Choosing the Right Office for your Business
For any business, the importance of a good office can not be undermined. An office is almost a prerequisite, no matter what stage or industry one’s business may be in. Certainly an efficient team plays a crucial part in the success of a business, but to attract and retain the best workforce too, a good working space is a must.
Hence, no points for guessing that organizations are increasingly working towards improving their workplaces for talent acquisition, and better team productivity.
Andy Bugg, Head of Workplace Consultancy at Knight Frank notes, “We are seeing firms take a long term view on investment in their office space in order to meet the expectations of the newest generation of employees. More and more, the perception of the office as a business expense is shifting as firms see the value in leveraging office space as a tool to inspire and energise their staff.”
An office space is not only a physical platform for your day to day operations, but also a direct reflection of your brand image and work culture. Amongst other factors that may be subject to the business type, these four factors are pivotal for choosing the right office.
Before settling for an office, closely scrutinize the location of your office and weigh its pros and cons. As a business, you may want to opt-in for a CBD (central business district) space or a commercial property in a retail park, depending on your business needs.
First and foremost, look into how accessible is your potential office space for clients and employees. Make sure there are ample local modes of transportation available. Depending on the day-to-day needs and nature of your business, you must choose the most suitable premises for your employees, clients and suppliers.
It is also important to look at the location in terms of the facilities and services available in the vicinity. Having an office space replete with facilities of QSRs, cafeterias, parking, comedy cafes, etc certainly becomes a plus for your potential employees.
Recreational spaces nearby not only helps in employee satisfaction and engagement, but also foster socializing outside office. In fact, a survey by finance and accounting recruitment specialist Robert Half International found that 63 percent of employees globally think that office productivity improves when colleagues are friends outside the office.
The biggest challenge with finding an office space is to strike a balance between location and price. A location of your choice may not be easy to fit in your budget, while the ones that do fit may not be easily accessible.
For example, selecting an office space in or near a suburban area will have the advantages of being cost effective, but the suppliers will face inconvenience while delivering and employees might find it difficult to travel. Additionally, with the ever increasing traffic woes, employees may have to spend a lot of unproductive time on roads. On the other hand, selecting an office space in the heart of the city can be very convenient but expensive.
According to CBRE, a property advisory firm, Connaught Place (one of the CBD, India), has been found to be the world’s fifth most expensive office market with average occupancy rate of $159.26 per sq. ft. per annum.
The modern office solution of serviced offices, business centres and coworking spaces provide an ideal solution to this problem. Unlike traditional leasing offices, these flexible working solutions make all the prices variable and scalable.
Businesses are able to do away with hefty security deposits, construction costs, leasing, and other taxes along with the hassles of managing their workplace. Further, Business Centres bring availability in areas where there may be dearth of supply and hence it may become prohibitively expensive for most businesses to afford an office.
To top it all up, a serviced office space also provides greater flexibility and benefits to the employees like flexible working hours, administrative support, recreational areas, etc. In a recent survey by Flexjob in America, 30% of the respondents said that they would accept a 10 to 20 percent decrease in compensation in exchange for a flexible working option.
More than a collection of cubicles, your office reflects your brand identity. Renting or buying an office space will account for a large share of your capital investment, so it is imperative that the infrastructure and interiors are impressive.
The infrastructural design of the office building should resonate with your brand. Lately, there has been an increasing demand of open spaces and common working spaces amongst organizations.
A global survey on the influence of workplace design by Jones Lang Lasalle and Ethisphere revealed that 60% of firms are now shifting towards an open space design because of its inherent benefits such as open communication networks. Large firms like Google (central location, varied internal designs, unique colour coding and employee satisfaction rate) and Inventionland Design Factory (unique work space, open area, motivating office structure) are leaders in the new era of design and experience.
The infrastructure of your office should also allow adjustments to forge an Activity based Workplace (ABW), if need be. An Activity based working environment permits all the employees to choose their place, type, location and size at the workplace, suiting their roles. It ensures greater innovation and productivity across different spectrums.
Apart from design and layout, the infrastructure also includes functional necessities like internet, power supply, water supply, telecommunication services, etc. Make sure all these amenities are in place.
Lastly, it is also very important to measure the capacity of the office before signing on the dotted lines. Be sure that there is enough room for your immediate business needs as well as for the future.
Calculate the estimated space required in advance. Studies observe that the minimum average space required per employee is 70 sq.ft. Multiply this with the total number of employees and add additional area for meeting/private rooms and recreational spaces. This would give you an estimated sense of space required. Cramped office dampens productivity, so don’t skimp on floor space.
Also keep in mind the growth opportunities and the expected space requirements in the future, especially when opting for traditional leasing model. If you are totally uncertain about the growth, try to negotiate a shorter lease term or add language to the lease that gives you the first right of negotiation on any adjacent space that becomes vacant.