It’s time for a new office. Whether you’ve been working out of your home, your company or organization is growing, or your current building is just now longer living up to your needs and expectations, looking for a new office is never an easy task. In fact, you may have heard that looking for new office space a year in advance is recommended. Whatever your reason, though, a year is often not the time span you’ve got to work with. While the size of the office you need and the size of the city you’re looking in will definitely affect your search, use the following as a checklist. Think about each item, and make some notes about your answer for each question.
What steps should you take?
- What size does your office need to be? This is in direct proportion to how many employees will be working in the office. Think about how many desks or cubicles you’ll need, and find them in advance so that you know how big they are. Once you have those dimensions, you can choose a ballpark figure for the square footage necessary.
- Is there a location you’d like to stay in? Generally, your employees probably don’t want to change up their commute routine too much, so moving to the other side of a city isn’t recommended. Try to stay in an area that’s a couple miles from where your current office is. If you have to move further than that, make sure your employees are going to be able to make that transition within their current transportation means.
- How many individual offices do you need? In most offices, there are many people in a large room, or several together in smaller rooms, while the boss and a few others get their own office. However, every office is different, and you’ll need to consider this before deciding on a new space.
- What kinds of extra space do you need? Most offices have a kitchen space with a refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, and other appliances. Beyond that, it’s usually helpful to have a meeting room (or several), perhaps an IT room to keep extra equipment, maybe a media room, etc. Again, each office is different. Consider the unique needs of your own office.
- What amenities do you need to be around? If you’re currently close to restaurants and coffee shops, moving your employees away from those places could deplete morale. If you live in a smaller town and you’re already used to it, that won’t matter as much. Talk to your employees to get a sense of their needs and wants.
- Don’t forget about fun! Your employees will probably appreciate some fun aspects of the office. Offices such as Google, Red Bull, and Pixar have offices that incorporate really unique designs, including massage chairs, slides, bridges, and bright colors. While these sorts of things probably aren’t in your budget, consider a design that’s inviting and unique. Don’t leave the walls white, the carpet stained, and the lights fluorescent. A drab, uninviting space does not inspire employees to do their best work. Also, including an inviting room for employees to unwind during breaks will probably increase morale.
Again, each office space is very unique. Many offices nowadays try to steer away from the traditional cubicles-in-a-big-room look. No person enjoys being stuck in a small cubicle all day. Modern offices often include desks in large, open rooms, or other alternatives to cubicles, such as large, segmented tables that resemble cubicles without the tall walls. Also, many of today’s office workers are becoming more and more health-concious about sitting all day. Standing desks and treadmill desks are popping up everywhere, and are great additions to any health-friendly office.
If you’re not sure about how to design your office space and how to make it inviting, there are many companies now that will build out your office for you, after working on a design with you. While it may cost a good chunk of change, your return on investment will most likely be great, as your employees will actually enjoy coming to work and being in the office.
Joli D. writes for Shingobee Builders, a commercial construction company providing general contracting, project management, and real estate development.