If you can identify with any one of The 10 Best Reasons to Move Your Office, it may be time to start searching for new office space. But where to begin?
There are four main steps you need to take:
- Allow yourself enough time to choose the right office space
- Establish meaningful criteria for measuring your options
- Set a realistic budget
- Evaluate your options
1. Allow Yourself Time to Choose New Office Space
Wait too long to get started and you’ll put your entire organization under time pressure. Which often leads to rushed decisions and poor judgement. In fact, research shows we regret more quick decisions than decisions made from fewer options.
To properly evaluate new office space, take time to establish meaningful criteria up front. Then use it to measure the available options. No regrets.
2. Establish Meaningful Criteria
So how do you make sure you have the right criteria in place?
Meet with employees one-on-one or in small groups to discuss your current office environment. Listen to their challenges; aim to uncover how a new office space might address these concerns. But don’t be so focused on problems that you overlook what is working in your current office. Get people talking about things they love too, so you can replicate that success. Employee interviews can also reveal how important things like commute times, building security, out-of-hours access, proximity to transit, parking and other amenities are to your employees. Beware, you may lose staff members if they perceive the relocation requires too great a lifestyle change.
Get familiar with your employees’ day-to-day activities by observing how they utilize current office spaces. Pay attention to how often break rooms and other common areas are used – and for which activities. Are doors to private offices kept open or closed most of the time? What kind of atmosphere does this create? Are people frequently leaving the office for snacks and coffee? Do they end up eating at their desks because there isn’t enough space elsewhere. Note whether people generally seem lively and positive, or sluggish and frustrated at the office. Remember, the ultimate objective is to better serve your employees with a healthy, productive new office space, not to spy or judge.
It’s easy to list all the problems a new office space might solve – chances are you could brainstorm an entire list yourself, right now. While this can be a good place to start, don’t let it stop you from thinking about the opportunities a new office could create as well. Improving your location, for example, might attract new talent and new business – even if this isn’t a “problem” you’re currently facing. In a brainstorm session all ideas are equal. All you need to get them flowing is a casual atmosphere and a little fun. And a giant whiteboard to write them all down.
Review your business objectives. How does moving to a new office support these larger goals? If your company is positioned for growth, a new office can provide the additional space you need. If your goal is to improve internal communication, layout may be just as important as the overall size of the new office. A new office space can also support branding objectives. Bridge the gap between your brand message and brand experience with an office that’s as innovative/efficient/grassroots… as your company.
Once you’ve collected ideas in creative group settings and personal meetings, documented observations and reviewed company objectives, it’s time to establish priorities. Ignore those ideas you now know are of little value to the business and its employees. Write down only what matters. But recognize you may not get everything you want…
3. Set a Realistic Budget
Once you’ve established your priorities you’ll have a clearer idea of everything your budget must cover – from size to desired location. Review the resources that have been allocated to finding a new office space. All of this will help you determine which furnishings, equipment, artwork etc. will and won’t be moving to your new address. Don’t forget to allot a portion of the budget for unexpected expenses like repairs as well.
4. Evaluate Your Options
We suggest creating a simple checklist that summarizes all the criteria you established in steps two and three. Use the points below as a guideline, personalizing the details.
- overall square footage
- desired layout
- suitable for existing workstations
- renovation potential
- within budget
- fits our brand
- number of floors
- meeting rooms
- event areas
- private offices
- collaborative workspaces
- training spaces
Your checklist will remind you of what’s important as you traverse the world of office real estate.
It’s easy to get swept up in the glamour of a new building, a stylish loft conversion, or charming restoration. But if these office spaces don’t meet the criteria you’ve set for your new office space, walk away. And don’t look back.
Approach finding a new office space like you would any other business project: set objectives and goals. Work with professionals to keep you on track. Planning evaluation criteria will help to make your decision less subjective. Once you’ve made a confident decision, its time to get moving!
What does your organization hope to achieve with a new office space?ShareTweetShareShare