Moving an entire company from one building to another is no small feat. The last thing you want to do, then, is go through the process of selecting a new location, coordinating the move, getting everyone into the new building and finding out that it’s not a good fit. This can and does happen, however, when facilities managers rush to move without considering some important factors that affect employees’ engagement, productivity and happiness. To avoid this mistake, take a look at this list of top things to look for in a new office space.
The convenience of the location is an important thing to consider, because it could be a make-or-break factor for your employees and clients. Think about how the staff’s commute times will be affected by this location. Is it just a few minutes more than their current one, or will it take them an hour to get to and from work each day? What about out-of-town clients? Can they reach your offices easily from their hotels? These logistical issues are why you’ll want something conveniently located, as opposed to on the outskirts of town.
The interior of a building is as important as its exterior, if not more so. Look at the areas where staff will be working. Is the layout awkward? If the answer is yes, that may be a red flag, because as the Birmingham Business Journal points out, “Irregularly shaped spaces fit fewer desks and will likely increase your cost per employee per square foot.” Would you need to tear down any walls or partitions to achieve an open office?
In addition to how the building interior looks, you should also think about how the building sounds. As you’re touring the building, make note of the acoustics, especially if you know your workers will need peace and quiet to focus. A building with halls that echo may seem harmless enough at first, but with time it can develop into a major productivity block.
Growth can be hard to predict, and while some companies keep expansion in mind when they move, others fail to take it into account. Be sure to examine the total amount of space offered by the building and compare it with your current location; is the difference large enough to account for a group of new hires joining the company at the same time?
Consider what sort of traffic staff or clients may face when traveling to the office. Drive around the building and its surrounding streets a few times to get a sense of how traffic flows. If there is a subway station or bus stops nearby, take a walk to each gauge how much of a trek they are from the building. The routes may look straightforward enough on your GPS, but only by experiencing the walk yourself can you see if there are any possible problems that would make the commute a challenge.
A good move management strategy starts with the above list. And as you can imagine, looking for each of these factors in all your contenders will be a considerable time commitment. In fact, the Business Journals recommends larger companies should start thinking about their needs and investigating their options at least a year before their lease ends.
While some circumstances may not always allow for a careful, drawn-out search, taking enough time to find the right fit for your staff and clients will help you avoid buyers’ remorse. After all, the last thing you want to experience after moving is a bad office that doesn’t suit your needs. Keep this list in mind, however, and you can hit all the right targets. Good luck!