Commercial Realtor ‘writes the book’ on office relocation
Karen Warner recently published a book titled Move Your Office. The book includes timelines and checklists for choosing a new office, as well as for budgeting and coordinating the move.
Warner has 12 years of experience in the commercial real estate field and in April joined the Colliers office in Boise. Move Your Office is Warner’s third book; she has also written Winning the Office Leasing Game and Office Relocation Planner.
Why did you want to write this book?
I have, being in this business for several years, had several clients ask for a tool to help with their office relocation. I thought there would be something on the market but there wasn’t. The original idea was just to come up with the tasks associated with the physical move.
Since then it’s grown into a complete tool for figuring out the type of office they might need, the amount of space, space planning, lease negotiation and coordinating the various moving vendors.
Why was this book needed?
Because the cost of leasing space is one of a business’s biggest expenses, in most cases second only to payroll, getting the best value for that expenditure is critical. Studies have shown the amount of space and the way that space is designed all heavily influence customer confidence, productivity, and employee satisfaction.
The design and efficiency of that space is also a big factor in the cost of the space — if you can run your business in the most efficient amount of square footage, there can be a significant cost savings. The typical rule of thumb is 200 to 250 square feet per employee.
What are some of the most common mistakes companies make when they move?
Underestimating the amount of time it takes to plan a move is a common error that many businesses make. You should begin looking for new space six months to a year before the expiration of your current lease, depending on the size of the business.
What do businesses need to remember about the leasing and relocation process?
That leases last for years, so any decisions reached and terms made are decisions and terms the business will have to live with for a long time.
Most businesses will have to deal with either relocating or renegotiating their existing office lease on a regular basis, but it’s hard to stay proficient at something you only do every 3-5 years. A practical reference such as Move Your Office combined with an ongoing relationship with the right commercial real estate professional can make all the difference in maximizing your productivity and minimizing down time.
There are also numerous tasks involved in an office relocation, and unless you have a good handle on the priority and timing of each task, things can slip through the cracks and cause problems.
“Don’t forget to involve your staff in the moving process and to keep the communication lines open. Change can be intimidating, and the more informed and appreciated your staff feels, the more likely they’ll be to support the move and stay focused on their work.”
“And remember: The cheapest space is not always the cheapest space!”