Whether you are moving into your first building or relocating from your existing premises, choosing an office space is one of the most crucial decisions for a business, because it has huge repercussions. In fact, the choice you make can go a long way towards influencing whether a business succeeds or fails.
Such high stakes would make any decision feel overwhelming, but choosing the right office space becomes an even more daunting task when you realize the sheer number of factors you have to take into account. To help you out, we have compiled a list of the most important things you should consider before arriving at a final decision.
Perhaps the most important consideration of all revolves around how accessible your office will be. In particular, you need to think about how easy it will be for staff and clients to get there. Research public transport links to make sure there are options for those without a car, and double check there are plenty of places to park.
Long, difficult or otherwise stressful commutes can negatively affect staff morale, limit the number of candidates who apply for vacancies and put clients off visiting your premises. If you are relocating, it may even be worthwhile allowing key staff members to weigh in on any decision you make, so that you do not risk losing them.
Before settling on a particular office space, you need to determine whether you can actually afford it. Early on, you need to establish a budget and this should cover the cost of renting or buying the premises, as well as things like office interior design and other 'hidden costs' you may otherwise overlook.
"Calculate the full cost of the space – rent, utilities, construction costs, moving expenses, and other costs that may not be obvious," says Lisa Girard, writing for Entrepreneur.com. "Although rental rates are usually negotiated at the time of renewal, you also can try in the original contract to cap any increase."
Another important thing to take into account is the location of your competitors. While there may occasionally be sensible, strategic reasons for doing so, in the vast majority of cases it will not make sense to be located too close to a major competitor, who could take business away from you.
Meanwhile, before deciding on an office, you will need to think about other neighbors as well. If you are likely to have staff working overnight, you will not want a noisy nightclub nearby. However, you may want to find an office space that has shops and food options close by, so that staff can take advantage of them during their breaks.
Failure to plan for the future is one of the most common mistakes business leaders make, especially when it comes to making plans for future expansion. For this reason, a key part of your office space planning should focus on the potential for growth in the years ahead.
Can you add an extra 10 workstations if you need to? Can you introduce new technology to the workplace without causing major upheaval for staff? It might not always be possible to afford the additional space you may need for future planning, but in these cases, it might be worth negotiating a shorter lease term.
Finally, it makes sense to consider what message your choice of office sends to staff and clients alike. Consider the reputation of the local area and what that may say about your business. You may find an excellent, affordable building, but if it is located in an area with a poor reputation, people may cast aspersions about your organization.
In addition to the area's reputation, you need to consider what the building itself says about you and your business. Does it fit in with your company values? Does it have the right character? Does it look too extravagant, which can cause resentment from clients, or not extravagant enough, which can raise questions about your business' health?
Reno is a founder and director of a leading exhibition and office design company Enigma Visual Solutions, specializing in retail designs, interiors, graphic productions, signage systems, office space planning, event branding, conference set design and much more. He specializes in experiential marketing and event productions. He enjoys sharing his thoughts on upcoming marketing ideas and design trends. Feel free to follow him on twitter.
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