Five things to consider before moving your offices
1. Fail to plan = plan to fail
Imagine your lease has expired and you have to vacate your current premises tomorrow. The lease on your new building doesn’t complete until next month. What do you do?
Some of your staff can probably work from home – but what about the 20 that don’t have laptops or remote access? Your emails are on 365 – but what about your servers? How quickly can you transfer them to the cloud?
You needed to find a new office in a hurry so you’ve signed on a basement in an area you don’t really know. It’s not close to any of the stations your staff use but that’s OK, the extra walk will keep them fit, right? It’s a funny shape too so you’re going to have to get creative with the furnishings. You’ve found someone to install power and data cabling but the landlord hasn’t agreed to the changes yet. You’ve ordered the BT lines so at least that’s done. They shouldn’t take more than a few weeks, should they? Fibre? Surely every building in London has fibre these days?
Sounds like a nightmare – but this could be you. In today’s fast-moving marketplace, this kind of planning failure could spell sudden death for your business.
The bottom line? Be prepared. Don’t let deadlines creep up on you. Do your homework when it comes to finding a new space – that means checking out accessibility and nearby amenities as well as the facilities and space within the building itself. Find someone who can create a detailed plan showing everything that needs to be considered, and build in a reasonable time frame for the entire move – from scoping, to fitting out, to moving day. A few hiccups along the way are inevitable, but with a solid plan in place you’ll be well equipped to handle them.
2. Future-proof your space
Think carefully about how much space you need, and give your agent a clear brief. This will save you time, hassle and worry in the long run.
Now is the time to plan ahead and anticipate the future needs of your business as well as the present day requirements. A space that’s big enough today might be too small in two years’ time – and who wants to move again that soon? Likewise, renting space that’s too big – especially on a long lease – eats directly into your profits.
Speak to someone who can look at your business and help you analyse exactly what sort of space and size you should be looking for. Forget the industry averages – your business and culture is unique and the ‘one size fits all’ approach does not apply. Take this as your opportunity to really examine the way you work and how your workspace impacts on that – can you identify ways to increase effectiveness?
Let someone challenge you. Let them ask you uncomfortable questions about what makes you successful, and what’s holding you back. A crystal clear brief will allow you to be decisive when you view buildings and gives you a valuable framework for comparing one space with another.
3. Three is the magic number (of months for BT to get you connected)
It’s hard to swallow in this day and age but BT’s timeline for a new installation remains steadfastly at 90 days – and that’s something that requires planning. There are stopgap solutions out there if you run out of time, but they’re pricey and far from reliable. Even if your fit-out is on a short time frame, in order to hit the ground running you must have arranged the BT line for your new building at least three months before you actually have to move.
4. Design makes the difference
You’ve invested in great design for your company’s branding and thought long and hard about getting the tone of your communications exactly right. You understand the importance of sending the right message about who you are and what you do – so why stop there?
Your office interiors say something about your company the moment anyone walks through the door, so make sure they’re sending the right message by paying attention to the details. Think about the way you want people to feel when they enter the space.
Design lasts long after the price and hassle is forgotten. It will determine the legacy created by the project. It will create the warm feeling you get when you know something is special.
Then you also need to plan your spaces to maximize workflow – ensure they promote comfort, communication and inspiration. Make sure your people are supported to do their best work.
Make an impression. Create excitement. Win clients you never dreamed of. Ignite creativity in your workforce. Attract and retain the best people in your sector.
5. Budget carefully
Whatever the reason for your move, it has to make good business sense – so getting a handle on your budget from the outset is an absolute must. It’s important to do your homework to avoid nasty financial surprises that could derail your vision for the finished space. Remember, not all buildings are created equal – even those that look similar on the face of things can have wildly differing costs when it comes to the fit-out. High profile buildings often cost more to fit out thanks to issues such as access and higher fit out requirements – practical, but often overlooked, and sometimes costly to overcome.
Its important to speak to an expert that can help you sniff out hidden risks and offer creative solutions to get the maximum impact from your budget, no matter how much you want to spend. Be clear about your priorities and make sure that your design vision doesn’t get watered down. And don’t forget to leave enough in your budget for a nice coffee machine!