You might be wondering if it’s time to rent an office space if you have been working from home for a while. You may be among the business owners who have been forced to turn to remote work because of the COVID19 pandemic. If this is the case, you may be re-evaluating your previous office space and wondering if permanently working from home is the right move.

In this article, we will cover how renting an office space or working from home can affect the following aspects of your business:

  • Expenses
  • Networking and socialising
  • Commuting
  • Distractions
  • Meeting clients and professionalism
  • Flexibility and productivity

Expenses

The main disadvantage of renting office space for small business owners is its cost. It might seem unnecessary to pay for office rent when you can work from home for free, especially if your business is new and funds are limited.

Although you don’t have to pay rent on a home office, some hidden costs do apply. For example, your heating and electricity usage will be much higher if you’re at home every day. 

In addition, you might need to buy office furniture and upgrade your broadband or telephone service. However, you can claim some of this back from HMRC as tax relief on your Self Assessment tax return to help cover the costs of a home office. Learn more about what expenses you can claim when working from home here.

Networking and socialising

It can feel quite isolating when you work from home, especially if you’re stuck inside by yourself all day. But, on the other hand, a rented, shared office gives several opportunities for socialising and networking.

Collaboration with others or working together as a team is quick and easy when you’re in a shared space with them. You can use your office to organise meetings with your clients or attend events organised by other office members. Even simple things like chatting with people when you’re on your tea break can make a big difference and keep loneliness at bay if you’re a sociable person.

Remember that networking can also be a tool for promoting your business and spreading the word about what you do. Find out more about how to promote your small business here.

Commuting

When you work from home, there’s no commute, so you don’t waste any time. If you’re busy, this extra time is beneficial. If you’re less busy, it means you can have a lie-in or spend more time doing things you enjoy.

A rented office will require you to set aside time for commutes. The situation isn’t necessarily a bad one, though. A walk in the fresh air is a great way to get ready for the day if the commute is short.

If it’s a long commute, you can utilise your time. For example, you can reply to emails on the train, draft up plans on the bus, or listen to interesting podcasts in the car.

Commuting can be an extra expense, so if you’re self-employed and commute for work, you might be able to claim mileage on your Self Assessment tax return. Learn more about how to claim mileage here

Distractions

A rented office can be full of distractions if it’s shared with others. For example, people can be noisy when you’re trying to work, or they might stop by your desk for a chat when you’re right in the middle of doing something. 

Renting a private office could be more expensive but offer you the peace and quiet you need to get your work done.

But if you work from home, it has its fair share of distractions too. You might have pets or kids running around. It can be tempting to switch on the TV, and sometimes even cleaning the kitchen seems like a good idea when you want to procrastinate!

If you find it hard to stay productive when working from home, see our article How to Stay Motivated as a Freelancer.

Meeting clients and professionalism

Whilst you can, of course, still be very professional when working from home, a home office can sometimes appear quite casual. You may also find it challenging to separate your home and work life and achieve an excellent work-life balance.

Or you might feel uncomfortable inviting clients or colleagues into your office as it’s within your private home rather than a professional office. With a rented office, it’s much easier to separate professional life and personal life and even set professional boundaries with clients

Flexibility and productivity

With a rented office, you often have to stick to set hours when the building is open. At home, however, you can work any hours you like. That’s very helpful if you have a tight deadline or feel particularly inspired late in the evening. But if you find yourself struggling with managing your time, have a look at our article How to Improve Time Management

Working from home also allows you to organise your day, so it is the most productive for you (see more tips on managing your workload here). There won’t be any distractions from the people around you, and you can work around any other commitments you have. In a rented office, things can be a lot less flexible. 

Take control of your finances with Countingup

Financial management can be stressful and time-consuming when you’re self-employed. That’s why thousands of business owners use the Countingup app to make their financial admin easier. 

Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are. 

You can also share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward! 

Find out more here.

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