Looking for New Office Space? 9 Things to Consider
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Do you know how tedious and frustrating it is to find a new apartment? Imagine how monotonous and thwarted it is to look for an office space.
Missteps during the navigation process can be taken advantage of by the landlord or broker. Commercial real estate has many ins and outs you need to know before exploring and moving into a new office.
Choosing a new office space can also be daunting and challenging if you don't know what to look out for. You may be concerned that the office you select is not big enough for all your employees. Another issue could be an unidentified cockroach or rat problem.
It would help if you were prepared before heading out to find new office spaces for your company.
We put together this new office space guide on finding workplaces to help you through the entire process. Without further ado, let's begin this piece. Let’s learn how to find office space with us!
9 Things to Consider When Setting Up New Office Space
1. List Your Office Space Requirements
The first thing you should do is list your initial criteria. You have to include some must-have office accessories in your workspace, and this could be anything from your staff's desks to simple charging devices.
Having a list of items at hand is also a great way to share it with fellow stakeholders or brokers.
It is good to start with the basics like lease terms (duration of the lease), location, and size (square footage), and then move on to "must-haves." Some examples of must-haves include three private offices or five bathrooms, and so forth.
After that, you can list the luxury items you would like to incorporate into the office space.
Below are some vital questions you should ask yourself when listing your requirements.
- Do you want to explore a new location, or do you want to remain around or in the current one?
- What sort of workspace is suitable for your organization?
- How much space do you need?
- What is your budget?
- When would you like to move in?
You can better understand when you will be moving and how to handle all the proceedings in-between by answering these questions.
2. Decide on Your Preferred Lease Terms
Three to five years is the average lease term on office space in New York City. Early-stage or small companies unsure of where the business will be in a year may find this timeframe daunting.
One of the most common solutions for small businesses or startups may be co-working spaces or sublets. It is an excellent option if you need a few desks for the foreseeable future. Both offer seats at a cheaper rate than rent and give you flexibility while looking for something more within your desired lease terms.
It's good to note that a shared space does come with its drawbacks, such as a noisy work environment, being unable to use your own furniture, and messy co-workers. Make sure to check out the situation before moving in, and you can save yourself a lot of trouble in the future.
Either way, the impermanence of a co-working space makes it ideal, especially if you are in a hurry to get an office and get to work. It is possible to find shared spaces online but going through a broker (who has already verified the area) is the best way to do so.
3. Start Sooner Rather Than Later
Those with particular specifications may take an average of two to eight months to find a new office space. Depending on these primary three factors, there is a range that your search fits in.
- Vacancy rates of the buildings that you are considering
- Your space requirements
- The demand for the office space in your desired district
It is recommended to start looking for a new office six to 12 months before your current lease ends. Drafting a plan is an essential task during this stage; you can perform this with the help of specially designed software or an architect that ensures the space accommodates your company's requirements. It is one of the primary things you should add to your new office checklist while establishing it.
Your office equipment checklist will also come in handy here as you figure out where to place specific items before you arrive to unpack.
Looking for new office space isn't the only time investment you will need to put into the process. It often takes months or weeks to reach a lease agreement that both parties are happy with. There may also be renovations to perform on the space, which can add additional months, weeks, or days to your timeline.
That all depends on the ambitions and build-out needs you will set out as a business owner.
4. Appoint a Leader to Maintain Continuity
It would help if you had a spearhead for your office search, so appointing someone you trust is crucial to finding the correct workspace. Be mindful of the time commitment you are taking on if you are the only person matching that description.
It may disrupt your already extensive list of commitments and hinder your company's performance. An established right-hand man can be delegated to look for the perfect office space that meets your requirements.
This individual should facilitate all the feedback from internal stakeholders, handle communications with the broker, and attend all office tours. They should provide a clear and concise update on the search status or appoint someone else to substitute them if the person can't meet these commitments.
What you want to avoid at all costs is multiple people looking at various locations and reporting back with their take on their favorite rental spaces. That is bound to create confusion and is a recipe for disaster that will prolong the search even more.
5. Work with a Tenant Broker
Picture this; you are walking down the street and see a sign on the side of a building. It says, "lease available, rent an office space," this poster has contact details on it. The building is in a neighborhood you love and looks great from the outside. You think to yourself, "It won't hurt to give the person a ring and find out more about the available office space."
Unfortunately, contacting the number on the sign usually results in time being wasted, and in a worst-case scenario, you may sign a lease to an office that doesn't suit your needs.
First, when you look for office space, the chances that the office space advertised matches your requirements is meager. You know nothing about the office space's inside when you are standing outside of the building, and the only way to get information and tour the place is to call that number.
"Office Space for Rent" signs usually contain a number that belongs to the landlord's listing agent or broker. These individuals work for the landlord, so be aware of that before dealing with them. They do their best to satisfy the landlord and earn a lucrative commission.
If they wanted to, they could exploit you because they know all there is to know about commercial real estate.
A tenant broker can help you because they represent you during the lease navigation process. These brokers' only job is to work on behalf of tenants, and they have extensive knowledge of what spaces are available.
It is a no-risk, high-reward endeavor when you begin working with a commercial tenant broker.
Below we have listed some of the benefits of working with an experienced professional:
- Most don't cost you a dollar out of pocket because landlords pay their fees
- They negotiate amenities and savings on your behalf
- Tenant brokers do all the legwork for you
- They know where to start looking
- Some are salaried and consequently less like to rush you into a lease for the sake of earning a commission
- They know the market and what to expect in terms of pricing
The more your broker knows about what kinds of spaces you've already seen, the current stage of your search, and your requirements, the quicker they can decide on the most practical next step.
6. Bring a List of Tours
Your priorities may start shifting once you begin touring spaces, so you need to keep the relationship honest between you and your broker. Something that might not have crossed your mind as a matter of importance is the speed of the lobby elevator. After waiting five minutes for it to come down to the first floor, you may realize that this is an untenable feature.
Besides adding this requirement to your list, you may want to notarize which space features the top elevator speeds.
It's good to keep the following questions in mind as you update your list and tour new buildings when you look for office space:
- How are visitors admitted to the office building?
- What is the condition of the building lobby?
- How many floors and how many tenants are in the building?
- What is the after-hours protocol for the office building?
- How is HVAC priced?
- What are the access parameters for the freight elevator?
- How is the elevator's performance?
- Does the office building have onsite maintenance?
- What is the landlord's standard build-out policy?
- How is the lighting?
- What is the process for installing telecommunications?
By finding the answers to the above questions when choosing new office space, you will be one step ahead of sourcing the ideal office space.
7. Get Internal Feedback
Involving team members in decisions regarding your new workspace is a great way to be seen as a boss who cares. You can also yield significant benefits during the process, such as happier staff and a more user-friendly office environment.
Luckily, you can check out the Autonomous employee purchase program to find some of the most significant ergonomic equipment on the market. You will find everything from the SmartDesk to ErgoChair Pro+ that can provide your staff with the epitome of excellence and comfort.
Another few things you need to consider is the commute to the office for your employees, how far are you from partners or clients, and do you need more meeting space?
Your team will take more ownership and pride if you tend to their requirements and not only your own. Without listening to your staff, you may find that you are missing out on some valuable suggestions.
8. Make an Offer, Don't Be Shy
Don't waste time if you are not one hundred percent sure that the office space you found is "the one." It would be best to immediately make an offer you think is suitable if you like the place, as it is a non-binding step in the leasing process.
It is a proactive move that can yield a high reward because you can withdraw the offer at any time without a penalty.
9. Consult a Designer
Once you have settled on an office with the above new office space guide, it's time to turn it into a functioning, beautiful workspace for you and your employees.
You can negotiate the cost of renovations and pay for it during the leasing process, but you may encounter two basic options.
Tenant improvement allowances: Some tenants may offer monetary contributions in the form of an improvement allowance. In most cases, tenants provide it in free rent (dollar per square foot). With this allowance, you can hire a designer or contractor.
Turnkey build-out: In this type of construction, the landlord manages and pays for the agreed-upon modifications. When the landlord controls this process, it means he has the final say when it comes to the contractor, quality of materials, and costs. It isn't unheard of for landlords to cut corners, so be aware of that.
Including a host of cool office desk accessories can also spruce up the area to make it as ergonomic and user-friendly as possible. The only limitations are your imagination and budget, so consider that when building the office of your dreams.
Looking for new office space can be a mundane yet challenging task if you don't know what you want. It's a good idea to consider the above guidelines so that you can find an extraordinary office that suits you and your employee's requirements.
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