A lot of small businesses start up at home, so finding work space for extra staff is not an issue. As your business grows you may need to make a few decisions regarding taking on staff and this can include finding space for them to work from.

These days if you want staff to help you, you don’t have to commit to employing someone and offering them a set number of hours a week. There are a few options available so let’s look at some of the pros and cons of each.

First of all, let’s look at your options for finding space for your new workforce.

Workspace

The first thing to consider before you take on any help, is where are you going to put them? They will need somewhere to work from and there are a few ways you can achieve this.

Home office

If you already work from home, your first option is to ask someone to come and work with you. If you do, you must consider:

  • Do you have space? Most home offices have room for another person, but depending on your business, you must consider not just providing desk space, but storage space and room for your printer and other office equipment too.
  • Will they have access to your home? This is one big reason why some business owners are reluctant to hire staff. If your office is in a bedroom, for example, the person you hire will have access to your property. If you will always be there, there won’t be an issue, but if you are going to be out of the office, that person will have access to your home.
  • If you have someone working with you for business purposes, you will need insurance to cover this.
  • There will, of course, be no rental overheads if you use your own office space.

Rented office space

If you have a larger business, or you are likely to have lots of visitors, you may want to look at hiring office space. Prices for this vary depending on where you are located, but space is usually available to suit all businesses.

  • How much will it cost? If you hire an office, you must be able to afford to pay the rental each month.
  • What term can you have? Most office space is available for a minimum rental period, so you will have a commitment for a certain length of time. If you shop around, you may find a company which will offer you a more flexible agreement.
  • Are there benefits? Most rented offices are in larger buildings so you may be able to benefit from being able to use meeting rooms if you need them, and there may even be a central reception area to meet and greet your visitors.

Hot Desking

Hot desking is becoming increasingly popular, and sole traders are using it as a way to work away from home whenever they want to. When you hot desk, you rent a desk for as many days as you want, and it is a flexible arrangement to suit you.

  • No overheads. When you hot desk, you only pay for the days that you and your staff are working there.
  • Other areas available. Hot desking companies often provide reception facilities, meeting rooms and you may even be able to hire an office on a daily basis.
  • Professional space. When you work from home, it’s so easy to get distracted. When you hot desk, you will be working in the same place as many other people, so you are more likely to get more work done. If you hire staff to hot desk with you, you aren’t committed to renting space for them which they may not use.

Hiring staff

When you decide you need staff to help you, this can be a big commitment, and if your business is still growing, you may not want to hire space and employ someone. So what are your options?

Employment

If you are ready to make the commitment, you can employ staff to help you. If you want to go down this route, consider a few things.

  • You will need to provide a contract of terms and conditions, including the minimum hours they will work every week. If you do not have enough work, you will still need to pay them,
  • You will also be responsible for paying their tax and national insurance contributions. It is possible to calculate these yourself, but you may need to hire a bookkeeper or accountant to do this for you.
  • Employees are also entitled to holiday pay, sickness pay and should be enrolled in a company pension scheme.

Contracted staff

Using contractors can be a good way to expand your business, and it offers you more freedom as well.

  • Contractors are often hired without any contract for minimum hours, so you can use them only when you need them.
  • You will not have to calculate or pay their tax or national insurance, and they are generally not entitled to holiday pay and do not need to be enrolled in a pension scheme. If you use a contractor full time, then you may be liable to pay them holiday pay.
  • Contractors sometimes work from their own homes or have their own office space, so you may not need to find space for them all the time.

Virtual staff

The use of virtual staff is growing all the time. Virtual staff are people who work from home and don’t generally visit you to work. All work and communication is handled over the internet. They can be employed or used as contractors, and there are a number of advantages.

  • Virtual staff work from their own home or office space, so you will have no overheads for them.
  • When you use virtual staff, you can hire anyone from anywhere in the world. This gives you a far bigger choice.
  • One downside to virtual staff, is that they may not always be available when you need them and you cannot check that they are doing what they are supposed to be. If you hire through recommended employment sites, you can check their work out before you hire them properly.