It’s funny how business goes sometimes. Sometimes, you’re looking for the next big thing. Other times, you’re hoping to impress a key client. Almost all of the time, you’re looking for an edge on your competition.

And as focused as you might be on one of those goals at any given moment, have you thought about one more goal that could give all three a boost? It’s the one goal that sits in front, above and around you everyday—your office.

Now, let’s get this out of the way first. For many online service firms, an office can be a transient place. After all, when your primary job requirements are all tied to a keyboard, the only real place you are expected to be present at is online. In those cases, the office can take the form of a coffee shop or a living room…but we’re talking about something different here. And here’s the skinny:

When Metal Potato first started, we were a homegrown web design firm that operated in the same way that many startups do, i.e. we spent a lot of working hours crowded around a kitchen table or a booth at the local coffee shops (shout out to you, Caffé Nero). This was a fun way to work, but it left a lot of holes in our business. Meeting clients, for instance, always necessitated a trip to their office or a coordinated rendezvous at a place like Caffé Nero. And while we’re all about coming to meet the customer to understand what they do, the coffee shop is not a good place for that same customer to get a feel for what we do.

That’s why we needed to make a change. It’s also why we took the Metal Potato offices from the kitchen table to a new 100 square meter home in an actual office building. We’ve been there several months now, and here’s what we’ve noticed…

We actually have more freedom now. Strange as it sounds, having a place to truly call your business home is really liberating. Not only does it give us a great location to bring clients, but it also makes leaving work at the office a little bit easier. That means when someone on our staff needs an escape, just walking out the doors can do the trick. The benefit of this is a freshly renewed focus when they walk back in the door.

People take ownership of their workspace. It’s surprising how many people you can fit into a home office, but with more elbow room now, people have begun to take ownership of their work areas. Everyone has space to move around and nobody is bumping elbows. That in turn makes working on multiple projects at the same time a bit easier, as everyone is not inherently as concerned with what the other person right beside them is doing.

And when team members are, or need to be, it’s just as easy to hop in the conference room to tag team a task. As it happens, when people have room to breathe, collaboration becomes a much more enjoyable process.

Not everyone wants to work in the office, and that’s okay. Even with our newfound real estate, only about 50% of Metal Potato’s workforce actually comes in to our Plymouth-based headquarters. That’s fine. Our goal is to make every employee as comfortable as possible to feed their creative drive and productivity. Sometimes that means a team member might only come in to the office a few days a week. Other team members have chosen to come in every day. Some never come in at all. But having the option of a real, organised workplace is essential to our web design firm. In retrospect, running a startup without an office seems a bit like running a school without a library.

If you’re a small business owner who is wondering how to find your edge or take the next step, take a look around you. Since renting a dedicated workplace for our team, our workforce has become much happier. It’s translated to the quality of our work and the happiness of our clients.

Relocating just might be the big boost that’s been right under your nose this entire time.