The impact of the office
The impact that choice of office space can have on a business is often overlooked. Alongside things like attracting new clients, profit margins, attracting the right staff and the cost of materials and other overheads, ensuring that your business has the right office space in which to thrive can seem a luxury, an afterthought.
What businesses often don’t realise, though, is that ensuring you have the right office space can have a direct impact on many of the factors outlined above.
Here we look at 11 reasons that choosing the right office is more important than you think.
Room for growth
Whatever size your business is, whether you’re a start-up, SME or a blue-chip FTSE 100 company, it is likely that you’re hoping to encounter growth opportunities in the future. If and when your success facilitates this; it’s helpful if the office space you’ve chosen is flexible and allows you to upscale easily and inexpensively.
The location of the offices you do business from is another important factor. From allowing easy access for existing staff and clients, to being in a desirable location to help to attract new employees and clients, the location of your office couldn’t be more important.
If you’re looking to attract bright and highly skilled staff and/or new business from large and successful companies, then it’s important that your offices are modern and easily accessible. No one will want to work for, or do business with, a company whose offices are in a decaying 1960s pre-fab that looks like it needs to be pulled down, on an almost empty and difficult to find industrial estate.
Does your office convey they right image?
This is about much more than just vanity. Whatever image you want your company to portray, it’s important that your offices reflect those values.
In a similar vein to the way the location of an office can affect the likelihood of attracting high quality staff and clients, the design and décor of the building your office is in can have a great effect as well.
If your offices are housed within a clean, modern and well-designed business centre, it can only benefit you and your business in the long run.
Facile as this issue may seem, it isn’t. You don’t want to have a half-mile walk in the rain to get from your car to your office in the morning. Your staff and clients won’t want that either.
It’s important to ensure that there is plenty of parking within close proximity of the location you choose for your office to ensure that it’s easy for people to get to you.
Secure lease and rates
If you spend a long time searching for the right office, only to find, that after a year of moving in you’re asked to leave, because someone else will be leasing the office from the end of your contract, or you find that after the initial 12-month lease, your rates are set to go through the roof, it can be a drain on resources both fiscal and otherwise.
It’s important to ensure that your lease is flexible and you aren’t locked in, but that you also have first refusal to continue after the lease ends, too. It can also be helpful if you can manage to negotiate a fixed maximum price increase as well.
No matter how nice the offices are, if they’re going to stretch your budget too far, they aren’t worth it. It’s important to find offices that you can easily afford, and, if possible, that are flexible enough to not only allow simple upscaling, but that also allow you to downsize effectively should this become necessary.
In addition to providing the opportunity for growth, initial size is important. You might find a very cheap and nicely designed office, that is situated exactly where you want to be. But, if that office isn’t big enough to fit everything you need in it, then it will hamper your productivity and potentially, your growth.
Make sure that your office not only has enough space to house your staff, but can also accommodate all the storage and technology you may need to operate your business, too.
Not many (if any) businesses can operate without ensuring there’s a decent level of infrastructure in place at their offices. A reliable internet connection is a must – many managed and serviced offices will include internet access in the office rental cost – as is a phone line and a postal address.
It’s important that your business has an internet connection that won’t drop out regularly, or crumble under the pressure of a busy day. It’s also important you have a postal service for sending and receiving documents and other items that aren’t transferrable by email.
Some questions you could ask to help you to discern if the office you’re looking at will met your needs, are:
- Is internet access included? If not, how much extra will this cost me?
- Can I get in touch with other businesses that utilise these offices to discuss how they find the infrastructure?
- Is there a dedicated postal address?
- Will the owner provide me with the data from a speed test so I can see that the ISP provides necessary bandwidth/speed?
If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’ maybe you should continue your search.
As well as the building itself, the design of your actual office space is important, too.
Offices can affect productivity and staff retention, so make sure they’re a nice place for you and your team to work in, and for your clients to visit. Also, make sure that you check whether or not there are additional charges if you want to decorate your office. Some providers will charge you for changes as small as hanging pictures. Whereas others are happy for you to design the space to suit your needs – even providing contact details for design companies you could work with.
If you have offices which are bright and airy and encourage creativity and productivity, it can only benefit you and your business in the long run.
Most serviced office space providers will be completely transparent when they quote you a price. They will detail exactly what is included in the rent for your office and what other facilities they provide as optional extras.
However, it is not uncommon for some providers to be less forthright about things and it pays to read the small print and seek clarity and straight answers on all your question when it comes to what to expect for your money and whether there will be any hidden costs outside of your rental price.
Find the right balance
Whatever your budget, whatever style you’re going for, whatever location you want your business address to be in, it’s important that you find the right balance between what you aspire to, and what you can afford.
It’s often better to make compromises on small details than to pay through the nose and lose out on profits and the opportunity for future growth, all for that one digit in the postcode.