So, you run a business and the time has come to upgrade your working quarters. We may well live in the age of the home office but – coronavirus aside – we have actually lived in it for quite a while and a stubborn attachment to the physical office space in corporate culture doesn’t seem to be loosening any time soon. However many of your employees work remotely, any reputable company over a certain size will have at least a home base of operations. For online-based businesses this could amount to nothing more than the working space for a few of the most important decision-making employees, and for others it could be a fully-fledged office, designed to accommodate all your staff. Regardless of what kind, the office is still a part of business life. If you find your business going from strength to strength, the time will inevitably arrive when it is time to make a discerning choice on a winning office space.
But what is there to prioritise when selecting an office space for a business? Well, that depends so much on the business itself that it is rather hard to make any hard-and-fast rules here. Suffice to say, a proper office space is one of those (often ongoing) expenditures that are every bit as essential as proper financial consultation or DPIA guidance.
1The Full Cost of an Office
Indeed, an office is not a one-off purchase and creating the perfect working space is as much a matter of wisely choosing the right physical space as it is the adaptation of that space to your specific business needs. For that reason, it is important to prioritise office spaces which are versatile and adaptable. You may want to even set aside space for potential future growth – if things are really going the right way fast.
It is all about employing some arithmetic and thinking ahead. Like anything, you should define your needs before moving on with any plans to buy an office – and not only your present needs, but your future needs too. After you have done that, you should be able to do some financial forecasting and work out just how much the office will be worth to you. If an office you have your eye on has a great central and attractive location and the latest amenities and infrastructure, for example, then you should be able to calculate just how much this will be worth to you in the long run. If you are moving to a new office then, chances are, your business is growing. Will the increased revenue that comes with growth ultimately pay for the office? If so, over what timescale? These are the essential questions you should ask yourself before you make your first move.
2Tips for Choosing the Perfect Office Space
Luckily for anybody wishing to move their business to a new office, this is hardly something that nobody has done before. Of all office equipment, the actual office itself is one with the longest history. Needs have changed, but the office is yet to shuffle off. Accordingly, there is a rich corpus of advice and tips that have been built up over the centuries regarding what makes for the ideal office environment. Offices can be varied, but there are some fundamentals that everybody should know ahead of moving to a new office. Here follows some of the most important.
Remote working and the pandemic be damned, location remains one of the most essential factors regarding an office’s ultimate utility. What makes for a good location? Before you can answer that, you need to consider the geographical area over which your employees are spread and consider the public transport links (or car-parking facilities) that will allow them to easily travel to the office. This is not a particularly difficult step to follow, and most offices placed in a good location with good transport links will advertise this fact pretty heavily. Just be sure to check it all out beforehand.
Obviously, price is important. And you need to engage in some strategic financial planning when picking a good office space. As mentioned above, you should buy office space with a mind to make the money back within a specific period of time – a little arithmetic and projection here is essential. A final point to keep in mind when it comes to price is to look out for any hidden charges. These can range from maintenance fees to parking fees and association dues. Only when you have factored all these in can you make an informed choice about how much you are willing to spend on an office space.
If you’re moving to a new office, then this will most likely be because you have concluded that you need more space. As mentioned, this is related both to your current company size and how much you can expect it to grow over a specific period of time. But more than that, it is important to also keep in mind that an office also needs to accommodate more than just people. You will also require enough meeting rooms to use when needed, as well as all the office equipment necessary for the day-to-day running of your business. All this comprises a company’s “size”, and just how much space you actually need.
Technology and Infrastructure
So, we have mentioned that an office needs to accommodate equipment – just what is that equipment? The technology that your company will require should be factored into any analysis ahead of purchasing new office space. Internet connectivity is, of course, the most essential by quite a long way. The main consideration here, for example, will be whether that internet is included in the rent and whether it is sufficient for the running of your business. Beyond this, you may also need to consider things like safety infrastructure and whether the myriad laws and regulations regarding fire safety are complied with. The working world hasn’t entirely migrated online yet, and fire safety seems set to be a major concern for all places of work for some time yet.
Ultimately, a good rule of thumb might be to constantly look forward. Successful businesses are never static, and neither are the office spaces they require. Always pay attention to what you can afford – but never forget to look ahead either.