You start your company and you're really nervous and excited all at once. And you're starting to hire and grow. Even more exciting! Next up is office space of course, but do you really need it? Are you sure you want to undertake this. I mean of course if you're in a services business or a storefront it goes without saying, you need it. But if you're not, there are a million reasons to rethink the office space scenario. Don't do it just because everyone else seems to!
But to be successful at the 'distributed work environment' you need the right type of people to work at your company. People that value things higher than normal day to day camaraderie and workplace banter are really the folks that work well in this scenario.
In general, the younger workforce tends to like the office environment better. Nicholas Bloom, cofounder of the Chinese travel website Ctrip found out for himself when he tested the notion on half of his staff for nine months. When asked who liked the work-from-home option for an HBR interview he described people who did well working from home as "people who have established social lives--older workers, married workers, parents. We found that the younger workers whose social lives are more connected to the office tend to not want to work from home as much."
At Dasheroo we've found the following to be true for our distributed environment.
1. Get a Life
You and your team are in familiar surroundings, your own home! Some say that they work better at home than they do with all of the distractions that an office brings. Even when you've got laundry to do, dishes piling up, it's necessary to take a break and do some of that. One thing we've found is to set up an "office" at home. It doesn't have to take up an entire room, but that's the place where work gets done.
And at Dasheroo we've found that the type of person who works well wants to spend more time at the house, driving their kids to school, and the things one gets to do that they'd find hard to if they were commuting to an office for hours on end.
2. Collaboration Is Easy
Never before has there been a time where there are a multitude of awesome tools available to work and tools much more instant that your email inbox, which still works wonders.
3. Gain More Hours in a Day
People tend to work harder and put more hours in when they work from home. There is less time for people to get ready for work (PJ's until 11!) and there is no more commute time. According to a report from Michael Sivak at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, an organization that studies transportation safety and sustainability the average commute time for a New Yorker is 40 minutes and the average for Detroit is 20 minutes. So if you have 5 employees that commute 1 hour each way you instantly gain 10 hours of manpower each day! Now that's powerful.
4. Save ALOT of Money!
Office space can be a real tax on your bank account especially if you're in a larger city. If you need to get the team together WeWork and co-working office spaces like it are a great way to get everyone together for a once a week/month gathering.
5. Geography Doesn't Matter
As long as your team doesn't care about working the hours you want them to, then you've just opened up a whole new world when it comes to hiring the right people. Gone are the days of having to compete with your larger competition who has the cool office down the street. You can get some amazing people that aren't in the cool big city and are appreciative for what you offer.
So think twice about plopping down a ton of money for an office space, especially if you don't need it. One last item? You won't have to interrupt your workday for those annoying fire drills!