6 Key Elements for Your Office “Choosing” Check-List

Darren Bilsborough New Office News

Of course it is one thing to compile a check-list for moving office. But what if I said it was far more important for you to begin your office move check-list from the very start or at the choosing new office space stage. Even more surprising perhaps is that I would recommend you start this process at least 9 months before your move.

In this article, I will explore the steps necessary for choosing the right office for your business. One that will have a positive effect on accelerated growth, attract the best and brightest to its doors, directly contribute to reducing staff turnover, and improve workplace productivity to the point that office rental costs could be completely offset.

The first thing you need to do is to be able to develop a comprehensive brief for your new office. You can do this by working through each of the elements from the following check-list. This can be done either on your own or via the services of an expert or a team of expert consultants to assist you through the process.

Once you have developed the brief, you will need to engage a design team. This may include project and cost management expertise depending on the scale of your proposed fit-out. Only then should you make contact with the leasing agents who are active in your preferred geographical location.

The Check-list – Part 1 “My Business, My Staff and My Clients”

Part 1 of your check-list is about creating the brief to meet your office space needs. As discussed above you may need some additional assistance to carry out this process.

It is here that the most important question is asked in helping you to make a decision about whether to lease or not to lease. That question is “how will this decision affect my business”?

You can do this by addressing the four key elements of risk that exist when occupying office space. These are; –

  1. Strategic – being situated in a location that does not suit the nature of your business.
  2. Resource – high staff turnover due to poor working conditions and low morale.
  3. Operational – poor operational efficiency and low workplace productivity.
  4. Reputation – failure to communicate brand and manage client expectations.

You can then reframe these areas of risk, into areas of opportunity by answering the following questions; –

  1. How can I choose an office that best suits my business?
  2. How can my choice of office attract the best and brightest staff to my business and keep them happy and healthy?
  3. How can my choice of office increase operational efficiency and workplace productivity?
  4. How can my choice of office enhance my brand and positively affect my clients?

By answering these questions, the hardest part of your project brief will be covered.

The Check-list – Part 2 “Appoint My Design Team

Part 2 of your check-list relates to the selection of our “design” team for the fit-out. You may also need some additional input with respect to engineering and area considerations, so answers to the following might help with finalising your brief.

  1. Do I need a workplace strategy consultant?
  2. Do I need specialist HVAC input?
  3. Do I need an acoustic consultant?
  4. Do I need a specialist green building consultant (primarily for the purposes of achieving a green fit-out)?
  5. Do I want a tenant representative to assist with my negotiations with leasing agents, property managers and landlords?

By answering these questions, the hardest part of your project brief will be covered.

The Check-list – Part 3 “Brief Done and Now to an Agent to Explore My Options”

Part 3 of your check-list relates to the short-listing of alternate office space options. The following items describe next steps.

  1. Contact the leasing agents and give them a brief of your requirements (or get your tenant representative to do so).
  2. Once the agents send you a list of properties that meet with your briefed requirements, short-list your favourites.
  3. Arrange to tour the properties that you and your design team believe best meet your criteria for choosing new office space.

The Checklist – Part 4 “The Due Diligence and Making Sure You Know What You’re Getting.”

In part 4 you need to make sure there are no terrible surprises to deal with in making your final choice.

  1. Is it safe for my staff to go to the car park after hours?
  2. Are the building’s general areas, toilets and car park clean?
  3. Do I have an accommodating landlord?
  4. Am I making the most of agglomeration or clustering opportunities in my short-listed options?
  5. What is the property manager like and what is the response time from maintenance contractors?
  6. What are my neighbours like?

The Check-list – Part 5 “Checking the Fine Print and Examining the Lease”

In part 5 you finally need to double check the most fundamental of questions relating to your new office. They are size, price and location.

  1. What type of lease is being offered (net or gross)?
  2. If net, what are the estimates for outgoings?
  3. Can these be verified?
  4. How do these compare to other buildings?
  5. What are my plans if these changes cannot be easily accommodated?
  6. What incentives are being offered by the landlord and what is the effective rent?
  7. Can my short-list of office choices accommodate future changes in area requirements?
  8. Am I happy with the lease period, proposed options to renew and rental increases over the lease term?
  9. Am I happy with my relocation and fit-out budgets, including insurance, legal and moving costs. Also, on-going liabilities for maintenance, energy and make good arrangements, after the lease term expires?

The Check-list – Part 6 “Let’s Do a Deal”

The following items represent the final steps in choosing your next office. Get it right and you will have another tool to leverage in the quest for improving the performance your business.

  1. Select your office of first choice.
  2. Send an offer in writing to the agent (or have your tenant representative do so).
  3. Sign the heads of agreement, pay a deposit and send documentation to the solicitor for final review.
  4. Sign the lease……and then….congratulations you are done.

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