If you’re outgrowing your office space or your lease is expiring, there will come a time when you need to decide what to do with your office space.
Making the call to stay and refurbish your existing space or go, and relocate to a new office, is a process that every business will have to go through. It is part of the workplace journey and presents organisations with opportunities to evolve and invest in the future.
If you are unsure about what option is best for you, don’t put the decision off. While you may have 18 months or 2 years left on your lease, time will move quickly. It’s common for companies to see that they haven’t got a lease event for a year or more and leave it for another time.
The time for making decisions about your space and considering alternatives needs to be done while you still have the luxury of a lease. When it is time to renew or exit your lease, you will want your plan to be set. Getting to the end of your lease before deciding your property strategy could leave you in a difficult position and could become expensive.
Before you can make the decision on whether to refurbish or relocate your office, take a moment to assess your business ambitions. Your choice to refurbish or relocate your office should be linked to at least one key driver. This could be something as simple as a lease expiry or something more complicated like a business restructure. By defining your objectives at an early stage, you have a fixed goal or goals to help you rationalise and structure choices around.
Understanding what works in your workplace and what doesn’t is as important as defining your objectives. If you haven’t got the clarity of your limitations and aspirations, then it will be difficult to deliver an effective long-term strategy for your business. A workplace analysis is the most accurate way of building a picture of your workplace, workflows and employee interactions. A workplace analysis will enable you to make informed data-driven decisions about how to get the most out of your office space.
While a building search is a necessity for businesses looking to relocate, it is also a good idea for organisations that want to stay in their existing space. Looking at the market and understanding what other deals and incentives are available may help you negotiate a better deal on your lease. Alternatively, you may find that your landlord is willing to contribute towards refurbishment costs as an incentive to keep you in the property. Make sure you explore these options early in the process as it may unlock extra value for your business.
If you’re planning to move to a new office, a commercial property agent can help you find your new home and secure it on the right terms. You will need to consider things like average rental costs, transport links and how that might impact your access to top talent. These factors need to be considered if your move is going to help you progress your business.
To carry out your office relocation or refurbishment, you will need to partner with a fit out specialist. They will evaluate your workspace options, design your new environment and ensure things such as the mechanical and electrical elements are operational.
A fit out specialist, like a design and build company, will take you on the journey of creating a new workplace, ensuring to involve your employees along the way. Introducing an external expert will help you make the right decision and bring your project to life.
Here’s where your new workspace begins to take shape. Working alongside your chosen design and build partner you will consider everything from colour schemes and materials to collaboration space, workflows and departmental relationships.
This is an important part of the process where you will need to agree on the plans for your space through sharing ideas and developing schemes before you sign them off as final. Give your office interior designers all the support, information and feedback you can before approving any designs as final.
Before you leave your office and move into your new workplace, make sure you know what is required of you before your leave. Check your lease as you may have to fulfil a commercial dilapidations clause – this means that you must leave your old office space in the condition you found it. The works to reset your space are dilapidations, or dilaps, for short. Make sure you and your fit out partner are aware of your obligations as failure to fulfil these works will be an extra cost to you further down the line.
If you’re refurbishing your office, you will need to secure a license to alter, LTA, before any work can begin. Your fit out partner or commercial agent can help you with this. Your fit out partner can help you with a lot of things at this stage as they will be your main point of contact for managing the project to ensure there is minimal disruption to your business.
If you’re moving, then managing comms with your staff is an important part of the lead-up to the build. Make sure everything is sticking to the programme and that all the appropriate permissions have been signed so that there are no delays to your project.
If you’re moving to a new office, you will need to work with an office removal firm to handle the practical side of the move. If you’re reusing any furniture, this will also need to be moved to your new space along with data cabling and any other equipment. Briefing your staff with an orientation and welcome session for their new workplace is a good way of navigating any sticking points or concerns around the move.
We recommend that during the first 6 months of being in your new space, you monitor activity and behaviour and allow for feedback. There are likely to be things that don’t run as smoothly as intended with any significant change to a workplace. If anything changes or you feel that you need to make adaptations to your office, your design and build partner will be able to support you with any day two works.
There is no one-size-fits-all when deciding whether to stay or go. The needs of your people and your business requirements will dictate what you need from your office space. By focusing on defining your objectives, you create a solid foundation for deciding on your property. Your decision to move should never be an emotional one, your objectives need to stand up to the scrutiny of your strategic goals in both the short and long term. Whether this is related to your lease terms, your ambitions for new ways of working or to save costs, by isolating one or two key objectives, you will be in a better position to make the right decision.
If you are struggling with what to do with your office space, we can guide you through the process. We always recommend giving enough time to fully assess the situation. The earlier you start a conversation about your situation, the better. Don’t miss opportunities for your business by leaving it too late.
Download the Stay vs Go Guide for more office refurbishment and relocation advice.Find Out More