Hot Tip: Send Employees Home
The thought of paying rent could make you want to ditch the corporate office altogether. That's what Janet Caswell did. As Caswell pondered space options for her accounting firm, Caswell & Associates, in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., she thought about the staffing and technology changes that were transforming her $650,000 firm. Employees increasingly wanted flexible schedules, and clients wanted specialized knowledge that Caswell could get most efficiently from part-time outsiders. Caswell realized she "didn't need to spend $22 a square foot just to have file cabinets."
So Caswell quite literally sent her people home. She gave up the 1,700-square-foot space and set up each employee -- herself included -- with his or her own home office. The cost was $200 to $500 a head for modems and extra phone lines; each new employee also requires a computer and a fax machine, at a per-employee total cost between $2,000 and $3,000. Since the transition, Caswell's phone bills have doubled. But all the costs together don't begin to approach the $3,000-plus a month she used to pay in rent.
This article was adapted from material that first appeared in Inc. magazine in July 1997.