5 Lessons I've Learned While Transitioning From Working at Home to a Physical Office

Here's what you need to know before you open a brick-and-mortar location.

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By Jonathan Long

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Remote setups give startups and small businesses the luxury of operating from anywhere in the world with a team of remote employees, in addition to eliminating a large monthly expense. They can be great -- many companies thrive using this setup and I've run a remote setup for years, but as I'm currently pivoting my company, it requires that I transition to a physical office.

I'm converting a new industrial shell into an office/warehouse combination that will allow us to store and fulfill all of the new consumer brands we are launching and do all of the marketing in-house as well. It's been both exciting and overwhelming. During this period I've encountered some realities of transitioning from a remote organization to a physical office.

1. Talent recruitment must be locally focused.

I have some great designers and developers that I use who are located all over the world. While they can still be utilized for some projects, I need to hire the best local talent to handle immediate needs. If a package manufacturer needs an art file edited quickly in order to make a print deadline, we can't wait until the next day -- it needs to be done on the spot.

The same applies to Facebook advertising and AdWords team members, social media marketers and customer service reps -- everything now must be in-house to support the new direction and anticipated hyper-scaling.

Related: 50 Work-From-Home Jobs Paying as Much or a Lot More Than the Average American Salary

2. Team-building and work-life balance becomes a top priority.

Personally, I struggled with work-life balance in the beginning, and I am very vocal about those struggles. I was afraid that if I wasn't working 24/7 I would lose momentum and fail. I was very wrong.

It wasn't until I learned how to unplug from the business and have a life outside of the business, that I truly gained momentum and started to accomplish my goals. With an entire team in-house, team building in and out of the office will become a priority, as will promoting a healthy work-life balance.

Team members as well as the company becomes most profitable when the quality of everyone's work-life balance is at an optimal level. Life and work, after all, are to be enjoyed, and having struggled with this in the past I need to lead by example from the beginning.

3. Commercial office space comes with more financial responsibilities and potential issues.

During the process of looking at industrial office space, two things became very apparent -- it's a big commitment and some of these spaces come with potential issues. The more build-out you require, the longer the lease. The older the space, the more potential issues down the line.

Did you know there are multiple categories of commercial water damage? Well there are, and several properties had leaks and water spots -- something I wanted no part of. This is the primary reason that I gravitated toward a brand new industrial development. Not only is it a blank canvas to create my ideal office and warehouse, but it also eliminates a lot of potential issues and headaches down the road.

Related: 5 Full-Time Jobs You Can Do to Make Money Online or From Home

4. It requires additional staff to fully manage.

While some positions and tasks can still be handled by remote team members, and in-house team members will likely have the opportunity to work at least one day a week remotely, a physical office requires some additional positions.

We now have dedicated hours of operation, and the front door and reception area need to be open during those hours in order to receive deliveries and send out daily shipments. A remote operation doesn't require a happy smiling face to greet delivery drivers, while a physical office does. So, I am now currently on the hunt for someone to fulfill this duty.

5. A local brick-and-mortar operation is more attractive to local investors.

I've always been a fan of bootstrapping, and up until this point I have never taken on an investor. I'm not actively seeking that option, but having a physical location makes landing a private investor much more doable, if that ever becomes a desire.

While out networking in Miami I've run into a few people that were interested in what we had in the works, and in terms of scalability, an investment drastically speeds up that process. Fom talking to local investors, it's become apparent that they really like the idea of having the operation under one roof.

Jonathan Long

Founder, Uber Brands

Jonathan Long is the founder of Uber Brands, a brand-development agency focusing on ecommerce.

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