As your office environment plays a crucial role in your employees’ productivity, engagement and satisfaction, your office space reflects your company culture. However, many companies across the world often neglect how facility management can significantly contribute to an organization’s growth and success.
A survey reveals that 97 percent of employees believe that their office space is a symbol of how their employers value them. Another study of 1,000 American workers shows that only 11 percent of employees are highly satisfied with their work environment, and nearly half the workers claim that their office design and decor have no personality.
Not convinced yet? Here are some benefits to having an office space that’s beautifully designed and decorated according to your company’s vision and culture.
- Employees who enjoy and like their work environments will be more engaged, productive, happy, and healthy.
- A well-maintained indoor office environment results in people taking fewer sick days, reduces employee churn, improves employee satisfaction, and increases productivity.
- Dissatisfied and disengaged employees are unproductive and do not make positive contributions to an organization.
- Highly disengaged employees are not satisfied with their office environment.
There’s a wide variety of factors to consider when improving your office space or finding a new office space for lease altogether. Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that employees need four key areas in the office where they can focus, collaborate, learn, and socialize.
We’ve come up with a comprehensive guide to choosing a new office space that will help you and your organization flourish and succeed.
Key Factors to Consider When Looking for a New Office Space
1. Location and Accessibility
Location is the most important factor when choosing an office space. Having an accessible location is very important for any business, as it can greatly contribute to the success or failure of any organization.
In most developing cities, traffic and lack of parking spaces are major concerns for workers. A recent study shows that almost a third of employees show up late to work at least once a month, with 50 percent of employees blaming heavy traffic and gridlock for their tardiness.
With an office space that’s accessible by both public and private transportation, employees don’t have to worry about getting to and from work daily. Meanwhile, clients can find your office with ease.
Furthermore, having an office that’s located within a business district or that’s close to establishments such as malls, restaurants, bars, and coffee shops can contribute to accessibility and improving employee morale.
The cost of an office space is something that needs to be strategized effectively. The price also affects the net income of your business and determines the level of reserves it can manage.
However, if the price or subsidy for the office space is too little, it can result in an office that’s sub-standard with a poor location and working environment. On the other hand, if the price is inflated, then the business may end up spending more than what can afford, thereby burdening the business with a high lease and extra expenses.
When choosing an office space, ensure that there are no hidden charges such as maintenance fees, parking fees, association dues, or other additional charges. Take into consideration as well if the lease price matches the location and facilities included.
3. Company Size
The size of the premises needs to match the size of your company. You don’t want to cram your employees into a tiny space with no room to breathe, and neither do you want to overspend on a huge space that you don’t need.
A general guideline is that every employee should have approximately 21 square meters. So, if you have 10 employees, you should be looking for an office space that’s around 210 square meters. However, businesses vary per type, and each may have different requirements.
Knowing your sizing requirements will prevent you from moving from one office space to another since it’s another added expense you don’t want.
If you’re planning to grow your company and hire more employees, then you may be better off with an office space that’s bigger and more flexible in terms of layout and design.
4. Technology and Infrastructure
Businesses nowadays can rarely function with internet connectivity, making this an essential factor when choosing an office space. Some office spaces are equipped with internet connectivity and incorporated with the rent.
However, it’s crucial to have a reliable, stable, and fast internet connection to prevent hindrances in productivity. Determine whether the office space you’re looking at can accommodate changes in the infrastructure according to your business needs.
5. Layout and Design
The layout and design of your office space are not merely an option you can consider. It’s a necessity that significantly impacts employee productivity, engagement, and satisfaction. The look and feel of your office reflect your company culture and say a lot about how you value your business and your employees.
According to recent studies, the key factors to be considered in terms of office design are office layout, natural and artificial lighting, air quality and ventilation, noise and acoustics, look and feel, and proximity to nature (e.g., plants and natural scenery).
6. Contingency Plan
Despite the preparations and careful considerations, some situations may precipitate your company to terminate your lease, so there needs to be an exit strategy should the office space fail to meet your business requirements in the future.
These unforeseen circumstances may include natural calamities, change in business demographics, structural inadequacies, and more.
Office leases with shorter terms may need to have a contingency plan in place to be able to leave or move when the need arises.
Questions to Ask Before Choosing an Office Space
1. What’s the nature of my business?
The first question to ask yourself and your team is the nature of your business. Your office space should be aligned with your organization’s long-term goal, what you do, and who your clients are.
Your nature of business will help you decide whether it’s imperative to be close to suppliers, competitors, or other establishments. It will also help you determine the facilities that you need to prioritize such as a spacious reception area for offices that regularly have clients coming in and out, a private, quiet room where your employees can rest and relax between working hours, or even a media theater where you can hold big presentations and conferences.
2. Where is my existing office?
There’s a reason you’re looking for a new office space, and chances are, your current office does not meet location, infrastructure, design, size, and pricing requirements.
Evaluate your existing office to determine what you want and what you don’t want in your new office space.
3. How much am I willing to spend?
Determine whether you are prepared to scale up and get a bigger and better office or if you are moving to downsize and reduce your expenses. Set a budget with a little wiggle room, and make sure not to go over your allotted budget. As mentioned, you don’t want to end up spending more than you’re earning.
Calculate your net income to determine how much you’re prepared to spend. Aside from the actual lease and monthly utilities, the cost of getting a new office space may also include improvements, decorations, furniture, and equipment.
4. Is there room for my company to grow?
You may be a startup company with just a dozen employees, but your company size will grow along with your business. When looking for an office space, assess for scalability and flexibility.
Can the space accommodate more desks and people? Can its infrastructure be improved? Are renovations allowed by the building?
If you can’t afford a bigger space to give your company room to grow, then opt for a shorter lease, and include terms in your contract that give you the first right of negotiation on any adjacent space that becomes vacant.
5. Is it the right location for my key employees?
Here’s where you can get the whole team on board. Ask your employees about the ideal location that makes it easy for them to go to work, as a long and expensive commute may prompt your staff to look for another job in a more convenient location.
6. What’s my company culture?
Do you have a fun and dynamic culture with happy hour Fridays? Do you let employees bring their pets to work? Or do you have a formal company culture that strictly requires employees to be in their best business attire and behavior?
Get a firm grasp on your company culture before choosing your new office space. Your office is where your employees spend the most of their day in, and it’s a symbol of your company values and ethos. When clients and potential hires visit your office, they can gauge the success of your organization.
7. Is the building law compliant?
When evaluating a potential office space, make sure that the building complies with laws. Does the building have wheelchair ramps or fire exits?
Many buildings have been closed for operations due to non-compliance with government standards and requirements. Avoid potential problems by making sure that your new office space follows all government regulations and policies.
8. How secure are the lease and rental rate?
Rental rates can rise every year as the real estate value of properties is appraised. You don’t want to end up cornered into renewing your lease after your landlord decided to increase the rates.
It’s also recommended to include a clause in your lease to cap any increase at no more than 5 percent.
Tips for Finding an Office Space
1. Plan your Business Needs
Plan your business needs down to every detail including tools, equipment, and peripherals you need. Indicate how many desks you need, and what rooms and facilities you want your new office space to have. Note down the technology and infrastructure your business specifically requires, as well as other amenities.
Create a detailed report about this so that you can cover all bases when meeting with facilities leasing agents and landlords.
2. Consider Leasing
Unless you’re a big brand with a multi-billion-dollar net worth, purchasing your own office space is impractical. Aside from the lower upfront expenses, leasing also gives you more wiggle room to experiment and try new ideas. It lightens the pressure of compensating for your investments, in case business becomes slower or faster.
An office space for lease will give you the flexibility you need to focus on business aspects that can help your organization prosper.
3. Consider Shared Office Spaces
Shared office spaces are ideal for startup companies with small teams. It saves you the cost of renting an entire office space and lets you subsidize the utilities and equipment with other tenants.
Additionally, you’ll meet a lot of people from other niches. Chances are, you’ll find another entrepreneur with a business that fits yours. You can develop partnerships and business relationships in shared office spaces.
4. Have a backup plan
Once you’ve shopped around, shortlist up to five office spaces that meet all or most of your criteria. Create a pros and cons list so that you can better weigh your options. Consult with key employees to decide on the best office space for your business.
Have a backup plan in case your first choice falls through to offset any frustrations you may have with that deal. Should you have any more reservations, talk to a leasing facility or office space consultant.
Finding and choosing an office space that best suits your business requirements is no easy feat. Follow these steps to ensure that the office space you ultimately want is optimized for increased productivity, better collaboration, and improved employee engagement.
If you need help finding an office space for lease, consult with our facilities leasing expert today.
Jen spent six years in real estate, with three years in commercial leasing and facility management. She is now the leasing director of Figari handling leasing and business development. Her charisma and dynamic attitude certainly make her the life of the party. In her free time, she enjoys going to the beach and getting a tan.