Four Simple Rules for Finding Your Ideal Office
In the busy day-to-day running of a business, the office can feel like just a backdrop. But as the space in which your team spends most — if not all — of their working lives, the work environment you provide is major factor in staff satisfaction and productivity.
It's also the physical manifestation of your brand in the eyes of your clients. Finding the right office for your business can be a lengthy and challenging process, but it's definitely something worth getting right first time.
By following these four simple rules, this can be easier than it sounds.
Location, Location, Location
Ideally, you want to move into an area that will complement your business and your industry. A commercial office, for example, would be best placed in a central business district, whilst the base for a manufacturing company could be better suited to an industrial area.
Take a look at what companies are already operating nearby. Nestling in amongst the right sort of businesses can not only enhance your reputation, but will also prove useful for networking and accessing services you may need.
The office also needs to be convenient for staff and clients. Good public transport links are a must. If you're moving an existing team, consult them on how they get to work, and from where they travel. A straightforward commute is key to your team turning up on time and in the frame of mind to get things done. A bad commute can make somebody resent even the best of jobs, so if it's difficult for staff and clients to get to you, they'll eventually go elsewhere.
Finally, don't forget to make sure the location you choose is safe. It may seem like a no-brainer to choose a safe and attractive area for your office, but when you've got your eye on the budget, lower-priced properties in less than ideal areas can seem tempting. It's good to keep in mind that the area you operate in will speak for your business before you have the chance to. If your clients find themselves clutching their valuables closer as they walk down the road, it's not saying something positive.
Overcrowding in the workplace is unhealthy, bad for morale and detrimental to productivity. Generally speaking, you should allow for at least 2.5 square metres of office space per staff member. This can increase depending on the nature of your business. For example, a team in a contact centre need to be able to speak on the phone without disrupting one another's calls, whilst a graphic designer may need enough desk space for multiple screens and drawing space.
The size you settle on should work not only for the scale your business is operating on now, but the size you're envisaging for the projectable future. If you can afford a property that your company can grow into as your business expands, do. If not, it's worth trying to negotiate a shorter lease to prevent the property from holding you back later on.
Does the property have — or can it be modified to include — the facilities needed by your team? This starts outside. Even with good public transport links, an adequate and affordable parking solution is vital if staff or clients are likely to drive to the office. Accessibility is also a big factor to consider, especially if you advertise as an equal opportunities employer or regularly entertain visitors.
Inside, it's important to assess what spaces you need in addition to your team's main workspace. If you keep stock or large amounts of other resources at the office, you'll need plenty of storage space. If you regularly host face-to-face meetings with clients or partners, it could be worth investing in a property with meeting rooms and entertainment areas. If you don't need these things, you can save money by going for a much smaller property.
When considering staff facilities, it's again important to consult your employees if you're moving an existing team. If they habitually dine at their desks or nip out for a business lunch at a local restaurant, a kitchen could be superfluous use of space and money. If they bring food from home, a kitchen could be a good social hub for the office. Either way, a space where staff can take a break away from their desks is always a great asset.
Keep your costs in mind every step of the way. It's vital to include everything in your calculations. For example, if you need to completely remodel a property to turn it into your team's ideal workspace, that's going to be a lot more costly than renting a property that already has the facilities you need. On the other hand, choosing an office that shares bathroom or kitchen facilities with other businesses in the building can be a good way to minimise overheads such as water and electricity.
This may all sound like a juggling act, but it's ultimately just a case of balance. Weigh up the needs of your staff and clients, and outline a reasonable projection of your future needs as a company. Be financially savvy, without sacrificing your priorities. Your office is the heart of your business, so the more you put into choosing the right one, the more it will give back to you in the long run.
Once you’ve found your office location, you’ll need to start planning how you’ll move there. John Ryan Removals are the leading commercial relocation service in Melbourne, and can help you move your office without disruption.