From home office to small office: moving to your first office
8th Jun 2013 | 07:00
Identifying the crucial equipment
There comes a time when the small business you started in your home has got to that stage when what was formerly a bedroom or a box room is just too small and not fit for purpose.
This means it's time to plan to move everything out of the home and into proper office space. It could be for a variety of reasons. The family don't understand the concept of a closed door and they can be very distracting, or that your business is booming to the extent that the number of employees you now have is in excess of the space you can provide for them.
The first thing to think about is whether you need to rent an entire office or just a set of desks in a shared space.
Renting an office for your exclusive use means that any equipment can be stored there (taking the necessary security precautions). You can keep desktop computers and servers within the office and network them together as you see fit whether this is wired or wirelessly.
All employees can access the same data from the server from their desktop computers. It is important here to have some way of backing up this data and taking it offsite.
Also, workers that may need to work on dual (or multiple) monitors, such as designers, have enough space to carry out their jobs adequately and complete their tasks more easily.
At this stage it would probably be overkill to invest in top of the range routers and servers when entry level equipment will perform the vast majority of functions you need.
Working away from this office environment can mean that you will need remote access back to any data on your servers or desktop machines. Remote access software is necessary if you really need that sales presentation you were working on back in the office to show to a potential client at their office.
Renting desk space is another option for companies wishing to expand out of the home. While they normally provide telephones and internet access, all other IT equipment has to be only that which you can carry. This normally means a laptop and smartphone or perhaps even a tablet.
Working in a shared office space means that you have to keep your important business data somewhere it is accessible via the internet. The cloud is increasingly being used to provide storage accessible from any location as well as applications offered as software-as-a-service (SaaS).
The bonus here is that you are not limited to any particular location; as long as you have internet access you have your data and applications.
Using the cloud to store data and access apps can equally apply to those businesses that have their own exclusive office space. This is particularly useful if you wish to access data from a multitude of different devices or collaborate with fellow employees who may not be in the office when you are.
Whichever path you take, it requires planning to ensure the move out of the home office is the right one. This planning and thinking through the strategic decisions that led to this move will make it an overwhelming success.