Bigger Office vs Self Storage – Where is the Tipping Point?
29th November 2017
Traditionally, the natural progression for any business has been to pursue growth. More clients, more customers, more services, more products, more staff; and ultimately, this leads to moving to bigger premises.
Moving to a larger office is a statement of intent. It’s a coat-hook to hang your hat on in the hall of egos; it’s great PR, gives your stakeholders confidence that things are on the right track and most of all, affords the business a bigger status.
The larger office is a necessity if you need extra room to house more staff – there’s no getting away from that.
However, in a world that is flirting with a technology revolution, bigger isn’t always better.
Putting the concept of the lean startup to one side, businesses that are going through the process of growth – especially those accelerating up the growth curve – need to challenge whether or not they’re maximising the space that they have.
How much of your office space is being used efficiently? If you store files, have goods and stock, does this need to be stored at the office – or is just an assumption that it has to take office space?
According to a study by Instant Offices, the average cost of office rent across the whole of the UK is between £200-£1,400 per month per person employed. If we take the mean average from that figure, the average cost is £800 per month per person, an annual cost of £9,600 per staff member. That’s quite a lot to invest unless it is a mandatory move.
Of course, London costs skew those figures – especially when compared to a young city like Cardiff.
Regardless, the principle stays the same; it is far more cost-effective to utilise all your current space in an as efficient manner as possible to save increased office costs. Not forgetting the actual cost of moving such as negotiating an exit from the current lease, legal fees, as well as the downtime experienced with actually making the move (we’ll not go over the stress, time and energy that the whole process takes out of you).
So what is the alternative to larger, more expensive offices?
A simple solution could be self storage.
Using indoor and outdoor self storage units to house stock, files and any other equipment can free up space for extra staff to be brought on; all whilst not disrupting the growth of the business and incurring a fraction of the cost.
The flexible nature of the agreement means that the business isn’t tied into a lengthy lease, with many self storage firms offering very reasonable terms on the length of occupancy. Also, the average cost of self storage can be as low as £25 per month per 100 square foot. If we assume that 100 square foot is enough room for one person (a generous estimation) it is clear that self storage space is a fraction of the cost of office space.
Some businesses choose to store files and records that they either want to keep or are duty bound by industry regulations, whilst others opt to store non-essential items that do not require daily use such as excess marketing material, printed brochures and even exhibition stands. However, even for daily items, it is possible for the move to work. What is needed is just simple planning and responsibility. Ensuring that the self storage unit is close proximity to the office is a helpful move, given the frequency of which the business will require access.
Some businesses have a dedicated team or member of staff who accesses the unit en route to or from the office – and given the ability to have 24-hour access, it doesn’t drain precious working time away from the business.
In an environment where increasing office rents and hidden management charges can turn leases sour, or even drive businesses out of business, exploring self storage as an option should be a consideration for those businesses who are able to make a little more room in their current home. This applies to home workers who may be clogging up every room in their house but aren’t ready or in a position to make the leap to an office. Also, it’s a great way to bridge the gap between hotdesking and a full-time office.
As we sit on the cusp of the technology revolution, we must challenge our traditional methods and accept that flexible – and sometimes non-conventional – methods can suit our needs far better whilst being substantially more cost-effective.