For decades, the corner office represented a special place – the place where important company executives held court while enjoying a panoramic view through walls of glass.

However, times have changed. The corporate office is undergoing a transformation, evolving to better integrate technology. Smartphones, tablets, texting, emails, office network servers, and open-space work stations are replacing the corner office. And cube farms, with row after row of cubicles, are being replaced by more progressive company leaders who recognize that today’s new hires have expectations beyond a cubicle.

Office space is expensive. Closed office doors lessen the likelihood of effective collaborations between coworkers at all levels. Today, communication with staff can take place anywhere using a variety of collaboration tools online.

Company owners look for ways to reduce business expenses while increasing company productivity, and the days of the corner office may, indeed, be numbered. Today, company management needs to interact with employees at all levels. The company loading dock employees may have good ideas on improving shipping and receiving, while saving the business operating expenses. All you have to do is ask these people who perform the work every day. They’ll tell you how to boost productivity – do less with more – because these are the men and women who actually perform the workplace tasks.

Create Workplace Zones

Instead of cubicles or offices, open space encourages interaction between employees. No more checking to see if the corner office door is closed. The manager/decision maker is right there, working alongside the rest of the team to deliver the most desired outcomes.

Doors that once separated management from staff are disappearing. However, the need to define work spaces is still critical when planning the office layout.

For example, the quiet zone is the place to concentrate, to write up the new proposal, to read the latest industry news. It’s a defined space where office chit-chat stops, and creativity flourishes.

The social zone may be the break room where the team enjoys social interaction. It’s likely to be a louder, but comfortable, space to engage coworkers on a social level. Sure, coworkers talk business in the break room, but they may also talk about upcoming weekend plans.

Create defined work spaces within the office. Places where employees won’t be interrupted, and other places where it’s time to relax.

Small Business and Shared Space

Shared workspaces, sometimes called coworking spaces, continue to grow in popularity – especially among small business owners and managers who recognize that, with today’s technology and workplace connectivity, staffers don’t need a big office, a big desk, lots of square footage, and potted plants.

Today, office employees communicate with clients and remote site co-workers using tablets, laptops equipped with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), smart phones, personal data assistants (PDAs) and other “tools of the trade” to boost business productivity and lower office space costs. If your team can share space, you don’t need as much of it. That can lower operational costs from day one.

Other companies are foregoing the long-term business lease, preferring instead to rent needed office space by the day, week, month – in some places, you can meet a client in a well-equipped office that you rent by the hour.

Renting these small business spaces as needed saves company resources. There’s no need to purchase office furniture or office equipment. With some of these “rent-by-the-day” offices, you even get a receptionist, and maybe even an assistant to perform routine data entry chores. Shop around to get the most services at the lowest cost.

Freelancers

Another way to lower the cost of running your business is to employ freelancers to handle everything from bookkeeping to proposal creation. These professionals are only paid for the work performed. You don’t have to pay benefits, you don’t have to purchase another work station, and you don’t need more floor space and a dozen more cubes.

Using smart phone and VoIP technology, remote site workers can access information and management input from their home offices. Your business only pays for work performed, and you’re never tethered to a single employee. If one freelancer doesn’t work out, it’s simple to find another to do the job.

Telecommuting also enables business associates to “bring your own device” (BYOD), using their smartphones, their computers, their tablets. As the business owner, you can set access parameters to company information for each freelancer you employ. For example, your freelance bookkeeper might need full access to company account information to perform his or her assigned tasks. On the other hand, your company’s legal advisor might only require “view only” permission to access company books.

The Day of the Virtual Office Has Arrived

A lot of small companies have eliminated the business office altogether. The small business owner works from home. The comptroller has their office in a spare room at their home. The marketing team uses video-conferencing and online collaboration tools to get more done in less time, and at a lower cost.

Using a virtual office just might be the best idea for your growing business or start-up. Using rent-by-the-hour office space solves the problem of meeting new clients, and BYOD cuts down on out-of-pocket company costs. You don’t have to buy a dozen work stations when your company is managed using virtual office technology.  Perhaps you keep a small main headquarters, with most of your staff working in home offices.

So, before you lease a big office with an iron-clad rental agreement, look at how today’s businesses use technology and by-the-day office rentals to lower expenses while boosting business productivity.

Bottom line? You don’t need a corner office when you and your virtual team can work from home using your own digital devices. In today’s supercharged business environment, the corner office is an unnecessary expense and a drain on company resources.

 


The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.