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#66: Is a Virtual Office for You?

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, June 8, 2009
My partners and I spend a lot of time at client sites and are wondering whether we need to maintain the expense of our office. It made sense when we started our boutique firm but we're not so sure.

How you structure your office environment is about more than just money. Your office can be a place where you meet with your clients, where you and your partners work together and, for some, it is a part of your image. However, you may fall into one of several circumstances that will affect your choice. First, if you work mostly at your client's location, especially if they are out of town, you may not need conference rooms of meeting technologies. Second, if you do not regularly need space to work in groups or to conduct production activities, then your need for common workspace disappears. Finally, the cachet of having nice office space has been disappearing for years, and many clients are starting to consider your "nice office space" as a non value added cost they are paying for.

This office space issue extends to large firms as well. Some large firms, particularly those where most staff travel a lot, have moved to a hoteling concept. This is where staff share office space by occupying an office or cubicle only when they are in town. When they travel, the same space is assigned to another consultant. The increasing use of virtual technologies further reduces the need to conduct meetings or work in groups that would necessitate office space. So, all trends are moving toward less need for office space.

Tip: Consider using shared or virtual office space. These offices, offered by firms like Regus (with whom IMC has an affiliation providing discounts for IMC members), provide furnished space with immediate move-in for a monthly fee. This usually includes furniture, communication, reception, answering service, mail, kitchen facilities, and conference rooms. As often as not, companies in adjacent spaces may be interesting at least or potential partners, referrers or clients at best. Finally, as a shared office client, you often can use the company’s office space in another city for free or a deep discount.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  practice management 

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