Moving your business into new office space sounds exciting but there are a number of pitfalls that many businesses have found which has proved expensive and resource-intensive to rectify. Here are a few key areas that you need to think long and hard about before you may the big move.
If you're unsure about the size of the office space you require then do not rent somewhere based on looks and facilities alone. If find an office that is too small you will have to move again in the near future if your business begins to grow. If you office space is tool large you will end up paying for space that you are not using which is inefficient and could prove a costly mistake.
A basic rule of thumb is to use 7 square meters for each employee. If you have a call center then you may be able to get away with less. Do not take more space than you need to without you are planning to expand or the space is offered at a fantastic rate.
If you are a small business you could try renting serviced offices until you find the right location and set up for your requirements. Serviced offices are slightly more expensive but tend to have shorter leasing agreements which means you have the flexibility to move should you need to. There are plenty of serviced office locations around so finding a lease to suit you should be fairly easy.
Cost of Premises
Make sure you never rent offices that you do not think you can afford. Business can fluctuate rapidly throughout the year so do not use your current trading as an indication of the future. Changes out of your control, such as the increase in VAT, can have a significant impact on your business so be wary and only rent what you can afford. It is better to know you can afford to relocate to larger offices further down the line than having to see out an expensive leasing contract that you can not afford. Do not get carried away by the glamor of some offices. There are plenty of opportunities to negotiate down on price.
Location of Premises
When moving into your new office space you need to think carefully about the location. Ask yourself if this is a good location for your business, its future growth, customers and your employees. If you rent office space in a cheap location with limited transport links, below par facilities and with a poor crime record you will struggle to find staff who will want to work there. Finding the right location is very much a balancing act. Try to weigh up costs against what you need and what your employees expect.
If your new office space is outside a main city you may struggle to find a high caliber of staff and you may also lose your existing staff. Cities do act as a magnet for talent and the more central you are, the easier it is to find them. Obviously, this comes at a cost.
On the flip side, there are also benefits to being situated just out of town. Many young people can not afford to live in the center of a city so basing your business on the skirts can also be advantageous. Any further than 10 miles from the center of town, however, can limit your appeal.
Poor Transport Links
Nobody likes spending 2-3 hours getting home from work each day. Therefore, make sure that you new offices suit you and your employees. If you already have people working for you, try to be as accommodating as possible to their needs and their family's needs. You will never please everyone but if you can base your decision around your most valued employees then you give yourself the best chance of keeping them.
Regardless of common belief, cities have very good transport links but due to the sheer number of people, some days feel like a complete 'rat race' and journeys can take far longer than expected. Think about transport back in the event of bad weather or disruption. Can your employees get into work via train, bus, tram, bike, car share, etc?
Also think about your customers. How often do they visit your business promotions? Does a location with poor transport links hinder the perception of your business?
Poor IT Infrastructure
So you have now found the office that you think is perfect for your business but have you investigated the IT and telephony infrastructure? Before you move into your new office space you need to make sure you have the systems to support your business. If you have no or limited broadband access, limited phone connections or connection points, you business may suffer as a result. Installing new systems and terminals is not a 5 minute job so make sure your new offices have, at the very least, the same set up as your current location. If you overlook this factor you could frustrate your employees and lose your customers. Do not underestimate the potential damage caused by a poor IT infrastructure. Try to negotiate this before moving in if the current systems are of a poor standard.
If you are based in a city it is highly probable that some of your employees will travel to work by car, unless you are in the congestion zone that is. Parking is a serious considering for those who live away from easy accessible transport links or for those who live further out of town. Make sure you ask your existing employees how they plan to travel to work and see if you can negotiate parking spaces into the price. If you have forecasted to grow your work then remember to do the same with your parking allocation. Expecting employees to pay to park on a daily basis is not viable. How your work travel into work is not necessarily down to you but making sure they are happy when they reach work is. Try to research other local parking facilities available and may try to share parking spaces with a neighboring business.
Poor Natural Light
This sounds like an obvious one but nobody can function effectively in a poorly lit office with no windows or limited light. Basement offices can seem like a good idea but lack of natural light, especially in the winter months, can depress your work. Light is important if you are to maintain a good mood in the office and a positive environment. Make sure your new office space has plenty of natural light and also invest in artificial lighting to brighten up the place. Plants will also help to maintain a positive atmosphere.
Lack of Security
Your staff should be like your family and your beloved values like your essentials at home. Therefore, high level security should not be underestimated. Make sure you back up everything all your systems information in another location and invest in an alarm system that will trigger an alert to the police within seconds should there be a break-in or fire.
Make sure your doors are reinforced; Your fire doors are locked at night and your windows are securely fastened and can withstand a potential break-in. You should also check for rotten frames or corrosion that could lead to windows or doors being easily removed by burglars. Security cameras are also recommended so you can record evidence in the event of a break in.
A break-in can seriously damage or even ruin your business. Make sure you take the correct steps to protect it, especially on the day you move in. Some burglars will watch you move in and then strike before you are settled. Do not be a victim!
Poor Disabled Access
Every business promises should have easy disabled access and out of the building. Without these access points you may limit yourself with regards to attracting new talent so make sure you have ramps, toilets and lift access if applicable. The Disability Discrimination Act states that you must make sure you have facilities of the same standard for people with disabilities as you have for those without. If these facilities do not already exist then try to negotiate the installation with your prospect landlord.
If you want to attract strong talent staff then you need to make sure your office location is a safe environment for them to travel to and from. Therefore, research your preferred choice to ensure your staff will be safe when they leave at night. Remember, winter months can be dark, especially if people leave the office late so easy access to local transport with strong street lighting should be sufficient.