Shared office space is a fantastic idea. Not only can sharing an office cut your rental costs considerably, it also gives you valuable company during your working day. If you work alone, having someone there with you can be reassuring, and provide a mutually-convenient sounding board for ideas.
At Workstation in St Albans and at our other locations, we have seen numerous long-lasting business relationships develop from something as arbitrary as sharing an office. Our tenants often seem so much happier in their work because of having a bit of company to stop them going completely mad!
One concern that some people have about shared office space is business security. Protecting your essential business equipment when you can’t control all of your office space all of the time can make you nervous about leaving it when you need to get out and about. Rest assured that most other business people wouldn’t dream of even borrowing something from you, let alone steal or cause damage, but there are ways you can protect yourself from the minority that would.
We asked St Albans locksmith Kevin Carloni from Fort Locks for some tips on keeping your office secure.
- Get into good security habits. Not checking door and window locks because someone else will do it is not a good idea. If you’re not sure if you’re the last one out, then double check, and make sure someone will be around to lock up. If no-one else is about, then you do it!
- An office safe is a good idea for small, valuable items. At least get a desk with lockable drawers and cupboards. Your shared office provider may allocate you a lockable storage area, so make sure you take advantage of this where needed.
- Shred all your unwanted documents before you put them in a bin. You should do this whether you are in a shared office or not, but it is important for shared office space as shredding files rather than leaving them lying about means they don’t accidently go astray with someone else.
- Use portable equipment. Having a laptop rather than a desktop PC is not only more flexible for you anyway, but means you can take your vital equipment with you every time you leave the office.
- Put passwords on your PC equipment. Don’t give anyone the opportunity to download essential, confidential files. You may only be going to the loo, or out for a breath of fresh air but it may take longer than you planned, and you don’t want anyone stealing your client database while you’re gone.
- Get a good internal office door fitted with locks. Shared office space is often part of a larger building, and while the building may be well looked after, there’s usually a lot of coming and going. Having an internal door with locks may be part of your business insurance requirements. Please check or your policy may be worthless. Get a locksmith to check your office door and window locks if you’re not sure.
Shared office space can be an uncomfortable prospect for some, but with basic precautions, you will experience lower rents and the benefits of having work colleagues without the workplace politics! Just make sure you keep track of whose turn it is to make the coffee.