Look before you sign: Important considerations when choosing a serviced office

Your business plan is ready, your key employees are on board. Now, what you need is the right serviced office. Making the right choice will save you time and money. It will create the right impression and get your business off to a good start.

Here are some parameters you need to consider before you sign on the dotted line for your office lease.

Location

This is a driving force in the decision. You want your office to be business central. It should be easily accessible by clients as well as employees. Check out for yourself the availability of public transportation. If the transportation network is good, you might even consider moving to the suburbs—which could be a significant saving. It’s a good idea to talk to people who already work in your planned location to determine pros and cons.

Infrastructure costs

If you are renting or leasing the office, you will incur infrastructure costs varying from laying carpets to buying furniture and equipment, to wiring. Not to mention staffing and day-to-day running costs. That’s why a serviced office is a far better choice. All these things are taken care of. All you have to do is just walk in and get down to business.

Office services

Running an office involves a host of services. These include reception and telephone answering services, pantry services and business support. The quality of these services has a direct impact on the productivity of your business, employee morale and customer confidence. Most providers of serviced offices have a list of services they provide. The key question is the quality of service, the commitment and experience of the staff. You might consider a trade off between quality and price but this may prove costly in the long run. Discreet enquiries from current users will give you an idea about the kind of service you can expect to get. This is not an area where you should make compromises. Get the very best service available.

Hidden costs

After moving in, you may encounter costs that you had not considered or budgeted for. These can be substantial. While everything cannot be anticipated, it makes sense to ask questions however trivial they may sound and get satisfactory answers. Also, it’s important to read the fine print. The terms and conditions you agree to are important and oversights might prove costly. A legal eye going over the terms and conditions is a good idea.

IT infrastructure support

Your operational efficiency depends on how well the computers, servers, printers and other IT equipment run. Check on the internet bandwidth. Is internet availability in this location hampered by traffic congestion and slowdowns? Delays accessing the internet result in productivity loss. They also damage your credibility. Consider whether you would have to install upgrades of internet bandwidth, which will add to expenses. It’s best to get your own IT consultant to check out the reliability of internet connection in the proposed office before you move in.

Safety

Reputed serviced office providers ensure fire safety and other protection for a safe working environment. Nevertheless, don’t take this for granted. The safety of your employees is at stake. This is, of course, the most important consideration. Moreover, there would be a lot of expensive equipment in the office which also needs to be safeguarded. Make sure that the highest standards of safety are guaranteed.

Total cost assessment

After all the plans are in place, make a realistic assessment of the actual payout that you will incur. Not surprisingly, this will differ significantly from initial estimates. Include every detail, however small. Factor in unexpected breakdowns, delays and emergencies. Now match this with your budget. If you see significant budget over-runs likely to happen, see where you can make expenditure cuts. It’s best to do this before you make the final commitment to move in.

Make a checklist of your requirements and make sure all the important parameters have been considered before you take that all-important step—moving into your serviced office. This will make a difference to the bottom-line as well as the productivity of your business, employee well being and customer delight.

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