So you have to get a new office space? The decision isn’t easy. The space you choose can impact your business in many ways. It can affect your day-to-day business, employee morale and, importantly, your brand image.
Here are some considerations you should keep in mind before signing on the dotted line on your lease or sale deed.
The right location
The law of supply and demand might dictate the location. Striking the right balance between what is available and affordable and what you need is a challenge. Take time to find a location that is at least close to what you are looking for. Remember, your business will have to live with the location you choose for a long time.
What kind of a neighbourhood will you be located in? It’s not too difficult to find out if it is a good neighbourhood in which your employees can feel safe. Check out the amenities nearby. What about transport links – easy access to trains, buses and taxis? What about parking space? Are there places for lunch and to entertain clients nearby? Is there easy access to banks, pharmacies, shops? Another point to note is if the neighbourhood is considered trendy. Is it a favourite spot for start-ups and new businesses? This might well have a positive effect on how clients view your company.
Checking out the building
The building in which you plan to set up your office needs careful examination. Find out if the security is adequate or if you would need to hire additional security. Most office buildings have a common reception area. Does the staff give good service? Don’t forget they are the ones who will create the first impression a client or visitor will have of your company.
Is the building well-maintained? A little research will pay dividends. Look around. Talk to existing tenants. It’s also helpful to know the businesses other occupants are in. If the businesses are similar to yours, are there any competitors in the building? It makes sense to secure information. Inadvertent leaks are inevitable in such close surroundings. It’s also important to know how safe the building is after office hours, specially if your employees have to work late.
Making the most of available space
How does the space measure up to your current needs and those of the future? Is there enough room? Don’t just make a visual assessment. Why not do a mock-up of a potential layout with newspaper taped together to represent desks, chairs, other furniture and equipment. An empty space can look deceptively large. Once you have this mock-up you’ll have a better sense of how much space you have and how to make best use of it for your needs.
While there may not be much of a choice in the matter, you should still determine if the layout will work for your business. Can the areas be easily divided? Is it conducive to an open office plan? Are there any irregularly shaped spaces that need to be factored into the design?
You should also find out how much flexibility you have to decorate and put your own stamp on the place. Will you have the freedom to make major changes? This is a good time to estimate the cost of re-doing the office space. In most cases, this can turn out to be quite substantial so budget for it remembering it always ends up costing more than you thought.
One thing many people miss out on is checking the acoustics. You may well discover that the office is noisier than you thought. Why not check this out at different times of the day? Also, do make a note of any building work in progress. You may find you’re signing up to live with noise and mess for a long time.
Choosing the right office space will have so many repercussions on your business. It’s well worth the time and expense to get it right.