The right office space is essential for the productivity, efficiency and growth of your business. If you’re looking for a new office or thinking about relocating in the future, here are some important factors to consider when conducting a property evaluation.
Property Agents vs Tenant Representatives
One of the first questions you’ll need to ask, is whether you’ll use a property agent or a tenant representative. A tenant representative is an independent consultant that will help you find an office space and represent you in the marketplace. You can be sure they’ll have your best interests in mind, however this does come at a cost. An agent is appointed by the landlord and will provide you with a free service, however as their fees are paid by the landlord, it’s difficult to determine whether they can truly act in your best interest without a conflict of interest.
Before you start making a list of potential properties to inspect, it’s important to consider where you want your office to be located.
You’ll need to consider where your staff live and how the move will impact their commute, as well as which location will make it easier to attract high-quality talent in the future. Is there public transport available? What facilities are nearby that your employees may need, such as cafés or supermarkets? You may like to ask staff for their feedback early in the process, so you can consider it when making a decision.
If your clients visit the office on a regular basis, you’ll also need to think about which location is most convenient for them. Despite the fact that most communication is now online, face-to-face meetings are still important. If you move too far away from clients, you may need to wear the costs of commuting to their workplace or risk losing them altogether.
You’ll also need to think about the perception your new location will give potential clients and staff. A new technology company in a trendy area surrounded by innovative start-ups, will probably attract more interest than if it was located deep in suburbia. Likewise, a high-end retailer located in an area surrounded by factories may not give clients the impression of luxury.
The Size and Space
One of the hardest things about finding a new office space is determining how much space you’ll need and how you’ll use it. Completing a workplace strategy before you start the property search will clarify what you need, so you can narrow your property shortlist and save time.
You’ll need to make sure each of your staff has adequate floor space, so your workplace is neither too crowded or too empty. If you’re considering a change in the layout of your workplace, it’s often a good idea to plan this in advance. You may decide you need less meeting rooms and more open-plan workspaces, or different zones for working quietly, team brainstorms and eating meals.
As property leases often last a few years, it’s important to not only consider what you need now, but also what you’ll need in the future. Is there space for the company to grow? Will you have the opportunity to lease adjoining office spaces if they become available? It’s also important to find out how much freedom you’ll have if you decide to renovate and whether you need to return it to its original state when you leave.
Basic elements such as lighting and acoustics can dramatically affect staff productivity, so make sure you consider these when searching for a new office space. How much natural light will you enjoy during the day? Are there external noises such as traffic, schools or construction, which may impact your staff?
In addition to the size and layout of your new workplace, you’ll need to take a good look at the building itself. Is it secure, with security cameras and strong locks on windows, doors and other areas? Does the building have all the necessary certifications to be fit for occupation?
You’ll also need to consider parking for your staff and clients, as well as any costs involved for securing staff discounts or renting additional car spaces. If transport is difficult and parking is hard to find, it can have a significant impact on your business. Storage is also an important consideration, but often neglected until moving day. Work out how much storage space you need in advance and your property search will become a whole lot easier.
Depending on your industry, you may also need to consider out-of-hours access to the property. Does the building have a manned reception area, or 24-hour on-site security? How easy will it be for staff to enter and leave at all hours?
Take a look around the building to see how well maintained it is, or talk to other building tenants about their experience with the company responsible for maintaining the building. You should also find out if there are any building works planned in the near future. Even if the renovations aren’t taking place on your floor, the noise and mess may disrupt your staff and give clients a bad impression of your business.
How Axiom Projects Can Help
Axiom Projects can help you choose the right property by conducting a ‘test fit’ of your potential office space. This involves providing a design concept that considers:
- whether the space aligns to your workplace design needs
- maximum occupancy levels, to allow for future expansion
- quality of space based on light, space efficiency, services and amenities.
We will also complete a thorough property evaluation, which considers factors such as location, history of the building, the building management team, structure, accommodation, building services and sustainability.
As part of your workplace strategy, we’ll complete an accommodation analysis of the building, to help you narrow down your shortlist and choose the right building for your needs. We’ll also do a footprint analysis and time utilisation study of your current workplace, to discover which areas of your office are used most and least.
Are you thinking about an office relocation? Contact our team for an initial consultation and find out how we can help you choose the right property.