Should you open a bricks-and-mortar business?

It’s a dream, isn’t it? To open your own business. Perhaps put your retirement fund into opening a bar or restaurant. Maybe a café or a hotel. These businesses must be brick and mortar affairs – unless you’re going to open one on the metaverse, that is. However, not all companies must be in the real world.

Instead, they can be online. Bootstrapping, the art of creating a business with virtually no funds and slowly growing it organically has, exploded in the 2000s. This has occurred due to the growth of the Internet and scalable services on demand. It is now possible to build a business without having an office, but should you?

The benefits of a real-world business

There are still benefits to grounding your new business in a real world, fixed location. While it has been the trend to go online, you do not have to. Researchers such as Judith Olson have found employees work better, even remotely, when they know their colleagues’ styles and personalities. This is impossible to do online. 

Many businesses are also finding project work more accessible to manage face to face. Having a team together makes it easier to provide oversight, but teams also function better. In addition, the exchange of real-time, face-to-face ideas vastly outweighs those provided online.

Post-pandemic complications

During the first lull in restrictions across the globe, commercial litigations skyrocketed. As many countries move towards re-opening their societies, this is only going to get worse. The next flashpoint looks to be regarding the right of employees to work from home rather than the office. 

Any new brick-and-mortar business will need to consider this. Law firms such as Sutherland Lawyers help companies in ever-shifting environments. Building regulations may change to ensure, for example, staff are not crammed into cubicles in a vast open office or that airflow is altered to reduce the risk of spreading infections. Likewise, solo work and teamwork spaces will be changing.

Other legal flashpoints are likely to include areas such as cybersecurity, eDiscovery, data security, healthcare, and real estate. One of the big ones will also be biometric privacy laws. This will depend upon the state/country where the business is being opened, but there could be a conflict between best practices and personal freedoms.

Employees want to work from home.

Perhaps the most severe complication from a commercial point of view is how the pandemic has affected employee working conditions. The number of people working from home has grown from 20% in 2019 to 70% a year or so later. You might say this is fine in an emergency, but a large swath of workers like it and want it to continue. It’s comfortable to work without a commute, to do so on the couch in your jammies while raiding the fridge every so often.

Any business looking to open up in the real world needs to balance the benefits of an office with the freedoms and benefits of blue-collar work in the 21st century. This could require flexibility and building a new commercial real estate with these ideas in mind. It’s not too late or out of step to want a real-world office, but you will need to be careful when planning one.

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