Finding an office space that is fit for purpose, fits your companies budget, identifies with your company’s brand and pleases everyone involved in the process can be an incredibly daunting task, there are a lot of things to consider and a lot of choices in front of you. Here are 5 things to think about when choosing an office space.
There are a lot of things to take into consideration when looking for the ideal location for your new office. As you can imagine just finding a spot that is aesthetically pleasing isn’t going to be enough unless you get very, very lucky. When scouting for your new professional home it’s important to investigate the following:
- Competition – It is important to consider the position of your competitors and if they happen to be on your doorstep will this cause any kind of problems? Are they in a more reputable easily accessed area?
- Reputation – The reputation of an area can have an impact on how clients/potential customers view your company. Is the area safe for both your business assets and your employees?
- Neighbours – What other buildings surround your potential property? If they are other businesses what services do they offer? What hours are they open? Will anything they do have a negative impact on your business?
- Commute – Depending on the size of your company it can be difficult to please everyone when it comes to travelling into work. It is important to find somewhere that is as accessible as possible by the largest number of people so always look for strong public transport links, the availability of taxis locally and the traffic patterns in the surrounding area.
- Amenities – Your employees are likely going to want to run errands or venture out for food on their lunch breaks, so it is important that they don’t have to travel far.
Working towards a budget and finding an office that is befitting of your company and makes everyone happy is not an easy thing to do. If you spend to little you may end up with a new office that you’re not completely satisfied with and that isn’t fit for it’s intended purpose. On the other hand, if you spend too much you may struggle to afford the rent and upkeep in the long run resulting in financial difficulties and possibility of having to downsize.
The key is research. Find out if the other offices nearby are priced similarly. Make sure you are aware of all the hidden costs that may surround the property, so you aren’t caught out further down the line and ask yourself if you can afford the maximum deposit right now with no hassle as this will give you a loose idea around the affordability of the office.
3. The Building
Ok so you’ve researched the area, and everything looks great. You’re happy with the price and are confident you can afford it with no problems, but what about the building itself?
- Is the building well maintained? - Whether sharing a building with other companies or having the place to yourself it is important to make sure that the building has been and is being looked after to avoid repair and maintenance costs further down the line. Again, this comes down to research, find out who manages the building and ask other tenants or offices in the immediate vicinity about their experiences.
- Parking – What is the parking like round the office? Ideally you have your own private car park with enough spaces to accommodate staff and visitors, if not does the building have an allocated number of spaces in a shared car park? Is parking off-site and if so when can employees and visitors park and how much if anything will it costs to park there? Is there somewhere for bikes to be locked up safely this requires special consideration if your company offers or intends to offer a ride to work scheme.
- Reception – If the building is shared is there a reception desk? What hours is it occupied? Is it ran by a traditional receptionist or by a security firm? Even though they won’t be employed or managed by your company they will still be the first interaction your clients, customers and visitors will have when entering your building.
- Data – Chances are you’re going to need a reliable internet connection in your shiny new office. Find out if internet is included in your rent as it can be when dealing with serviced offices. If that’s not the case budget for how much it is going to cost, you to get up and running. Again, speak to neighbouring offices and find out about their internet connections.
- Design – How much freedom do you have over renovation and refurbishment? Are there in restrictions? Do you have to return the office back to its original state before you vacate? If you are looking to create a space that compliments your branding the level of control you have over your space is crucial. Is there going to be enough space to accommodate your current staff comfortably and allow room for expansion in the future?
4. The Legalities
You may have found the perfect new office space that caters to you every need and ticks every box and you can’t wait to get moved in and start your companies new chapter. It’s important to take your time and be meticulous to ensure you get a deal and agreement that is beneficial to you and avoid being locked into terms that will quickly prove to cause you problems. It is recommended to consult a lawyer before signing any sort of agreement.
It’s always a good idea to have a contingency plan. Say things don’t work out for one reason or another and you find yourself having to prematurely leave your new premises be it for business reasons or reasons relating to the building itself. Either way it is important to have a backup plan to reduce the amount of down time and disruption and allow you to get back on your feet as quickly as possible.
Although we’ve only really scratched the service here these are important things to consider when starting your new office journey. The two key takeaways from this are firstly to be patient and have faith that the right place will show up eventually. Secondly do your research. The more information you have the more confident you can be in your decision making and ultimately the more likely you are to move into an office that you can be proud of and that portrays your company in the most positive light possible.
By Andrew Mairs – Marketing Executive