It takes foresight, strategy and nous to transfer an entire business to a new building only for it to be the best thing that could have happened to the company.
It could be because staff commute times improved, you moved nearer to clients, the building and its amenities are more sophisticated than you’ve ever had before, or simply that the phone signal is better, and the internet more reliable. Ultimately you’ll know it because your workforce is happier and more productive.
Whether a move has been triggered by a lease expiry in your current building, business growth, or the realisation that your office is just not fit for purpose, the long-term nature of a commercial lease means a relocation needs to be carefully thought through, with multiple factors to consider.
It’s not just changes to your business and your sector you need to give thought to, it is also about how infrastructure projects and other developments can potentially transform the world you operate in.
To help you make the strongest start possible, I’ve compiled what I consider the most important criteria from which you should launch your search, once you’ve determined how much space you need, of course.
Understanding where your staff live and how they travel to work is perhaps the most obvious thing to assess before relocating. Proximity to clients can also be a critical component. With so many major transport infrastructure projects underway in cities across Australia, it is crucial to look at your options based on what locations will look like in the future, not just at the time you move.
Key to supporting your staff’s daily needs is being in a location that can provide variety and convenience in terms of food and services. What is provided outdoors is just as important as what is inside your building. Again, it’s not just what exists, but what is coming to a particular location in the future that you should keep at the forefront of mind. For the now now, Walkscore is a great app that gives buildings a score based on their ‘walkability’ to transport hubs and amenities.
This means many different things to different organisations. From utilising third meeting spaces such as The Porter Sydney, to reduce a business’ permanent footprint, to being able to expand via flexible space, there is greater opportunity than ever before for tenants to keep pace with their space requirements. The benefit of these spaces besides flexibility, is that they offer no fixed capital investment and can enhance collaboration and innovation.
What is located within the building and outside of it has a major impact on the health, wellbeing and productivity of staff. Beyond the quality of nearby gyms and the building’s end of trip facilities, companies are paying increasing attention to factors such as natural light and fresh air. These can make a considerable difference to how someone feels and functions in an office. Through considered fit-outs that bring the outside in, many companies are also giving their staff the opportunity to exercise and eat well in and around the building.
Buildings are undergoing substantial change thanks to developments in technology in relation to convenience, connectivity and intelligence. It is important to understand how specific buildings will utilise technology to enhance the user journey, user comfort, their safety and to enable greater flexibility. There are brilliant examples of ‘smart’ buildings around the world, including those that allow an occupant to control their micro environment through an app, and others that will assign them a workspace based on the tasks and schedules shown in their digital profile.
With technology providing greater flexibility in how we work, buildings need to keep pace with our varying needs. This can relate to the design and configuration of the floorplate to enable change in the way we work, to the ability for the services and infrastructure within the building to allow organisations to use space more efficiently on a cost per head basis, rather than a rate per square metre.
As you can see the considerations for a new office location have come a long way since the days that a shared kitchen was all there was to be excited about. Advancements in technology and that ever present competition for talent has lifted standards considerably.
By referring back to this checklist, you put yourself and your business in the best possible position to secure an office that is both desirable to your workforce and conducive to business growth.
And achieving that is no mean feat.