When you’re looking for a new office, the number of square feet will rarely be the only important consideration. Use this handy office space checklist to help you build an exact picture of your perfect office space and what’s important to your business.
Choosing an office in a location with good transport links ensures customers and employees can easily reach you. If you have a few areas in mind already, ask these questions:
- What trains and bus services run to the area?
- Is the office easily accessible by car?
- If you’re thinking of basing your office in London, what’s the nearest tube station and which lines does it connect to? Are there other alternative stations nearby in case the nearest one closes?
- Are there any road or rail closures/major works planned in the long term that may affect you?
- If you do business nationally and internationally, is there an airport nearby?
If you have existing staff, you may want to consider how your plans to move office affects their journey.
Choosing an office with an easy commute ensures your employees arrive on time and in a good mood.
- Are there any notorious traffic hot spots nearby?
- When are the busy times? These may not be just as a result of people leaving work – for example, offices near schools will be affected by parents delivering and collecting their children.
It is worth taking a few test drives around the area to ensure the journey to and from the office is not going to be a nightmare.
If you have offices in other areas, consider the transport links with your prospective choices. If all are situated near to junctions of the same motorway, for example, this does make it much easier to travel between your locations.
You’ll want to know who you’ll be sharing a building with and who’s next door. They might for example be competitors or make a lot of noise. If your own office is likely to be noisy, be wary of any residential properties close by that could cause you issues. If you’re open 24/7, watch out for pubs and clubs nearby that are quiet in the day but come to life in the evening.
Whilst it’s all very well being easily accessible, sometimes it’s also necessary to move as near as possible to where your customers are. For example, a student services business might thrive next to a university. Consider whether there’s any particular locations where your prospective customer demographic is likely to be. Similarly, if you use salesman/consultants to visit your clients, locating yourself in a quiet rural area far from the City may mean your staff spend longer travelling between locations.
If customers visit you at your office, you’re likely to need taxis from time to time which may not be available in very rural locations. Do your homework and ensure there’s a local taxi firm that can meet the needs of visitors and staff. You may also like to consider whether there are courier services available close by, if this is something your business requires.
Whilst we’d all love offices on Park Lane, budget usually gets in the way. But it’s important to choose an area that makes a reasonable impression, and you want your staff and customers to feel secure when coming to the office.
You can use the Police website to find out about crime in the areas you are considering.
If it’s likely your business will need new employees in the future, consider whether you’ll find it easy to recruit in the area you’re moving to. Is the area known for talent in your industry? You don’t necessarily need to be in the heart of the city to attract talent, however – as long as your chosen office spot has good transport links and is easily accessible.
Aside from taxis, your staff and prospective customers may need a number of services throughout the course of their day. They may need to stop in a hotel as part of their visit. They might need to fill their car with petrol. They may need a cafe or shop close by for lunch. And whilst you’d hope not, it’s possible they might need emergency services resulting from an accident at work. Your staff will also find having nearby amenities useful, such as banks, cash machines and dry cleaners. Consider how close the nearest facilities are that meet your staff and visitor needs.
High on my list of office considerations is the nearby entertainment. Whether it’s a quick drink after a hard day’s work, a well earned business lunch or a client meeting, you need good bars and restaurants nearby, and it’s even more important if your meeting and socialising space within your office complex is limited. Make sure you check out prospective areas for possible venues.
Take care to check local planning – you may find that there are construction projects planned on nearby buildings. Not only can these look awful to visitors but they may be noisy too.
Whilst a quiet and picturesque village might seem like the perfect place to set up your creativity hub, make sure it is served by the services you need to keep your business running smoothly. For example, high speed broadband is essential for most businesses.