If you are relocating, there are a few points to take into consideration before you start scoping out new areas.
You’ll want to ensure the new office is located somewhere that’s convenient for your employees, clients and suppliers.
1. Is it centrally located and near good transport connections?
2. How will your clients access your new space?
3. Accessibility and visibility are key. If the new building is hidden away down an unmarked side road or tricky to access, couriers, suppliers and even clients may struggle to get to you.
You’ll be spending your working week here so you’ll want to ensure it’s well equipped for the time that you and your staff spend outside of the office. Consider the proximity of the following amenities:
• Good eateries nearby to cater for a variety of lunchtime budgets
• Restaurants for entertaining clients
• Hotels for travelling clients
• Easy access to suppliers and facilities regularly used
• Check for any ongoing or upcoming construction projects taking place. Major builds on your doorstep could be noisy and disruptive for your workforce and give a bad impression to visiting clients.
• Are there any long-term transport modifications/closures planned? Re-routed buses and suspended train or tube stations could cause headaches.
Once you’ve settled on the right location it’s time to decide on the right premises; you’ll need somewhere that allows for change, growth and any future developments.
All workspaces require maintenance, some considerably more than others. A building which constantly raises new problems and issues can be incredibly disruptive and costly over time.
• Be vigilant about checking the condition of the building. Older properties have character but can bring with them issues regarding heating, technology installation and maintenance.
• Get a thorough survey done so you can assess not just the structural integrity of the building but also the quality of the electrics, heating, air conditioning and plumbing.
Staff will be more focused on the important tasks at hand if they don’t have to worry about small, time consuming day-to-day issues (like where to safely store their bike or grab a quick coffee).
• Look for parking and bicycle storage facilities on site or nearby.
• A café area can be great for informal meetings and brainstorms. Will you provide staff with hot and cold food on site? If so, you’ll need to check whether canteen facilities are available or if there’s room to incorporate them.
• If a significant number of staff will be cycling to work or attending corporate functions after hours, shower and changing facilities could be invaluable.
You want to be 100% confident that you’ll be online and raring to go the moment you set foot in the office.
• Check that you’re located close to an exchange as this can dramatically affect Internet connectivity speeds. Will you be using a fibre optic network for blistering fast access? Is available in your area?
• Assess where wiring and cabling should be placed. Ideally flooring will be on a raised level so that you can safely place any cabling hidden away underfoot. This also makes it considerably easier to make upgrades in the future.
• Make sure you will you be able to power your heavy-duty tech and whether this can this be backed up by a reserve supply in case of emergency.
There are a number of practical and legal requirements you’ll want to go over before settling on a space.
• Make sure the building has excellent disabled access points and facilities in line with the Disability Discrimination Act.
• Make sure the building conforms with the latest fire safety regulations. A fire safety risk assessment should help you identify any problems regarding access to fire escapes and precautionary procedures.
• In the event of a breakdown (such as a power cut), what backup systems are in place? Is this something you’d need to consider installing?
Getting the right layout is essential to the smooth running of your business. Make sure your staff have easy access to bathroom and toilet facilities as well as the following:
• Check window placement to see if there’s enough natural light entering the building in the main working areas. What kind of outside space does it overlook?
• Are kitchens already built in? It’s not just food preparation, consider how far staff will have to walk to make the all-important tea round!
• Consider the shape of the rooms and what this means in terms of the available space. Quirky angles and rounded walls will add a certain dynamic to any office but can restrict desk space and storage.
• Think about storage and whether there’s sufficient space for now and the foreseeable future.
• What management fees and service charges are there to take into consideration? Think about whether you’ll really benefit from or use all the facilities on offer.
• How ‘green’ is the building? As well as helping preserve the planet for future generations, a green building is an economical building. Are there meters in place so that you can monitor energy consumption? It is also worth checking whether the building is fully compliant with new building regulations like BREEAM, SKA, Fitwell and WELL Building Standard.