"'Office not required' isn't just the future - it's the present."
- Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson in 2013
Hyperinbox does not have a physical office. We are a remote team, so having no office is a no-brainer. But many companies allow employees to work remotely but still keep a central office.
There is a difference between working remotely and allowing remote work. At Hyperinbox, remote working is not just allowed; it's the way we work. Being remote is the foundation of our culture of freedom. All of our team members can work anywhere and anytime, and we handle everything without a physical address.
From the start, we never needed an office, and we won’t need one in the future. Not having an office allowed us to be flexible and save money on rent. It’s one of the best choices we’ve made so far, which is why any team should go office-less.
You don't need an office to do good work!
Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson noted in their book Remote that not having an office is not only the future, but it’s also the present.
The technology we have in 2020 enables us to not need an office to do business. You can do everything online. You can receive paper mails, send checks, conduct meetings, brainstorm ideas, and more.
Since day 1, we have not experienced any challenges due to the lack of an office. In fact, it encouraged us to find more efficient ways to collaborate. It forced us to do better work!
At the end of the day, we decided not to have an office for these three main reasons:
- If you don’t have an office, you can work anywhere. You are not tied to a single desk.
- You don’t need to pay hefty rent. You’re not obligated to pay 12-month leases. You won’t be stuck with costly utility bills or paying for furniture. It’s also easier to maintain an office – which is great for small businesses and startups.
- When you have a central office where most of your team members work full time, those who are not there will begin to feel left out. Employees working in the office will form stronger relationships than those who are not working in the office. By allowing both, you are assigning different levels of status to your employees. Employees who work remotely will feel like second-level citizens of the team. If you’re going to go remote, you might as well do it fully. Half-hearted efforts only lead to FOMO (fear of missing out).
Tools and services that enable office-less remote working
Sadly, you can’t just get rid of the office the next day. Most governments (for us, in the United States) require businesses to have physical addresses because they do business through physical mail. So you need to set up a virtual address that is also physically located somewhere.
Additionally, you need a mail scanning and shredding service so that you don’t have to keep forwarding incoming mail to your home. With a good scanning and shredding service, you can read the contents of each mail you receive without having to get them in person.
Earth Class Mail (ECM) is a service that we use for this. ECM provides you with a prime business address that you can use to receive official mail. Our address is 548 Market Street #42341, San Francisco, CA 94104, but, none of us currently lives in the Bay Area!
With ECM, you can go 100% remote and get rid of your office!
Not having an office is a trade-off.
I might have described not having an office as like a move that gives you only the good stuff. Nonetheless, it has some drawbacks. By not having an office, we understand what we’re giving up: a place to gather and hang out.
Better ideas are born when you discuss your ideas with others, and offices seem to be helpful in this.
The main reason most companies still cling to a physical office is the fear that by losing an office, its employees also lose the ability to innovate.
But here’s how you can minimize the trade-off: set up a hub in an area where your employees live.
For our team, that’s currently Chicago and Seoul. We bought co-working spaces in each city for us to use. Nobody works there five days a week, but we often get together for work if we choose to. Because these memberships are flexible, you won’t be locked into a 12-month lease. You won’t have to worry about maintenance; the space providers will handle it for you.
We pay for a limited number of seats per space because we know we won’t go into the office every day, and not everyone will come in at the same time. Still a cost, but not as high as when you lease an office.
If you’re considering getting rid of your office, we strongly suggest it. Not having an office is a choice. You don’t have to get rid of yours if you still think having one gives you more benefits than losing it. But it’s a good choice. You have all the tools and technologies you need, so you don’t need an office. And with the pandemic here, most of you are working from home most of the time anyway.
Let us know if you’d like to talk more about how we managed without an office. We’d be happy to walk you through our experience. email@example.com.