Finding office space is often seen as not only labour intensive, but costly and – well, pretty boring. So MT asked Chris Meredith from officebroker.com for his tips on making finding the right office a breeze…
1. Find a helping hand
Ignorance isn’t bliss when it comes to securing office space, and for many newcomers the market can seem a daunting place. It doesn’t need to be. There’s loads of information online – and other firms in your network are often willing to help. If you stock up on as much information as possible before you begin your hunt, it’ll save you time and money.
2. Look at value, rather than cost
Money’s tight for many businesses at the moment – so it’s understandable that the first things firms want to know is how much an office will cost. That said, it’s just as important to weigh up the overall value of the office package. What bills are included? Do you get free meeting room access? A cheap office with no added services may actually work out more expensive in the long term.
3. Want vs need
Be clear on what your business needs, rather than what you want it to have – and be prepared to adapt. Sometimes, some of the best offices are ones that do the basics well. The most expensive space is dead space, so take only what you need to be productive and then look to expand the space as the business grows.
4. Location – does it matter?
Specific industries need to locate themselves in certain geographic areas – but that’s not the case for everyone. Explore a wider area and consider how it will impact elements like your employees’ commute. A prime time spot in the city centre might seem like a step forward, but it might not to your employees after they arrive at the office drained from the extra 30 minutes you’ve added on to their commute.
5. Refine and define
It’s worth noting that services like meeting rooms and photocopying are often available ad-hoc in serviced offices – a bonus if you only require them occasionally, particularly when you consider the cost of supporting them on a permanent basis.
6. Culture conscious
You know how sometimes a new person tries to join a group of friends and doesn’t quite fit in? That can be the case for businesses when they’re moving into a shared space. Make sure your company culture matches that of other firms in the building.
7. Favour flexibility?`
Things change, so it’s important to investigate what would happen if your requirements changed at short notice. That way, you’ll be fully clued-up if a bad situation does arise.
8. Look for the details
Pay attention to the details – they’ll provide insight into the day-to-day standards on offer. Things to look for include overflowing waste bins and anything that shows a general lack of care – after all, if you move in, that sort of thing will reflect on your business.
9. Work out the real cost
The office you select needs to deliver the space, services, environment and access that you need – so don’t shy away from paying that little bit extra if it means the office does everything you need it to.
10. Don’t be afraid to ask
From access to a bomb shelter to additional space for a taxidermy display – in 10 years, we’ve received some unusual requests. But just because your request is a bit strange – others have include a ‘waste’ area for a colonic irrigation firm – that isn’t to say that someone out there won’t be able to help.