Rural office space may seem ideal, often offering good value business premises in scenic locations, but there are some downsides to this choice. Here is a look at some of the pros and cons of opting to go rural to help you decide if it is the right choice for your business.
You may be able to afford better or bigger premises in a rural location rather than in a city centre and parking is far less likely to be a problem, for visitors or staff.
An attractive setting and quiet location can boost creativity and improve staff morale. Think picnic lunches and refreshing walks during breaks in the working day.
Encouraging such walks will demonstrate your commitment to looking after the health and wellbeing of your employees and follow NHS recommendations. Find out more about the benefits of walking at nhs.uk/Livewell/getting-started-guides/Pages/getting-started-walking.aspx.
There are few things more inspiring than the natural world, which is why rural office space is often chosen by creative companies but many different industries can thrive in a countryside location.
The commute can become far more enjoyable, or shorter if you choose a rural location close to where you live. There is no doubt that many people would prefer to meander to work along country lanes rather than sit in queues on busy motorways.
A shorter commute or encouraging more enjoyable and fruitful break periods can also help address any work/life imbalances, making your team both happier and more motivated and productive.
Thorough research is needed, both in terms of the location of a rural office and the impact it could have on your business. It is no good simply falling in love with the idea of space on an Ashford Kent rural business park, for example, without knowing all the facts.
One major downside of rural office space could be a loss of visibility for your business. This is important to consider if you rely on your office space as a form of advertising or want to attract passing trade.
You also need to consider how easy it will be for employees to get to work and for visitors to find you. A very rural location may prove difficult, and might become nearly impossible in bad weather.
Transport is a major factor to consider as some rural locations will only be accessible by car. Do any of your staff members rely on public transport to get to work, for example? If you are thinking about relocating to the countryside, you must ensure you do not contravene any of your employees’ rights. Find out more about this on the government website at gov.uk/employer-relocation-your-rights.
There is the option to choose premises on a business park such as evegate.co.uk, which could combine a countryside feel with relative ease of access, although you will have to decide if this feels ‘rural’ enough.
If you want a fairly remote office, you also need to think about how your employees will feel about not having facilities nearby. Would they dislike not being able to pop out for lunch, for example, or to fit in a shopping trip during their break? This could have an impact on both staff retention and recruitment.