another benefit to office centers are the people. Most office centers offer a receptionist on hand to welcome clients and answer phone calls. In general, office centers are staffed facilities, so there is usually someone present to lend a hand when business might not be running as smoothly as you’d expect, and you’re being pulled in one direction but something else needs to be taken care of simultaneously, At these times, having a professional staff member available to work with a client – rather than an impersonal voicemail greeting – can make a huge impact on your retention rates.
The people who work at an office center can also offer another intangible benefit – interpersonal interaction. One of the biggest downsides of working from home is the isolation some people feel, especially those who might have been used to the hustle and bustle of a traditional office and now only keep the company of their pet. In many office centers, a warm sense of community is cultivated, and business professionals can choose to be as involved (or not) with their work neighbors. Additionally, having a public space to meet with clients – as opposed to your personal residence, where it might very well only be the two of you meeting – offers a safe alternative.
One of the best attributes of using a virtual office package at an office center is the commitment, or lack thereof. Most workspaces usually allow you to sign up a month at a time (as opposed to a requirement of potentially years if signing a lease for straight space). Within this timeframe, you have the opportunity to test the waters, and see what types of services make sense, and what changes you might want to make in the future, based on your ever-growing business.
Office centers also offer the opportunity to for a home business to gain a more desirable address, without the hassle of moving. Should a need arise where the home business needs to either have a mailing address or office in the city, home business owners can reach out to office centers in their desired geographic market and contract for the necessary requirements – again without the long-term commitment.
Home businesses offer many perks, but do have some shortcomings. When a home business owner needs a more professional space or other professional services, an office center is a great addition that, more often than not, leads to further business success.