How Important is Location to Modern Business?
In recent years there has been a definite decline in the belief that location is all important to the success of a business. Digital companies particularly have taken advantage of the reduced costs and flexibility that working from a virtual office can offer. In a highly globalised world where so much trade is done online, it seems to matter less where your office is located as long as you are easily accessible by virtual means.
However, in certain circumstances a prestigious location can still offer benefits for many businesses. Let’s look at the advantages a central office can offer to companies, large and small, and whether this option is right for you.
Good for Sales
Many companies now employ staff around the world able to access central files through cloud computing and who can easily network with each other via voice; video; instant messaging; and screen share due to the availability and affordability of business communication software. Working in their own environment is often good for creative and support staff however it can be a little more problematic for some key areas of the business. Finance, Human Resources and particularly sales staff can often benefit from being able to work in a central physical location, at least for part of the week. This is because sales staff often thrive better in a busy working environment, especially one where they are part of a highly motivated team. It’s also easier to set up client meetings when you have a physical location where you can entertain them.
Good for Clients
Clients too will often place more trust in a business which they can visit and where they can meet with some of your key staff. While virtual meetings can be valuable in some circumstances it’s often easier to win new business when you hold meetings face to face. A prestigious address also helps to underscore the message that your business is thriving. However, maybe you don’t want to go to the lengths of taking on a long lease and ultimately becoming responsible for the infrastructure of a property and the subsequent high costs for maintenance.
A solution many businesses have opted for, which offers both flexibility and the benefits of a central address, is working from a serviced office. As well as providing a physical location, serviced offices also come fully equipped and provide support staff and maintenance, all with no long-term commitment. If you need to relocate or your employee numbers grow rapidly you can change offices easily.
Good for Employees
If you have a physical office based in or near a large city or town you can often choose from a larger pool of prospective employees. For new employees there’s also no doubt it’s easier to train people face to face than by virtual methods. Even if your plan is ultimately to allow people to telecommute, those first few days, weeks or months based in the office, where induction and in-house training can take place, can have a big impact on levels of employee engagement and long term productivity.
Being office based can also be good for the career path of staff as it allows you to give them access to further training. If you are based in a prime location near a university campus you can encourage staff to undertake a part-time degree course alongside their employment. This is great for the business as you benefit from the additional skills and great for the staff member and their future career.
With so many benefits offered by a central office location it is something which shouldn’t be ruled out, whatever type of company you run. Location independence is a popular buzzword, but that doesn’t mean it’s always the right decision where your employees and clients are concerned and nor is it always the best option for the profitability of your organisation. If you look to the majority of blue chip companies you see that most of them retain physical offices, even if they outsource many of their departments. If it is the best option for them you may also want to consider the many benefits it can offer your business.