You’re in the market for new office space.
It might be because your lease is about to expire and you’re looking at your options.
Maybe your company has outgrown your current space, and you need something more substantial.
Or, you’ve downsized and need something more economical.
Whatever the reason, you’re about to head into the complex world of the office real estate market, and you need a plan.
Here are the 7 things you need to consider when leasing office space:
1. Budget – The bottom line
Knowing your budget is crucial. Every business owner will benefit by understanding of how much they can afford to invest in a workspace before they start looking.
By being realistic about your budget, you can avoid paying for a shiny new office space you can’t afford.
Use the criteria we list below to make an impartial assessment of the costs and benefits of the space, which will help you determine what you need.
This knowledge will help you put your money into attributes that will have a positive effect while avoiding expensive “perks” that won’t improve your team’s happiness or your bottom line.
2. Location – Real estate’s most important cliché
While the location isn’t as critical for office space as it is for retail, it should still be high on your list.
You’ll want to locate yourself in an area that’s close to your customers and convenient for your employees.
For some, that means a suburban office park is ideal, allowing customers to quickly access your building and employees to reduce their commute time.
For others, a central location, surrounded by your clients, might be the right choice.
Making sure it’s easy for your customers and clients to do business with you is integral to your success.
If you’re a professional organization, especially in the healthcare field, you can consider the benefits of a medical professional centre like Allendale Professional Centre.
At Allendale Professional Centre, we’ve purposefully selected tenants with complimentary clientele, creating a one-stop-shop for those with medical needs making it more likely that clients of one practitioner call on the services of a neighbouring business.
Think about yourself, your customers, and your employees, and decide on a location that benefits everyone.
3. Office Configuration – How you work makes a difference
How do you and your team work?
Do you require collaborative space to meet and discuss ideas and opportunities?
Is your organization a private, heads-down group that needs to separate themselves from their colleagues for sessions of deep work?
While most office spaces can accommodate either type of office configuration, knowing how your team works will affect other attributes, like how much square footage you’ll require.
4. Square Footage – Bigger is not always better
Be realistic about the size of your future office space.
Take into account how you’ll use the space (as mentioned in point #3).
If you’re upgrading to a larger space, speak with some of your peers who operate similarly sized businesses and ask about their space requirements.
If you’re downsizing, think about how much space your team will need, how much meeting or collaboration space you require, and how large every individual’s workspace will be.
Your square footage requirements will affect which properties your broker shows you.
If you haven’t determined how much space you need, you could spend countless hours looking at the wrong types of properties.
The last thing you want is for months of effort to go into finding you an 8,000 SF space only to have you realize that you’d be better off with 3,000 SF.
5. Brand & Image – Set the right expectations
Humans make snap judgments.
We judge the clothes people wear, the cars they drive, and, yes, the offices where they work.
Your office space will affect the way you are perceived by your clients, and by your employees.
With that in mind, you should be purposeful about what you want that perception to be.
You might decide on a Class AAA downtown office tower that will impress your clients the moment they step in the lobby.
You might, instead, choose a modest office setting that suggests you have a prudent approach to accounting and expenses.
The decision is in your hands and will rely on your unique understanding of your client’s wants, perceptions, and expectations of you as a service provider.
By being purposeful in your decision you’ll be a step ahead of your competition.
6. Recruitment – Make your office a draw for employees
The average person spends roughly 1/3 of their waking life at work, and their enjoyment, or displeasure, of that environment affects their enjoyment, or displeasure, of their job.
You should consider your office space as a tool for the recruitment and retention of employees when deciding on how large of an investment you’re willing to make.
While you don’t have to replicate Silicon Valley tech start-ups that include playgrounds, nap pods, and gourmet lunches, choosing a space that provides superior amenities can make the difference between a talented employee wanting to work with you or with your competition.
A building like EPCOR Tower gives employees access to an on-site daycare, food options, a car share program, on-site car detailing, pick-up dry cleaning, secure bike storage, and tenant showers and locker rooms complete with towel service.
All of these extra amenities provide a more comfortable experience for your employees, which reflects on their perception of you as an employer.
7. Sustainability – Here today and tomorrow
The sustainability of an office space, measured through standardized methods like LEED and BOMA Best, has become consequential to organizations’ real estate decisions.
Sustainability practices can lower operating costs and reduce your company’s environmental footprint.
If your organization has corporate responsibility mandates, you might need to look for office space that achieves a minimum LEED or BOMA Best level.
Alternatively, you might increase engagement from employees, and interest from potential employees, by positioning yourself in a sustainable building.
These criteria can affect your operating costs, your reputation in the market, and your ability to attract and retain employees.
For all these reasons, don't discount sustainability when making your decision.
A Final Piece of Advice
If you’ve addressed all of these criteria, then you’re on your way to selecting an office space that’s well-suited to your business’ needs.
However, when you head out into the market and start touring these spaces, there’s one other thing you still need to bring with you:
An open mind.
Finding new office space isn’t the same as buying a new home. There are no “show homes,” and it’s rare you’ll tour a space that’s arranged and furnished in the way you want.
Instead, you have to train yourself to look beyond the current state and see the site’s potential.
It’s only with an open mind, and thoughtful answers to the seven criteria we’ve listed above, that you’ll be equipped to make wise decisions about a location’s potential value to your organization.