We went without an office for 3 months and things got crazy

November 21, 2022

The world is changing. Companies are moving beyond the boundaries of traditional workplaces, and remote working is becoming the norm. In fact, a recent study by Citrix Systems shows that 90% of millennials would rather work remotely than be chained to a desk five days a week. That’s great news for people who prefer to work from home or another location that suits their lifestyle. But what does this mean for businesses?

In the spirit of innovation and creativity, some businesses ditch the office desk and test their limits. What if you could go without an office for three months? Would you have the courage to do that? Can it really help your company grow? While this experiment was challenging at times, there were many benefits too. Let's dive in...

We are a team of 20 individuals. Half of our team is located in various cities in Spain, while the other half is located in Oslo, Norway. Our Spanish team is 100% remote, while our Oslo team is hybrid/remote, meaning that we normally have a headquarters office that we can all work from, when and if we want.

During Q3 2022, we were in between office leases and decided to really live our brand by going no office, or #noffice as we called it.

So for three months, instead of meeting up at our normal headquarters, we all worked from various locations: home office, cafes, cabins, various Orbit office spaces and occasionally from abroad.

After three months of working this way, we all walked away with different experiences, yet many of the same findings. Read on to find out just how crazy it got…

The benefits of going full-on #noffice:

- Saved a lot of money. As a startup, we like to be scrappy and find ways to growth hack the sh*t out of things. So when we crunched the numbers and found out we would save NOK 99,000 (see the full breakdown below) it was a fast YUP for us.
- The time we met up we all prioritized to be social
- Got more inspiration working in different spaces and walk different paths every day

Cost breakdown:
Orbit has 9 employees in Oslo and before Q3 2022, paid 50.000 NOK a month for office space. When we settle the accounts for Q3 2022 we had the following costs:
- 8x people booking workspaces via Orbit 6.792 NOK
- 9 lunches out together 8.340 NOK
- 6 dinners out together 19.200 NOK
- Various cafe visits together 2.190 NOK
Tot. sos. and office-related costs 50.106 NOK

We have saved 99.000 NOK and reduced our office costs by almost 70%. Kind of crazy, if you ask us.

My first hypothesis about culture building around the coffee machine may need to be revised somewhat. We need to meet a little more often in the future without an agenda in a nice cafe. -Jørgen Flaa, Orbit CEO

What to watch out for:

- Working from home can make it challenging to collaborate with other team members. You might not always have time for meetings or a phone call, let alone getting together in person with everyone who needs to be involved.
- Working from home is a nice perk, but as an employee, you start to feel disconnected from the company. It’s easy to get distracted and lose track of tasks, which makes it difficult to stay on top of your responsibilities.
- It can be difficult to agree on a time and place - having all the Orbit locations available made it even harder to decide. TIP: have a fixed/reoccurring weekday to meet up at a certain location.

If your company has an office, you may be wondering whether it’s worth keeping it or downsizing to save money and keep your team happy at the same time. If your team works remotely for most of the year, you may be questioning how you can continue to have an effective team and culture with members in different locations every day.

Reducing coworking desk memberships is not often on the mind of a growing startup, but it should be. In almost every scenario, reducing your cost per workstation will generate significant savings in the long run. Even with the high costs of moving into a new office space, we were able to downsize our desk space from 9 to 4.

With this strategy, we were able to save nearly 100.000 NOK  per year and have an even better working environment. 

So, our question to you: will you try #noffice? 

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