Considering a move into a new office space? Maybe your business has blossomed and needs
more space, or you simply need a change of venue to impress clients and attract talent. Time to
dream of new amenities or a better location — the possibilities seem endless.
Be prepared to minimize anxiety and stress for yourself, managers, and employees, often a very
avoidable part of a thrilling time for everyone. Consider as many factors and potential pain areas
to make informed decisions. Everyone you ask will have an opinion on where the office should
be, as well as what it should come with or cost. Experts agree that today’s office spaces benefit
most with these 10 must haves. At least, you can consider them when you’re ready.
1. Talent-Attracting Location
There are many things to consider with regard to location. Obviously, the price is a factor, which
can lead managers to move the office further from desirable city hubs in order to save money on
the lease. Yet this decision can cost the business long-term, in a harsher way than you may
realize. To attract the most talented employees, your business needs to look like a desirable
place to work. You can dazzle with great benefits packages, growth opportunities, or maybe a
free gym membership — but if your office is located in a scrappy part of town, that could instantly
be a deal-breaker. Top talent wants to work in top areas, so find an office that is well-located to
attract the best and brightest that can propel your business forward. A bonus here is, a trendier
location can have a positive effect on how potential clients view your company, which can
attract more business directly.
Everyone loves a space with amenities, especially millennials. There is a reason everyone
wants to work at Google because the place is a playground of desirable amenities. This keeps
their talented workforce so happy they are willing to work long hours and on the weekends —
because it doesn’t feel like work! There are many things to consider with regard to amenities,
but some of the basics to lock down include a relaxing eating area, decent restrooms, and some
sort of engagement facility for team building. Additionally, find a space that is well located to
local attractions is a must. Check that there are decent restaurants nearby to entertain clients.
Find someplace close to banks, post offices, or shopping areas so staff can get errands done
3. The Ideal Layout
Every business needs a unique space for their unique business. Consider how many walled
offices there are for senior staff, and if they are suitable for your respectable talent. From there,
how are the open areas if cubicles are part of your model? Would an open layout make more
sense or something more sectioned off for a privacy-sensitive business?
4. Let the Light Shine in
Face it, every office space can’t have floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking oceans, mountains,
and breathtaking cityscapes. But indirect sunlight can enhance employee productivity and
improve well-being, so be mindful of how to take full advantage of what light exists. Skylights
help in a big way, as do interior offices with window panels which allow natural light from
external windows to the outside.)
5. Reduced Traffic – Commuter-friendly
Have you ever endured an hour and a half commute? Oh pardon me, that’s an hour and a half
both ways, totaling a 3-hour a day commute. Over a 5-day work week, that’s 15 hours of your
life sitting in the great parking lot that is the busy freeways in the United States. It can be
maddening, and so insufferable even happy employees will look for opportunities elsewhere just
so they can get 10-15 hours of their lives back. Find an office space that is reasonable to get to
traffic-wise, or is at least in an area where public transportation can get your employees to work
in a timely manner.
6. Realistic Square Footage
Don’t take on more office space than you need. Perhaps the entire purpose of your move is to
get more space, but be careful in your projections for growth. A crippling lease price can stymie
that growth, choking the entire purpose of your move in the first place. Make sure that your new
office is suitable for sustained growth, without consuming an excessive chunk of your resources.
7. Avoid Hidden Costs
When comparing any sort of real estate, price comparison is an obvious must. Yet not all
properties can be compared apples-to-apples, as some present their price as an inclusive total
while others surprise you with hidden costs you’d assume should be included with rent. Have an
upfront conversation with the landlord or leasing agent to ensure you are truly getting everything
you need at the price presented.
How big of a pain in the face is the parking situation? The second most annoying thing about
getting to work after traffic is hunting for parking — and the last thing you need are disgruntled
employees who have spent the first part of their day grumbling. If the space is in the center of
the city, check if there are parking passes you can provide for employees, or at least give them
discounts for. If not, public transportation is another option and something you could provide as
part of a benefits package to keep your commuters happy.
9. Secure Building
Everyone wants to feel safe, especially your employees. There are several ways to approach
this important factor, and it all depends on the location of the chosen space. If the building is in
a low crime area, safety could be easy to overlook, but is absolutely not something to forget
about. For example in more remote areas, make sure the parking lot is well-lit and the building
is reasonably secure with alarms and security surveillance. In more urban areas, higher security
precautions should be taken. Is there a security guard on duty, or ID-required building access?
Whatever the area, make sure to ask questions. Have there been any recent break-ins? Are the
windows and skylights secure? A safe environment makes for an at ease labor force.
10. Room to Expand
As previously discussed, make sure you choose the right square footage for your space. But
remember to think ahead at the possibility of rapid growth. How difficult would it be to expand
your business to more space in this building? Could you easily rent the office next door? Or is
there enough space in the larger areas to section off for more employees? It’s never too early to
In the hunt for a new office space, there are clearly many things to consider. Yet the juggle of
possibilities is well-worth the effort, to ensure your decision is an improvement on your current
space, which will lead to a happier, more motivated staff.
For more ideas, check out our Office Relocation Checklist.
Work with an experienced furniture vendor or office design consultant to develop an overall plan. Sticking to the big picture helps make sure the pieces fit together.
Keep ergonomics in mind for seating and desktop options. It protects the health, safety, and comfort of your staff and can help prevent work-related medical claims. For maximum durability and interchangeability, invest in high-quality components. Top-brand manufacturers are less likely to discontinue product lines, making it easier to add compatible modules and accessories as business needs change and grow.
Determining how much office space square footage your business requires is an essential aspect of the office move process. There are several different methods to calculate this; the simplest is to base your office space square footage requirement on the number of employees in your office.
Experts estimate that you need 200 to 250 square feet of office space per employee. You may require even more room if you have significant storage needs or if your business requires large amounts of open office space. Calculating your square footage needs at both 200 square feet per employee and 250 square feet per employee is an effective way to determine your office space square footage range.
For example, if your firm has 27 employees: 27 at 200 square feet per person equals 5,400 square feet of office space. Next, multiply 27 by 250 square feet to get 6,750 square feet of office space. You now know that your ideal office space will be somewhere in the range of 5,400 square feet to 6,750 square feet. Keep in mind, this range gives enough room for the individual employees and adds a buffer for corridors, conference rooms and work areas.
If your business requires the use of additional equipment, or offices that are significantly larger than usual; you will want to increase the amount of square footage for your office space search. Conversely, if you run a call center that utilizes small cubicles, you may be able to get by with less square footage than is considered typical. Very dense call centers can often get by with 150 square feet per employee or even less.
Office space planning for a flexible, efficient floorplan
Forget about the cube—the hottest new technology in office space planning and furnishings is flexibility. Those stereotypical executive offices and bullpens of the past are being remodeled into wide-open central expanses, with small conference rooms positioned along the walls. The result? The café office—featuring large communal spaces outfitted with movable wall partitions to create privacy on the fly; and chairs and desks on casters that can be grouped, separated, and re-grouped as needed.
The New Process
Does the project management team need to gather for a brainstorming session? Members of the team wheel their chairs and laptop kiosks over to an unoccupied area of the room. Alternatively, they might gather in one of the small conference rooms with an interactive smart board, capturing their inspirations into a digital file they could tap into later from the company’s server. When collaboration is complete, team members reorganize into smaller groups or return to their individual workstations.
Office furniture spending has increased by 18% over the past two years, indicating that more and more businesses are reinvesting in new furnishings, often replacing the old stand-bys with updated alternatives.
But cutting-edge office space planning goes beyond furniture. For the new model to work, people and their tools can’t be tied to the tyranny of tangled cords and mandatory proximity to electrical outlets. The key to portability is wireless technology, including a wireless network, laptop computers, and VOIP (Voice-Over Internet Protocol) telephone communications.
The Right Pieces
Businesses considering the switch to flexible furnishings have a wealth of options that can help enhance efficiency and workflow.
Look for wheeled desks and worktables that can be adjusted from 25″ to 49″ in height so that employees can alternate between sitting and standing positions. Work surfaces and desktops come in a variety of different materials, including plastic and wood laminates, but plastic laminate is generally the most economical option.
Panels—once the mainstay of the typical office workspace—have become optional in the new environment. Some companies use stationary panels to define work areas. Others use panels on casters that can be positioned for meetings or tasks that require concentration, and then pushed aside again when no longer needed. Panel heights range from 30” to 80,” depending the amount of privacy each work area needs. Thirty-inch partitions allow for convenient communication between desks and work well for interactive assignments like project management teams. Fifty-inch panels provide greater privacy for telephone calls, but still allow for conversation between workstations when people are standing. The tallest panels afford enough privacy for intensive tasks or even meetings.
Attractive, practical storage is critical in this type of office. Open shelving, with bins that can be wheeled into place beside or even beneath desks, is a convenient option. Wheeled file cabinets with drawers work well for files and office supplies. Lateral files, bookshelves, and credenzas placed strategically throughout the space can provide additional storage.
Seating accounts for one quarter of all office furniture spending, so it’s no wonder that desk chairs typically don’t take a backseat to other furnishings. Chairs designed for ergonomics and comfort incorporate a multitude of high-tech features and can be programmed to adjust for different users or different desk or table heights. This is helpful when more than one person uses the same work area. It also allows the same chair to be easily repositioned for different tasks, such as shifting back and forth between a desk and a design table with an elevated work surface.
Even conference room furniture is becoming more adaptable. The long formal conference table is giving way to small tables that can either be grouped together to accommodate a large meeting or separated for informal training sessions. Moveable tables with casters are highly functional and practical for this.
Technology is just as critical in the conference room as in the main office area. All conference rooms should have a networked computer, a ceiling-mounted projector, and screen, so project teams can easily review and edit files during meetings.
The ROI for a well-designed, well-organized office is real. An investment in the right office furniture and equipment pays off in a more efficient and productive workplace. And as an added bonus, an effectively designed office can reduce the amount of square footage needed, which can really cut down on occupancy costs.
The bottom line is: the floor plan should support and facilitate the business plan. If your plan calls for interaction between multi-functional teams and a high level of communication among employees, moving the furniture could be the best move your business makes.
How to Find the Right Furnishings
Work with an experienced furniture vendor or office space planning consultant to develop an overall plan. Sticking to the big picture helps make sure the pieces fit together.
Keep ergonomics in mind for seating and desktop options. It protects the health, safety, and comfort of your staff and can help prevent work-related medical claims.
For maximum durability and interchangeability, invest in high-quality components. Top-brand manufacturers are less likely to discontinue product lines, making it easier to add compatible modules and accessories as business needs change and grow.