Finding the right office space can be the key to success. The challenge comes in weighing up the pros and cons of finding the right price and the ideal premises, especially when you are new to this. Please take the time to do so, as it will make all the difference. We are going to look at the importance of The Location, The Building and The Space in this article.
1. The Location is key
Is it a good neighbourhood?
When the premises seem cheap, there might be a good reason. Is the area safe? Your staff and visitors will feel safer visiting your office when the area has a good reputation. Consider the route staff will need to travel to and from local transport, especially when traveling by foot.
What are the transport links like?
How easy are the premises to commute to? The obvious question for big city centre offices is how close the nearest light rail or rail line is, although consider bus, bicycle and driving routes, too. Your staff may be open to a different style of commuting when say, there are no trains but a great bus service. It’s a good idea to pull together a travel plan to identify alternative routes for visitors. When this it is difficult to make a plan, then maybe it’s not the location for you.
What services/conveniences are nearby?
Are there places nearby where staff can buy their lunch? Where can you take clients for drinks or a meal? Where you can buy essential supplies for the office? What other businesses are in the area, e.g. banks, post offices, etc
Is it a trendy or upcoming neighbourhood?
Setting up in an area with a reputation as a hot spot for up-and-coming startups or promising young businesses can have a positive effect on how clients and staff view your company, as well as on hiring—not to mention being more likely to boast a thriving social scene.
2. The Building is key
Is there flexibility around time?
Don’t tie yourself in to a 10 year lease or similar – choose the flexibility of a Serviced Office and you will have a working space suitable for your growth no matter what happens – planned or unplanned. A service office contract will typically have little or no minimum length and often a 1 to 3 months notice period should you wish to leave.
Is the building secure?
How secure is the building? Do you need extra security for different areas? Have there been any recent break-ins? Are windows, skylights and doors secure, or will they need to be altered upon occupation?
Is there a reception service? What is the customer service like?
Does the building provide a manned reception, and even more importantly, does it provide good customer service? Is it manned by security types or more traditional receptionists? Even when the staff at the front desk aren’t your own, they will still be the first impression a client or other visitor has of your company.
Is there major building work planned?
It’s worth asking about any long-term building work planned for the near future. Moving into a brand new office only to find out the floor above is being completely renovated—and you’ve signed up to live with the noise and mess for many months—isn’t going to be a great experience.
Is the building well-maintained?
Does the company that manages the building do a good job? Find out who is managing the day-to-day operations, security and services of the building. Is it a credible firm? Ask other tenants about the quality of service.
Is there out-of-hours access?
When you wish to access at all times, this is essential to determine. When your staff are likely to need access to the building outside of normal office hours, you’ll need to consider how easy it is for them to do so. Is there 24-hour access and security?
Is there parking or bike storage?
There’s no point analysing how long it takes to drive or ride to the office unless you also consider what you’re going to do with your car or bike when you get there. Are there enough parking spaces? When your building doesn’t have its own car park, is there sufficient parking nearby for employees and regular visitors? You may wish to consider renting out several individual parking spaces for those all-important client visits.
3. The Space is key
Is there enough room?
Rather than agonising over square footage, do a ‘test fit’ of the space before deciding on a property. That way you can be sure you’re getting exactly the right amount of space for your business. For smaller offices, mock out a potential layout with newspaper taped together to represent desks, chairs and other equipment? You might feel a little foolish in the moment, but it’s a great way to better visualise how you’ll use the space.
Can you decorate?
You need to ascertain how much freedom you have to make the space your own. Are there any restrictions? When you can decorate as you see fit, will you have to return the space to neutral decor before you leave?
What are the acoustics like?
There are things to consider which are easy to miss when viewing an empty office with the windows closed. A noisy office is one of the most common complaints from staff. Check the acoustics of the internal space. An echoing space can be very uncomfortable to work in. Be sure to consider the external sound, too. It’s worth visiting the premises at different times of the day to check what it’s like at rush hour, when schools kick out, at night, etc.
Will the layout work for your business?
Take a long, hard look at the layout. It’s easy to be wowed by a clean, empty space or a tidy suite of offices, but how will the layout work for you? Is it on just one floor? Are there separate offices? Are they big enough or too big? Is it an open floor plan? Can areas be easily divided when needed? Will this work with your company’s existing style of work? Is it possible to carry out modifications on the space? When you are planning to divide the space (even temporarily), are there enough outlets, windows, heating units, etc., in each area? Larger floor plans are more cost effective because they lessen the need for multiple [break rooms], copy points, etc. Irregular shaped buildings fit fewer desks and will increase your cost per employee per square foot.
Is there room to expand?
Finally, it’s an obvious one, although you are probably hoping for growth, then make sure that there is room to grow. Serviced Office providers will also have multiple space sizes available so if you need to hire and expand the process is flexible and simple. The same applies were for whatever reason you need to downsize space, you will have full flexibility to do so.