You’re faced with the ominous task of finding new office space. Where to start? With a host of options on offer, and with the needs of different staff members to consider – not least working habits that have changed since the pandemic – it may feel like a daunting task. But the following tips should help you find the perfect space to meet your business needs.
Location, location, location. There’s far more to consider than simply the neighbourhood when it comes to the location of an office. Customers and potential recruits will likely make assumptions about your business based on the image and reputation of the area. Bear in mind too that if your new office is far from your target market, your sales team may spend more time on the road than with clients.
Transport links. Maybe post-pandemic the priority is to to be as close to as many of your team as possible to reduce travel. But being close to a station with decent connections to useful places – probably including London – will inevitably become important again. Find out how frequent the trains are, and what kind of track record services have. If you (or your clients) have a global presence, easy access to an airport can save precious time.
The commute. A long or stressful journey can put employees in a bad mood before they’ve even started work. Can staff members reach your office easily? If your employees need to travel between offices, you may want to consider the proximity of your proposed new space to your other sites and how easy the journey will be.
Local amenities. Convenient access to places to eat, buy food or socialise after work will enhance the working experience of staff. Bear in mind too that employees will have errands to run after work or during their lunch breaks. They will appreciate if your office is close to banks, pharmacies and a shopping area.
Flexibility. One of the exciting things about starting a business is the potential for growth. You don’t know where you’re going to be in one, two or five years. Will your office space or the range of space nearby offer you the flexibility – in terms of space or contract terms – to grow and adapt to market conditions? The current trend for ‘flexspace’ helps businesses be agile and adapt to growth or changing market conditions.
Broadband. Fast and reliable broadband is the backbone of most businesses. As use of new communications and cloud-based technologies explodes, so the importance of decent internet connections has risen up the ranks of key requirements for office tenants.
Office facilities. Do the facilities on offer reflect well on your brand? Smart loos and cool kitchen facilities will make an impression on visitors and can enhance the experience of working somewhere dramatically. Are there break-out areas or space to hold private meetings outside of your dedicated office space? Conversely, are you being offered facilities that you actually need, or are they just there to draw you in to a more expensive facility?
Local labour market. If you’re a growth hungry business and likely to want to take on new staff in the near future, access to talent is a major business consideration. Is there a decent pool of well-educated job candidates in the area? Cities with thriving universities and colleges tend to boast a bigger pool of talent.
Branding and culture. The ideal office space should enable you and your employees to uphold the culture of your business. The working environment has a significant effect on the productivity and morale of your employees. Similarly, your office space will speak volumes to your clients about the culture of your business.
A clear and transparent contract. After inspecting the space thoroughly and confirming that it is a perfect fit for your business, do not rush to sign on the dotted line. Read all the terms and clarify any cost implications of each clause of the lease or licence agreement. Check that there are no additional charges or binding clauses in the fine print and make sure you understand how long the initial term and notice period is.