Do you ever see ads for inner city office space for hire and get a sinking feeling on behalf of whoever is unfortunate enough to wind up there? These ads are usually titled something like ‘Virtual office space for hire in the CBD’, and include a picture that’s clearly styled to make a shoebox room with appear as big and airy as possible, yet some still manages to capture the oppressive feel of the space in all its glory.
I assume these are dubbed ‘virtual’ offices because they aren’t big enough to fit so much as an extra cabinet – it’s one desk and a couple of chairs or bust. That said, while there’s not much room for going hog wild with office fitout ideas, Melbourne folks tend to be pretty skilled at making things fit into unreasonably small spaces. I guess that’s something you learn to master when you’re faced with Sydney rent prices.
I suppose, also, that I’ve been a tad spoilt when it comes to office interior design and furnishings. Melbourne does have its share of large, elaborate designer offices, and I’ve worked primarily in such places. So when I see these cramped, windowless rooms with terrible carpet, available to rent at prices that just scrape into the ‘affordable’ category, I can’t help but feel a twinge of… eurgh.
The fact is, though, that these spaces could be just the ticket for getting started on an entrepreneurial journey, and perhaps preferable to working out of one’s bedroom or back shed – especially if you want an impressive address for your business cards. I haven’t ever tried starting a business, so I’ve never had to find space to work in – workspace has always simply been provided to me an employer.
Even so, some of these rooms look pretty shifty. Personally, I’d think long and hard about the benefits before hiring such a place, keeping in mind that one’s bedroom is at least free – even if it does compromise work-life balance and involve having an unwashed laundry hamper next to your desk.