We want to find a new way of office working that accepts and caters to the fact that businesses want an office they can call their own, but do not necessarily want to pay for (and use) it five days a week. So, we’d like to determine if anyone else shares this view, and if so, we want to do something about it. Interested? Read on…
When I started Motive Unknown back in 2011, one big appeal at the time was not having to work Monday to Friday in an office. I hated commuting, and with a young son I felt a lot of that time spent on trains could be better spent having quality time with him. Frankly, it all just felt like time saved: rather than spend 2-3hrs commuting, I could do more work at home and still finish earlier than when I’d normally walk through the door otherwise.
As Motive Unknown has grown, we have continued to resist the 9-5, Monday to Friday approach to working. As each team member joined, it became clear that no one relished commuting and that often work was better done in peace and quiet at home anyway. Tools-wise, we started using Slack and various other platforms which ensured the team could still have the same levels of communication. Equally it plays a big role in general office chatter; football, music, memes, GIFs and all the other stuff that gets you through the day with a smile.
As we hit 4 or 5 team members, one thing we all realised was that we actually quite enjoyed meeting up to work together once or twice a week. The benefit, frankly, was social. It didn’t improve our productivity or otherwise change things; it was just more fun to hang out together and sometimes it was just easier to discuss bits in person too.
With that in mind, we started looking for office spaces we could use for a day or two a week – and this is when it became clear that the way office spaces work was fundamentally incompatible with our needs. All co-working office spaces (or general offices to let) take the same approach: you are paying for that space on a full-time, Monday – Friday basis such that it is for your sole usage. Try as we may, we could not find anywhere prepared to offer us space for just a day or two a week.
Eventually, by pure luck, one of our clients remarked that they were looking to use their office a bit less, and so we set up a deal where we had the use of the office on Mondays and Thursdays, and they had it Tuesday, Wednesday and Fridays. This arrangement was perfect: the office was ours for those days, such that we could have meetings and generally work together. Despite being there only 2 days a week, it felt like ours.
Now though, we have hit a problem: we have outgrown that office. With a need to find somewhere that can accommodate 10 people (ideally maybe even 12, the way we are expanding), we are once again realising that there are no opportunities out there for businesses who just want to use an office once or twice a week. Chatting to clients and other small businesses in our sector, it is clear that this kind of approach would actually work really well, as there are innumerable small businesses where staff are working two or more days a week at home. Right now, they’re often paying over the odds for office space that they’re not in on a Monday to Friday basis.
With that in mind, we wanted to see if there are other businesses out there who might be interested in coming together to rent office space in which companies would have access for 2 or 3 days rather than the full 5 per week. It would reduce costs for the businesses involved, and could be a cool way to bring together a load of music-centric (or tech-centric) businesses in the one place. Office space is the single largest outgoing for damn-near any company, and this approach, we feel, can help keep costs down and profit margins up.
So – are you a company of 8-12 employees looking for a better, more flexible working arrangement? Fancy sharing an office with Motive Unknown – not at the same time, but on an alternate days setup? If so, get in touch, we’d love to talk!
Equally, if you’re a company who is simply interested in this kind of approach to working, let us know; this whole area is of real interest to us as we feel it is a massively under-explored area in office renting, so we are keen to explore opportunities if there are enough companies showing interest.