This is the second of two blog posts on big(ish) changes that have happened in the Oikos world. I don’t need to post about these changes, but they are things that you will hear about and they deserve an explanation. The reason for this is that they are both changes that incur substantial cost, and one of my key business goals is to be able to provide good value services to the charity and small business sector.

This second change is a change of location: I am renting an office!

Gemini House signOne thing I’ve always said about keeping my costs low is that I don’t have the overhead of having an office. This is something that I can no longer claim.

But as with all business decisions with some level of commitment, this change has not been made lightly.

The first thing to say is that this office space is VERY cheap: it’s costing me £100 + VAT per month. This is less than £25 + VAT per week. This is for a 180sqft office room and includes heating, lighting, electricity and internet connectivity. I will be sharing this space with a good friend of mine who also does web development and runs a hosting business.

Office space is something that I’ve been thinking about ever since I started as a freelancer. Working from home has pros and cons, and when my son, Isaac, came along, working from home became even more of a mixed blessing. So it’s been an ongoing consideration.

But good quality space at the right price simply hasn’t come along. Until now.

There are a number of advantages for me having this space:

  • Focus: my family are around for 2 days of the week. They are a distraction, but that doesn’t stop me working very hard. What I hope the office will achieve is a greater day-to-day focus on work during core hours, and a better work/life balance for me, which should make me more productive.
  • Fitness: since working from home and having a child, I’ve had no commute, and my commute used to be 3 miles by bicycle and it kept me fit and freshened my mind. This office is also about 3 miles from home, so I really hope to recoup some of my fitness, improve my general health and well being, lower my stress levels a bit, and to have a fresher mind while at work too.
  • Collaboration: Keiron Skillet, who I’ll be sharing the office with, is a good friend of mine with with a similar (but not competing) business, similar outlook on life, and similar family situation. We chat most days on Skype or instant messenger. We bounce ideas off each other, help each other solve problems, and collaborate on projects to a small degree. Our skills and knowledge are complimentary, and we both feel that working in the same place will be beneficial to us.

I’m not sure how quickly I’ll recoup the small cost of the office, if at all. But I’m fairly convinced that the benefits – even if it costs me a little financially – are worthwhile. I fully envisage a happier, healthier Oikos as a result, and that’s good for me, good for my clients, and good for my family too.

I’m also not sure how long I’ll stay there. To be honest it’s a bit of an experiment. It’s a fairly major change to how I organise myself; not just my work life, but my family life too. And I’m considering it an experiment. The initial lease is 12 months and I can get out after 6 with short notice, so we’ll see how it goes. I’m pretty confident that it will be beneficial, but if it’s not, I’m not stuck in a long-term lease that’s hard to get hold of.

I hope that you’ll notice the difference too!