Upsize, upgrade, upscale: Choosing an office for a growing business

by Adeline Teoh July 15, 2016

When you start a business it can be difficult to imagine how it might grow, so you may not have chosen the ideal premises for expansion. If you’ve reached a point where you need more space, here’s how to make sure your next office is futureproof.

Prioritise

What are your priorities when selecting a new office? Consider the most important elements for the longevity of the business, as well as your employees’ and clients’ preferences. You may also have constraints, such as a budget or a wish list. For example, you might need easy access to amenities like childcare, or want to be located near complementary businesses.

Location, location, location

Location affects your two main stakeholder groups: employees and clients. These groups may have similar needs in terms of being close to public transport or safe, convenient parking.

It’s a good idea to conduct an employee survey to find out where your team commutes from, how they commute and what they consider important in a location. Ask for suggestions. Proximity to amenities such as shops and food outlets may be a factor, for instance.

If you’ve built up a large client base in a certain geographical area, it makes sense to stay in the area. If your clients seem to come from all over, however, or your reps are largely mobile, then your clients’ location may not matter so much. Weigh their influence appropriately.

Also consider where future employees and future clients may come from.

Fit for purpose

It’s crucial to choose a workspace suited to your business. While photographers seem to love large converted warehouses, you might be better off with several small meeting rooms so brokers can meet with clients in private. Also consider workplace culture when you choose a space: should everyone have an office, should it be open plan, or should it be a bit of both?

Built to scale

How much room do you need to accommodate current and future growth? If you’re looking to grow your business, your new office needs to provide for future expansion, but you probably don’t want to pay for extra space you won’t use immediately.

Negotiate with the agent to see if you can take out an option on adjacent spaces should they become available. If you can, secure a short-term or rolling lease in case you need to upsize sooner than you can attain adjacent space.

Another option is to lease a larger office than you currently need, and sublease the extra space to a smaller business so you can cover the costs as you add to your team.

Changing the office

Is moving the only option, or are their alternatives? You might think upsizing is the only way to go, but the way we work is changing. Larger offices might not make sense. Some of your workforce may be open to going mobile, especially if some reps are already working from home or telecommuting from the road.

If you’re happy where you are, perhaps you could open a satellite office in another area and use the original office as headquarters. Your current office space may even be suitable for your growing business if you use it differently. Consider the flexible ways businesses use their offices, for example hot-desking, or creating modular spaces. Perhaps, instead of upsizing, your office could benefit from expert rearrangement or renovation to make better use of the space.

Has your business outgrown its office or the traditional way of working? Your BDM can help if you want to know more about upgrading your office.

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