Creating the perfect office environment is a challenge, but in addition to pure office space planning, you also need to make sure your office is in the right location. While many businesses look at obvious things like cost when picking their facility, there are a huge number of other things to consider, if you are to make the right choice.
Your office needs to cope with both current and future demands, and needs to work for your business, your customers and your employees. With that in mind, here are some key considerations you need to take into account.
If you are moving your premises elsewhere, an absolutely crucial consideration has to be the happiness of your existing staff members – especially those who are vital to your success. It is, therefore, essential that you pick a location which they are happy with, and which is easy for them to travel to.
You need to make sure staff can get to the location without a ridiculous commute, but you also need to think about the facilities nearby. Are there public transport links? Are there shops nearby? Have you spoken to office designers about the broadband facilities in the area, to ensure staff can do their jobs properly?
“Our location was a long walk from the tube adding an unattractive amount of time to the daily staff commute,” says Michael Phillips, managing director at Broadbandchoices.co.uk. “We were in an area that didn’t offer any lunchtime amenities and absolutely no banks, shops or decent bars. In short, our location was both off-putting for potential recruits and was a significant downside for our existing staff.”
Neighbours and Facilities
When settling on a location, just like when buying a house, you need to give some careful thought to your neighbours. If your office is going to have staff there overnight, you don’t want to be stuck near a noisy nightclub, and if your business produces a lot of noise, you need to be mindful of the impact on others.
Of course, you also need to scout the area for any competition. While there may be strategic reasons for moving your business near competitors, it is usually best avoided. After all, you will be targeting the same customers, which could seriously hinder the level of business you attract. Especially if they are already established.
Reputation of the Area
Another important aspect to consider is the overall reputation of the place you are thinking of moving to. Does the area have a positive or negative reputation, overall? How do people in the area view it? How do people outside of the area view it? Do people regularly travel there from other areas, or do they avoid it?
During this phase, you will need to carry out research by speaking to lots of different people. You may also need to generalise. It could be, for example, that the area has a bad reputation, but your office would be away from the worst parts. However, simply being located in that area may still reflect negatively on your business.
Clients and Customers
Finally, if your business relies on customers visiting the office on a regular basis, you need to make sure they can get there easily and quickly. Are you located near your core client base? Is the commute easy enough? What is traffic like in the area? Are there plenty of places for them to park nearby?
“You want your office space to be accessible to clients, as people may not be as willing to travel to patronize your business.” explains Lisa Girard, writing for Entrepreneur.com. “If you leave an urban location for a cheaper space in the suburbs, consider whether the lower expenses will make up for the possible loss of clients.”
Similarly, many businesses rely on staff members travelling for regular face-to-face meetings with clients. If this is the case for your business, you need to be located within easy reach of your most valuable clients, or else you will be losing time (and therefore money) to long and unnecessary staff commutes.