Moving house is often claimed to be one of the most stressful things you can do. So, it’s no surprise that the prospect of finding a new working space can give employers a similar feeling of anxiety.
In recent years, we’ve seen a rapid change in the way we work which has forced employers to re-evaluate the office spaces that they work in. With flexible working now at the forefront and options to work from home more readily available, the idea of commuting into the office has become much less desirable. This shift has meant that businesses have had to rethink their offering to make coming to work an attractive option.
That’s why choosing the right workspace for you and your business can be critical. It can have a ripple effect across the company, impacting productivity, collaboration, and overall success. Let’s look at our ‘top tips’ to help you ensure your workspace is right for your company.
Identify Your Needs
If you’re choosing to make a big decision like moving offices, it’s important to strip things back to basics and understand the specific requirements of your business. Consider factors such as the size of your team, the nature of your work, the need for privacy or collaboration and any specialised equipment you may need. It’s imperative to meet the basic needs of your employees before you make any concrete decisions.
Commuting into the office can be a drag, so when choosing your workspace, it’s important to assess how a move will impact your employees – especially if you are considering a substantial change in location. Of course, you will never be able to please everyone. But it’s important to show you have considered your employees when making this decision.
The happiness of your teams will not be the only thing to consider. Take into account the proximity of your target market. For example, is in-person communication something you rely on and perhaps accessibility for your clients is a consideration, too?
Also, think about the overall reputation and vibe of the neighbourhood and how this will reflect on your business. The curb appeal of your office will give clients an immediate first impression, so make sure it’s a good one!
Be sure to assess whether you have the budget to be choosing a new workspace, as there will be costs involved in moving, not to mention the expenses that come with running a building. Assess the affordability of rent, utilities, maintenance and any additional fees or services that may be non-negotiable for the office space. Balance your financial constraints with the value and benefits offered by the workspace – if they weigh each other out, then you’re onto a winner.
Space & Layout
It is scientifically proven that the space, layout and design of a workplace can have a profound impact on the way employees work, so it’s important that your workspace reflects a positive working environment for those that will be using it. Consider the amount of natural light, the variety of work and breakout spaces available, the amenities, and transport or parking facilities.
Consider the availability of additional space, too, and the possibility of personalising your offices. It’s important that you can customise your space where necessary to boost creativity and productivity, so be aware of any restrictions or limitations that might hinder this.
Some workspaces offer long-term leases, whilst others provide short-term or flexible options. If you feel your business will be expanding or downsizing within the next few years, you probably don’t want to be committing to a space that requires you to sign a contract for a lengthy period of time.
If you don’t want the commitment, consider looking for a venue that offers a pay-as-you-go option. This can be great for freelancers or small businesses who find themselves travelling around a lot for work and can’t devote themselves to being in one place, all the time.
Coworking or hybrid office spaces will often come as serviced, meaning there should be good systems in place that will be crucial for your business operations. Make sure you know if the WiFi is speedy and reliable, they have the most up-to-date security systems and whether they offer regular cleaning services before committing to a lease.
Community & Networking
If you’re a small business, solopreneur, or freelancer, building connections and networking opportunities might be something that will really benefit your company, so ensure your new workplace is somewhere that offers these opportunities. A coworking space would be ideal if you’re looking for an environment in which you can bounce ideas off other like-minded individuals.
Coworking spaces also will often host specific networking events, workshops, or collaboration opportunities that you may not find elsewhere in a traditional office setting.
Take into consideration where your business will be in a few years’ time. It’s important to think about future needs and whether your company will out-grow the office space quickly. If you are moving offices or settling into one for the first time, it’s a big task – you don’t want to be moving spaces within a short timeframe!
Reputation & Reviews
You want to be sure that your workspace or service provider is reliable and has a good reputation. Before signing any contracts, ensure you have done your due diligence and researched customer satisfaction and overall experience. This goes without saying but be sure to visit the venue too! A first-hand impression is important.
If you’ve got as far as reviewing the terms and conditions of your new workspace, congratulations! It’s looking good so far – so don’t fall at the last hurdle.
Be vigilant when reading the T&Cs and pay attention to the terms, termination clauses and any other legal obligations. You might consider consulting with a legal professional to ensure you understand the contract so you can make a well-educated, informed decision.