Excellent news; business is booming. Your products are flying off the shelves, staff are more productive than ever and your net figures are improving every quarter. The trouble is, your modestly-sized office is now bursting at the seams with paperwork, samples and new staff – you can’t afford to hang about, you need to find somewhere new, fast.
This situation is often a double-edged sword; rush the decision and you could end up somewhere that doesn’t fit your team, or take too long and start to lose business down the cracks as efficiency falls apart. Well, stop panicking. Yes, you need to make some relatively quick decisions, but in the meantime, rent a storage locker and ask some staff to work remotely to give yourself room to breathe.
Next, you need to start drafting a plan for your move. Set yourself a budget, a deadline, and start making phone calls. To give you a start, here are the X questions you need to be asking before you sign a deal on any new building.
1. Is the local area somewhere you’d be happy for clients to be? This is about safety as much as at how attractive the area is.
2. What is the local transport like – can staff travel by train or bus easily, and if not, will there be enough parking for your whole team, plus visitors? Speak to the landlord or agent to find out exactly how many spaces come with the property.
3. What about bike sheds, are there enough if you need them?
4. How far are the nearest shops – will your staff be able to get lunch? Introduce yourself to other local business owners to find out.
5. Is there any ongoing construction and if so, when is it scheduled to finish?
The Physical Space
6. Is the building in generally good repair? Before signing anything, it’s probably worth enlisting a commercial building surveyor to give it the once over and report on its current condition so you know about any structural or superficial work that needs doing.
7. Will the interior need redecorating, and are you allowed to do it to your own tastes?
8. Is it space going to fit all of your current staff, plus cope with your current trajectory of growth?
9. How hot (or cold) is it likely to get in each season – are the existing heating and cooling systems going to be sufficient?
10. Is there a designated reception area / board room / private office and / or lockable store if you need them? Open-plan or non-client facing offices might not have an immediate need for them, but it’s worth thinking about the potential for the few years.
11. Are the toilet and kitchen facilities going to be suitable for your team?
12. Will staff (or visitors) with physical difficulties be able to travel comfortable around the building? Think about lifts, ramps and general layout issues.
Management and Security
13. Do new locks need to be installed and, if so, who will be paying for them?
14. Are there security measures already in place, or will you need to install / hire your own? It may be worth asking a security firm to inspect the building and getting a quote if it is not included.
15. Will there be any restrictions in place, such as access at certain times of day, parking etc.
16. Is there a management company to deal with maintenance, or will you be responsible?
17. Does the office come furnished? If you visit and it’s empty then you can safely assume not, but if there are still desks etc. inside then it’s worth checking.
18. Are there sufficient power sockets for your business needs?
19. Is there a drinking water tap or fountain, or will you need to install coolers?
20. How does the kitchen equipment (dishwasher, fridge, cooking appliances etc.) match up to your current office – will staff have to change their habits?
Of course, you hold the final decision, but make sure you get the opinions from a few key members of staff – they might see a different picture to you, and offer valuable insight on something you may have overlooked. Make sure you make a list of any non-negotiables, and stick to it.
Moving to a new space will definitely be stressful, but also absolutely worth it. Once you’ve made the move your team will instantly feel better, and you can get back to the business you do best.