21 Things Startups Should Consider When Opening Their First Office
Opening an office is a big undertaking. Not only can it take a lot of time, money and research to find the space that’s right of you and your company, it also means a big step in moving your business forward.
Whether you’re opening up your first office or moving from existing one, you can benefit from the following tips.
1. Determine your true facility needs
Before you make the leap into a brick and mortar office space, take the time to really think about why you need a dedicated space along with how it will function and affect business practices.
What do you need the space to do for you, your employees, your business and your customers? Having a clear idea of your facility needs from the beginning will help guide everything from your budget to the space you ultimately choose.
2. Get your team on the same page
Opening up an office requires a lot of moving parts and input from different parties. Make sure your lawyer, account, real estate agent and even employees know what’s going on so they can help support you to make the right decisions.
3. Figure out your budget early on
Your budget will dramatically affect where you look for office spaces, how you organize the move and how you set up your team with the proper tools in the new space. Be honest with yourself and the books on what you can and can’t afford, and how you should divide your resources.
Remember, your budget doesn’t only cover the rent and initial moving costs, you’ll also need to think of things like getting equipment and technology set up in the new space, available parking and even reprinting your business cards with the new physical address.
4. Get help from a commercial real estate agent
Looking for commercial spaces is unfamiliar territory for most people – get the help you need to find the location that’s right for you and work out all the logistics.
5. Remember: Location, location, location
Obviously, location is key but don’t forget to consider all aspects of your potential new office spots. Can your customers get to it easily? What about your employees? How would the new location affect their commute time or parking?
Is the office in an area where you can easily find new talent? Is it close to an airport or other transportation or shipping services that you may need? Location is more than just a cool office in a nice area…
6. Consider the community
While you’re looking at the location, also consider the community right around your potential space. Will it be a safe and supportive community or will you be worried about damage to your workplace? Will employees have places where they can go out to lunch or is it pretty isolated?
7. Keep your clients in mind…
If you’re having customers come into the office or shop, it needs to be as accessible as possible. Keep in mind things like where your clients will park, how they’ll be received and what areas they’ll be able to stay in.
8. …and also your employees
While you’re focused on how a move will affect you business, you may overlook how it will affect the people that work there everyday on a professional and a personal level. For example, if an employee needs to commute significantly longer to the new space, will that affect their productivity and work satisfaction?
9. Determine whether to lease or buy
As with anything, there are different options for moving into an office space, and they each come with their own pros and cons. Your real estate agent and accountant should be able to help you narrow down your choices and figure out the best way to fund the move and new space.
10. Protect yourself from hidden costs
When it comes to the real estate, try to anticipate potential hidden costs such as repairs you’ll be responsible for or the possibility of increasing rental rates over a period of time. Look at the big picture and into your crystal ball to try and ensure the office fits with your budget both now and for the future.
11. Focus on function
Invest in functionality by focusing on creating an office layout and workflow that supports your team’s tasks and increases productivity.
12. Plan for growth
You don’t want to be moving every few year because you keep growing out of your space. When you choose a space, make sure it gives you room to grow.
13. Set up a great experience
When visitors come to visit your office, how will they be received? Who will greet them and what feeling will they get as they step in the door? Everything from the front sign to the entryway colors will help set the scene and introduce your company to its visitors, but nothing is more important than how you receive people.
Make a good first impression and consider a visitor management system Proxyclick to help welcome visitors to your office and get them to the contacts or departments they need gracefully and quickly.
14. Make it comfortable
While having a functional workspace is crucial, you also don’t want to forget comfort. Your office is like a second home to many people and you want your employees to be comfortable in their work atmosphere as much as possible.
15. Consider how office culture will affect the space
Is your company wild and creative? Reserved and studious? When planning the layout and design of your office, keep your office culture in mind and include elements that reflect that culture.
16. Pick your paint wisely
It may seem like an afterthought, but the colors you use throughout the office for paint, furniture and design elements can greatly affect your team, your visitors and your business’ overall feel.
17. Think through the moving process
Once you find a new space, then the real work begins figuring out moving logistics and planning ahead for what needs to be set up both before and after the actual move. How will employees move their materials or equipment? Will you make the move in stages or all at once?
18. Get your services set up
Again, you could have a new office space filled with furniture in a functional layout, but you’re still not ready to work. Remember that with the move you’ll need to also transfer and set up service providers like for internet and telecommunications.
Take this time to archive old projects, shred and remove out of date documents and finally throw out the broken office chair. Use the move as a fresh start.
20. Buy only the basics
When stocking up on new office materials and equipment, only buy what you truly need. Purchasing unnecessary items will not only rack up your budget but can quickly crowd a new space and affect its functionality.
21. Don’t to forget to announce your move!
Remember to update your contact information on all your company materials, like your website, business cards and listings and make sure your current customers know where to find you.
Published: 26 May, 2015