When Is It Time To Move Office? | Oktra
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  • When Is It Time To Move Office?

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  • Office space is an important asset to any business and once you’ve found the right space for you, it can be daunting to think about relocating again. However, moving office may become a necessity as your workforce grows and your business expands. Plus, as the working landscape continues to evolve and more employees are being asked to return to the office, the office needs to offer more as a functional, purposeful destination that help attract people back in.


    stall or postpone their plans to move

    E. ON

  • E. ON held a survey which found that relocating to new office premises is the second most nerve-shredding undertaking business owners and operators face. The same survey also found that 78% of companies stall or postpone their plans to move, preferring to endure sub-optimal office space, with all the leaks and creaks and costs of ageing infrastructure, rather than go through the pain of relocation.

    An office move is so much more than a physical experience – it’s a major opportunity for change and can be a catalyst for business transformation. It’s a chance to realign your corporate premises with strategic priorities, with the benefits far outweighing any short-term hassle or upheaval. There are some signs that it’s time for a company to relocate, or at least refurbish their office, but each project has its own requirements. This means that looking at examples of other companies can offer inspiration but doesn’t provide a short cut to the answers.

  • The drivers for relocation

    One of the most common reasons for companies to move office is a lease expiry. Office leases traditionally last between five and ten years, although the post-pandemic shift to hybrid working means lease terms are changing and three year leases or flexible 12-month lease terms are far more common.

    If your office lease is expiring, it might be a good excuse to invest some time in reconsidering your options. It is essential for clients to understand the obligations around extending or renewing their lease as timeframes and key dates will dictate your plans. If you’re not looking to move, you should consider renewing your commercial lease around 12 to 24 months before it expires. For example, you’ll need to serve notice of non-renewal 18 to 24 months before your lease expiry.

    Building these timelines into your relocation plans means you won’t fall foul of any contractual obligations. The terms of your commercial lease are part of your legal commitments so whether you’re moving or not, tenants need to know what they are and aren’t responsible for. The common influencing factors can be divided into three categories: financial, organisational and property. We have outlined the factors which fall into these categories below.

  • Financial

    Financial considerations underpin many business decisions and when it comes to real estate and rental costs, companies always want their space to work harder. Overheads relating to space can be key determining factors in the ‘stay or go’ debate and this is only anticipated to grow with the increase in demand for remote and hybrid working.

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  • According to the CBRE’s Prime Rent and Yield Monitor, UK office prime rents rose 1.6% in Q2 2022, with the largest increases seen in the East Midlands (6.0%) and Fringe London (3.7%). These rental price hikes, combined with the current energy crisis and other inflationary pressures, may force businesses to consider moves to less expensive/more efficient premises.

    Conversely, your current workspace may be constraining your growth ambitions and profit potential. A strategic move to a new office that’s better equipped to support your commercial objectives could help to unlock future value for your business.

  • Organisational

    A lot of businesses will have changed shape after Covid as they look to restructure operations and ways of working. This has put real estate under the microscope as companies have adapted and changed when their space is not best aligned to those changes. This is where the organisational impact on offices is becoming more prevalent as the office itself hasn’t changed, but the way it is being used has.

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  • In these circumstances, our experience tells us that it is almost always better for move and look at occupying a new, purpose-built office space. Your workplace fundamentally must support your business activity, so if you have adopted new ways of working, your space must cater for that change.

    An office move can also provide an opportunity to revitalise your organisational brand, reinvigorate employees and make a bold statement about your plans and direction. New modern workspace can help to inspire colleagues and clients alike, communicating an innovative and dynamic work culture. As Sean Espinasse, Creative Director at Oktra confirms, the benefits presented by an office move “are all around reshaping culture, behaviour, different uses of technology; it becomes a much broader opportunity to redefine what the future of workspace looks like”.

  • Property

    And then, of course, there’s the state of the property itself. After years of occupancy and use, office interiors, hardware and upholstery can begin to deteriorate. Shabby foyers, peeling paint and poor lighting can send the wrong message to prospective employees or clients you’re trying to impress.

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  • Your building may also no longer be fit for purpose – unable to support the tech infrastructure or collaborative spaces you need to drive your business forward. Tech retrofits and refurbishments can be a major undertaking, not to mention cost. In these instances, relocation may be the easier and more logical solution. Or you may simply be outgrowing the space around you. Cramped workstations and overcrowded meeting rooms are a sure sign you need to consider pastures new.

  • On the move

    In 2020, approaching a lease expiry at Aldermanbury Square in London, Reinsurance Group of America (RGA) seized upon the opportunity for change. Briefed to support their shift to new premises, we designed and delivered a statement workspace at level 45, 22 Bishopsgate – the highest building in the City. The new work environment is radically different to RGA’s former office, creating a more dynamic and collaborative space.

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  • Central to this project was the need to shape a work environment that would enable change for RGA, enabling new ways of working and reflecting their ambitions as a progressive organisation. Our designs also had to adhere to BIM360 criteria, with RGA’s new fitout seamlessly integrating into the existing building systems. Overall, the new workplace is agile, future-facing and energetic, with RGA successfully welcoming their staff back to the City.

  • We also partnered with Network Rail to design and build a reception and creative meeting suite as part of their new headquarters in Puddle Dock. Networx is a new onsite facility that can be used to relieve pressure on the company’s meeting rooms. It can also be rented to partners for conferences and industry events. Networx is spread across three floors, with a mix of layout styles achieved through folding acoustic walls that enable flexibility of space and function. The development has helped to ensure the company’s HQ relocation provides a fresh new environment where staff can relax, collaborate and convene.

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  • Should you stay or should you go?

    There are of course strong arguments in favour of staying put and refurbishing existing office space – for example, avoiding the instability and inconvenience that may accompany a change in location. But overall, the benefits of an office move are compelling: improved employee morale, recruitment and retention; reduced staff turnover; a lower carbon footprint; increased exposure to customers; and enhanced motivation and productivity – all of which will eclipse any stresses and complications along the way.

    But whichever path you choose, the key thing is to consult your employees. As Martin Reeves, Development Director at Oktra suggests, major workplace change should be “something that happens with your employees, not to them”. The workspace user experience is paramount, and it should be this that shapes your final decision.

    Remember, there is no right or wrong answer – only the option you feel is best for your business and your people.

  • The Stay vs Go Guide

    Download the Stay vs Go Guide for more advice on what to do with your office space.

    download now
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