Business expansion is a key milestone for all business owners. Taking things to the next level is what can take your simple company, and turn it into a complete enterprise. Deciding how to tailor your expansion from an employee and location perspective, is one of the biggest decisions to make. With the cost of living and tax increases for companies being rife at the minute, the obvious answer would be to employ people to work from home, right? It is not a simple answer, as many businesses that have expanded have found each end of the spectrum has led to their doom, or has led to a successful and seamless expansion. Deciding whether to rent out a larger office space to accommodate for the many staff, or to employ a work-from-home workforce is a hard decision to make. In this blog post, we will discuss the actionable points that need to be covered before you rush into one decision. Take a look at the following suggestions:
1. Assessing Business Needs
First of all, you need to evaluate the needs of the business, and more importantly, the new requirements that the expansion will bring. If your objective and business run from an office perspective, do different departments need to be in constant communication? Do people work best independently in their line of work? Do most of your workforce now value the dedicated workspace they have now? Consider what areas of the business should be kept as they are, and which departments may be best either outsourced or allowed to work from home should you choose to keep your space during the expansion. Work culture is also a big element to consider. If you have already built a successful business from a sense of community within the workforce, it might be a better idea to expand this and move into a bigger office space to invite more like people in.
2. Cost Analysis
An office-based expansion will require a significantly higher cost than a work-from-home expansion. You need to consider if you can afford to invest in the short term, and exactly how long it will take you to earn this money back should your new workforce perform as you expect. With this, you should always plan for the worst-case scenario. If you expand and land in negative equity, do you have emergency funds or a backup plan to make things profitable again? If staff work from home instead, do you have the budget for work-from-home equipment such as laptops and other electricals? Cost is at the height of importance so make sure all of your calculations are accurate. Reduce overheads where you can no matter which option you choose, but still maintain the quality your business needs,
3. Talent Acquisition and Retention
When considering a relocation you need to consider the talent and capabilities of the area you are looking to expand to. Are there high levels of unemployment in that area? Does the skill set you are looking for come in high demand already for where you are moving? If you are trying to find staff who value their work and stay loyal to the company, this is much easier to achieve with an in-person employment setup. Retaining top talent and making staff feel seen and appreciated will be easily done when you see their work in real-time, which is a selling point for office-based business owners.
4. Employee Preferences and Productivity
Employees are at the heart of a successful running business. Who better to ask about working location preferences than the people who currently work for you? Take out a questionnaire for all of your employees to answer. Include where their preferred working location is, why they like it, what is going well for the current office culture and what would be better for them. If they have to pay for London parking, ask if they would like this to be subsidies, or expand outside of city centres. Using the advice from the consensus of the company, you can take actionable steps to make sure the expansion is successful and your new workforce is as happy and collaborative as your current one.
5. Hybrid Models
Consider the possibility of combining office-based working with remote working. This model is favoured by a lot of successful companies, as it allows staff to choose based on their working preference for that day. Flexibility will also help with employee satisfaction, giving them the time to balance their home life and work life. The long-term benefits of your expansion could be significant cost savings, with employees working half in the office and half at home, reducing the need for large office renting.
Overall, creating a workplace model that supports your expansion and further growth of the company is crucial if you wish to see long-term success. You can not please everyone, but taking into account the financial objectives of the expansions, employee preferences and possible hybrid working arrangements, you will be able to make the important decision of whether to expand remotely, or hire more office spaces to expand your stamp on the map!