Business: Workplace
Office Row   (+9, -5)  [vote for, against]
Homeowners allow a company to use their homes while they're at work

Imagine you run a small office-type company with, say, a dozen staff. Office space in town is expensive so you're looking for alternatives, but there are too many of you to work from one house, and telecommuting isn't a good option either, since your staff often need to work closely together or meet together in person.

What you could do is set up an Office Row. You do this by:

(a) finding a group of, say, four houses where the owners all work during the day,

(b) paying the owners a small sum in order to let one (or maybe two or three) of your staff work from the owners' houses during the daytime, when the owners aren't at home.

The owner lets you keep, say, your computer and a filing cabinet in their house, so you don't have to carry stuff in and out each time.

Benefits for you:

1. It's less expensive than renting office space
2. Your staff are working next door to each other, so it's easy for them to gather for meetings, and generally collaborate
3. Pleasant working environment, on a quiet, tree-lined road by a river perhaps, rather than in the centre of town

Benefits for the homeowners:

1. Some extra income from the rent you pay them
2. Reduced risk of burglaries since you're home when they're not (most burglaries occur in the daytime)
3. You're there if they've got a delivery arriving or a repairman coming round, so they don't have to take time off work to do that


1. Working late probably isn't an option unless the owners are out late or happy for you to keep working when they're home
2. When people move house, the new owners might not want to rent their houses to you
3. There might be some degree of form-filling stuff involved depending on your local laws regarding use of homes for/by businesses (on the other hand, some places might choose to smooth the process and encourage this arrangement, since the council benefits from reduced inner-city congestion and reduced need to create new office space)

Obviously, for quite a few businesses this isn't a practical option for one reason or another, but I think it would work well for at least some companies, and it's a pleasantly symbiotic, mutually beneficial, friendly arrangement for all concerned.
-- imaginality, Jun 20 2007

Let travellers stay with you while they're in town [imaginality, Jun 20 2007]

You might have problems with non-DINK family homes.
-- pertinax, Jun 20 2007

Interesting idea. I'm thinking it might work best in a higher-density apartment building, but then, my thoughts against it working are: - requires too high a level of trust in strangers. As a homeowner, I don[t think I'd want someone I dont know at all in my home alone, for reasons as benign as the person going through my medicine chest to outright theft, or a housefire, or whatever. - in today's world of telecommuting, I think the need for this is just not there. Why not use technological means to have phone/video meetings, and if needed, meet in a public place like a cafe or such? If you're only talking 5-10 people, there are lots of public places you could have the occasional meeting. Hmmm, I think I just talked myself out of thinking this is a good idea.
-- mimz, Jun 20 2007

I used to work in a start-up's "office" that was one room in some guy's house, so I guess this is kind of like that... I could see small businesses doing this.
-- brandboy, Jun 20 2007

I like this idea, especially in smaller communities or close communities.
-- colinwheeler, Jun 20 2007

Who is going to clean?

And what is to prevent Mr Office Drone from letting the cat out?
-- Galbinus_Caeli, Jun 20 2007

I was expecting Office Row, as in a noisy office dispute. This is better though.
-- Texticle, Jun 20 2007

Better yet - 4 apartments. They could be connected by wireless radio.

Oh - [Mimz] beat me to that.

Ideally, one would design the living space with this in mind - a lockable bedroom and kitchen, a main room and bathroom furnished to double as workspace + living space.
-- bungston, Jun 20 2007

I agree, [pertinax], this would be less do-able with family homes than with working couples' homes.

//requires too high a level of trust in strangers//

It does require a certain amount of trust, [mimz], but I see that as no bad thing, and other concepts such as couchsurfing (see link) require as much or more trust and are working successfully.

I think there are enough people out there with the ability and willingness to trust others for this to work. Perhaps that's overly optimistic of me, but I think it's a pretty sad reflection on society if that's not the case.

The main advantage of this arrangement over the employees telecommuting from their own homes would be for companies where the employees need to meet in person relatively often (to work on projects in small groups, or to meet with clients, perhaps), and live far enough apart from each other that it would become costly in time and petrol for them to meet up in a cafe or suchlike every time. That's where it helps to be working next door to each other, or in the same apartment block as [mimz] suggests.
-- imaginality, Jun 20 2007

uh uh! i would consider this as compromising my security, my spouse's and my childrens. good idea, but how about letting them work from THEIR home. cause the last thing i want to find is some weirdo playing with my daughter's barbies and wearing her dresses. and what if Fluffy is against it? no one ever asked him what he thinks.

good for saving cash, bad for security reasons: locks can be picked, comps can be hacked into by the employee with the right head for it.
-- abhorsen1983, Jun 21 2007

random, halfbakery