Choosing a good office space is extremely significant to your business, because not only does it influence your day to day operations and your staff’s morale, but it also reflects your brand’s overall image. There are so many factors that can impact which office you choose; 77 Great Estates wanted to list 5 aspects that are crucial to this process. Overlook one of these, and the results could end up being detrimental to your business’s progression.
Location is quite possibly your most important consideration when renting your first office space. So, first and foremost, you should ask two key questions:
1. Is it easily accessible to employees?
2. Can clients get there in a hassle-free manner?
If the answer is yes to both questions, then you’re well on your way to finding an ideal office location. It’s good to ensure that the office is close enough for your team members to commute. Consider where your core employees live and whether the space is suitable for them. A long commute may push them to seek employment elsewhere. When considering a move, you might want to let your key staff have a say, so you don't risk losing them.
Moreover, you want your office to be accessible to clients, since traffic and parking is increasingly becoming a nightmare, you certainly don’t want your clients to feel exasperated before even arriving to your premises. Remember that, even in the tech age of video conferencing and Skype, face-to-face meetings are always better and more personal.
2. Budgeting Costs
After location, cost is your next big concern. Don’t choose an office that is going to put your business too far into debt and stunt its growth. Spend too little and you might either end up with an office you’re not happy with, or find yourself moving out after a few months. Spend too much and you might struggle to pay the rent or have to move again to downsize. And let’s face it, neither of such scenarios are ideal.
So to avoid such situations, you must ask yourself the following questions:
1. Can I afford to pay a three-month rent deposit on this office right now?
2. Have I asked about any hidden costs? (e.g. maintenance, extra cost of parking, etc.)
3. Is this office priced in line with similar office spaces in the area?
The first question gives you a very comprehensive indication of affordability whereas asking about hidden costs helps you protect yourself against being surprised with unexpected charges. The last question simply ensures you’re getting the best deal possible. Always make a quick comparison with other office spaces in the area to make sure you’re getting value for money.
The best thing to do is to start crunching numbers before you even start your search, in order to find a budget that will allow you to operate comfortably. There are a lot of expenses that go into renting an office space. Remember the extra expenses that really add up, especially if not accounted for in your original budget.
Personal space in an office could easily be overlooked, despite its importance. However, you know your business best. If your employees need bigger desks or more storage for instance, then calculate the space accordingly. There’s also the issue of a meeting and rest space. You’ll need an area to meet with clients, and your employees need somewhere to eat their lunch!
The following is a short list of simple questions that’ll help you work out if the offices you’re looking at is right, size-wise:
1. Will you have the right amount of floor space per person?
2. Do you have room to increase staff in line with growth projections?
3. Do you have a dedicated space for meetings with clients?
4. Are your employees going to be happy with their social/recreation areas?
Undoubtedly, a cramped office diminishes productivity, so don’t skimp on floor space.
This is an important feature for virtually every business nowadays, and very few businesses function efficiently without a reliable internet connection. Some offices, particularly managed or serviced offices, generally include internet access as part of their rent.
Understand, however, that infrastructure doesn’t just mean internet, either. What about postal services or telephone connections? With the ubiquity of smartphones so rampant these days, the latter might not be that important to you, but postal services are still crucial for signed documents or other physical items.
Here’s a series of questions for making sure the infrastructure in your office is going to be adequate:
1. Have you factored in the cost of any internet access into the price for this space?
2. Does this office have a dedicated postal address?
3. Can you ask the owner for a speed test to ensure that the ISP is providing sufficient service?
The speed test is a simple thing you can do to try and get real data that answers your question. If the service is good, the owner isn’t going to think twice about providing it.
This is a factor that is many a time put to the back burner while searching for a new office. There’s a lot to be said for office style. If you’re a business that hopes to become a “brand” or wishes to protect your brand image from its inception, then you’ll need to take this into account. An office can be a fantastic branding tool.
These are a few things that should be considered:
1. What other businesses operate in this area? Is it in line with the industry of your company?
2. Does this office allow you to customize or brand the office space at no extra cost?
3. Would you be proud posting interior pictures of this office space to our website?
Answering no to any of these questions, means you might want to reconsider. Some offices will add on costs to do the simplest of things like painting the walls or hanging pictures. Remember decorating an office helps your brand image and employees’ motivation!
Finding an office space that meets all your needs takes patience and researching skills. The more research you carry out, the higher your chances of finding the ideal place will be, with the terms and conditions that you’re comfortable with. You needn’t be highly skilled to rent a commercial space, but performing the required due diligence from your end will make you more comfortable with your decision.