Top 10 things to consider when looking for a new office

While Covid-19 meant a shift to working from home for most, as things open back up, many businesses are now encouraging a return to the office. As well as this,  plenty of new businesses opened during lockdowns to address some of the problems faced by Covid, and may now need a physical space to grow in.

For businesses offering a choice of working from home and/or in-office patterns for staff, choosing the right office space is important – think about the best ways to accommodate everyone and make your employees feel happy and Covid safe at work.

That’s why our in-house expert and Sales Manager, Paul Babbra, has come up with the top ten things to consider when finding a new office space for your team. 

1. Location, location, location

Think about where the majority of your employees are based. Are they based in a busy city and likely to walk, cycle or take the underground to get in? Or, are they more likely to be driving in from further afield? This applies to your potential visitors, too. Is your office easily accessible to them? Finding an office in a convenient location is key. 

A big day-to-day pet peeve of office working can be the commute, finding a parking space or paying for daily parking. So, consider this when you’re on the hunt for a new office space. Is parking available on-site or nearby?

2. Encourage wellness

There’s nothing more frustrating than an office with a lack of local amenities. Choose a location that has a range of options for lunch spots, green walks and local cafes. This is a great way to give your staff the opportunity to take breaks from their screens and to support their day-to-day wellness and mental health. 

Bonus points for a location that allows you to order morning coffees to the office! 

3. Ditch the desks

Think about it honestly. Would sofas, pods, standing desks or other alternative working spots liven things up for your staff? 

Consider creating ‘quiet zones’ too to support all types of workers; not everyone thrives in a bustling office environment, so think about setting up some comfortable soundproof or quieter areas for staff to get their heads down.

4. Design your space

Initially, it’s important to decide whether your office will be more open-plan or will need enclosed working spaces for staff. Of course, you can create a combination of the two. Remember to accommodate room for social distancing and one-way foot traffic, too for a covid-safe workplace. 

Thinking about rooms, even the most open-plan offices need space for meetings to take place. So, think about how many meeting rooms and/or private offices you need. Should they be soundproof, do they need blinds or frosted glass?

5. Figure out your facilities

Covid-19 and the ever-growing popularity of the ‘Cycle to Work’ scheme means that the return to work may include more cycling commuters than ever before. Think then about secure bike storage, on-site showers, storage lockers and spaces to change.

6. Are you accessible?

The basics of accessibility include easy (and ample) toilet access, disabled toilets, lifts and ramps to cater to all needs. Beyond that, disability staff training and awareness, wide passageways and adjustable desk heights should be considered.

By making these considerations as part of your office planning from the outset, you’ll create a more welcoming and inclusive workspace from the get-go.

7. Conquer your kitchen space 

Does your workspace have enough room in the kitchen? Coffee machines, water dispensers, toasters and dishwashers can help save your staff time and money. Beyond the facilities to make food, wash up and sit down, make sure there’s enough room for those pesky socially distanced microwave queues!

Coffee Pouring into a White Mug From a Two Prong Coffee Maker

8. Plan for the long-term

Ideally, you don’t want to be relocating your workforce regularly. If you’re planning on expanding or recruiting new staff in the mid-to-long term, think about the impact of added desk space on your potential new space as well as accommodating social distancing measures.

9. Calculate changes in costs

If you receive physical goods as part of your business, consider whether your new space will be closer or further away from your suppliers. Moving further away could up your delivery bills significantly.

As well as this, moving to a bigger space will usually incur higher running costs. Not only the rent and deposit but also furnishing costs, parking space rentals, storage, business rates, internet and phone systems, cleaning costs, insurance and utilities. Take all these new costs and/or hikes into account when looking for a new office space.

10. Sort your security

Most office blocks have security at the front desk. Consider the level of security needed for both entry to the building and your office space. Think about security passes, sign-in procedures, computer security and server room access. Is privacy and security possible in your new office space? Will your data storage be kept safe? Are there off-site server backups in case of emergency?

There we have it. Ten things to think about when looking for a new office. If you’re still not sure how much space you need, use our simple office space calculation tool, which will take your requirements and share with you the minimum space you need when returning to the office post-covid.

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