Choosing an office space is no small task, and the failure of considering even one abstract decision at length may have far reaching consequences far into the future. We lay down five important but non-exhaustive issues to consider when choosing your future work location.
Where Does your Office Need to Be?
Where does your office need to be located? Does it matter if it’s in the Central Business District (CBD) or can it go much further afield? If client impressions count, then the location of your office could be a large statement of your brand’s success, ideologies and beliefs.
It’s no secret that the right address can play a part in solidifying your business’s appearance as a prestigious and successful one. In this case, you might want to take a cue from the unspoken rules of your industry.
Service-based firms for example, tend to value the prestige of location and evaluate its social implications rather more carefully than say, manufacturing ones.
Who are the People who will Walk through your Doors?
Most of the people who come to your office often will usually be the people who work for you or your company, but every business will also entertain its fair share of prospects, clients, or JV partners. As such its really important to ensure that the people who will visit your business premise find it comfortable and convenient to do so.
You might want to ensure that your employees should be able to arrive at work at a suitable time without undue hassle, for example. Think not just about your employees in a general way, but also across income levels. What transport will they likely access? Are there enough parking bays for my C-levels and middle managers?
Overall traffic might influence your location decision as well. If you operate the sort of business that receives constant deliveries for example, then flooring materials, width of entrances and the physical visibility of your office may be questions worth considering.
What Kind of Space can you Afford?
Very often, price will be the deciding point for many businesses – with good reason. The rental or purchase of a physical location is often one of the biggest capital expenditure to a firm, and a bad decision could very well plunge a firm’s healthy bank balance into a dire straits.
Would it be best practice then to select the cheapest office properties in the market?
Often, the answer is no. Making a decision based solely on price alone might expose you to inconvenient locations, poor building management and maintenance, and possibly sick building syndrome. The layout might be poor, with dead spaces that require expensive renovations. An office you and your employees are not happy working in will also eventually be bad for your business health. You might even find yourself burdened with the hassle of moving out again!
How Big should your Office Space Be?
There’s a fine art to planning office spaces. Do you go with your current number of employees, or invest in a larger space with the expectancy of future growth?
How will you utilize the spare space whilst waiting for your business to expand? It is possible for the nature of your business to change or diversify?
Operating in too large a space will consume valuable resources and be a sinkhole to your finances. However, if you do not make enough space, the hassle of expanding may end up being an unanticipated worry in the near future.
Whilst such projections require strategic skills, it’s still possible to consider the special needs of your current staff. A typical 70-80 square feet of floor per person is suggested for work space. It is also important to take into consideration common areas of traffic and shared spaces, and dedicated spaces such as mess halls and meeting rooms. Storage spaces should also be anticipated, both from staff and operational perspectives.
Aside from the Usual, are there any Hidden Costs?
Sometimes it can be hard to tell between deal and dud – what seems like a great investment might end up costing your company more than expected. Surprise costings may be seasonal, legal or administrative, and may or may not be pecuniary – for example, it might require you to perform certain infrastructure maintenance.
It’s important to do your research thoroughly. Are there shared services that you might be required to contribute to? What are your rights and responsibilities in your shared building?
Your research should cover the area outside of your office as well. For example, are certain areas or access roads regularly shut down for parades or military drills? Are there particular festivals that happen nearby which might contribute to noise distractions? It’s important to have at least a broad indication of what you might need to prepare, so that you won’t be saddled with charges and inconveniences you didn’t expect.