The Next Step: Questions You Need Answered Before Moving Offices

By Daniel Sarath

Being aware of some of the challenges that moving offices presents will allow businesses to avoid a number of alarmingly common pitfalls.

It may be time to invest in a new office if your company has reached a point where it can employ many new staff members to continue its success or if its increased prosperity means you have outgrown your current location.

Start-up companies and entrepreneurs in this fortunate position will surely be excited to begin a new chapter in their business' history.

However, looking for the right office for your business can be incredibly stressful, regardless of whether it will be your first property or your second.

There are many questions that business owners should be asking themselves before they commit to a location, and there are numerous things that should be investigated before you make up your mind.

Being aware of some of the challenges that moving offices presents will allow you to avoid a number of alarmingly common pitfalls businesses stumble into.

These can include the planned location of your business and any problems this might present, or the concerns of clients and employees who will be expected to attend the office.

Related Article: Movin' On Up: Why Relocating Offices Doesn't Have to Suck

Will Your Property Suit You for the Foreseeable Future?

As a new office is a major financial investment, you will want to be able to operate out of it for at least the next few years. By this point in the process, many business owners and entrepreneurs will have already answered the question "is my business successful enough to warrant a new office?".

However, just as important a question you should be asking is "will my business outgrow this office in 24 months time?"

You will want to account for every possibility when you expand your business, and one of them is the chance that you may see an even bigger growth when you move into a new office. With the added personnel, better location and the heightened reputation your splendid new location provides, it is hardly unrealistic to expect a greater turnover.

Under-estimating your company's growth can cause a problem though. It's quite a good problem to have, but it's a problem nevertheless. You don't want to find yourself in the same position all over again just a few months down the line having reached maximum capacity and in need of yet another new location.

Related Article: 8 Entrepreneurs Share Their Most Innovative Office Designs

Do You Know Everything You Should About the Property?

There are many reasons you may choose to move into a particular office space. It might have the right aesthetic, a good location or ample size to accommodate for new staff members. However, there is often more to a commercial space than meets the eye.

For instance, it could be located on a site where there are environmentally hazardous materials if industrial or waste companies are located nearby, or there may be plans to build new roads close to the property which might affect your decision

A commercial conveyancer will be able to go through the proper channels to investigate all of the tiny details you might be unaware of, from ground stability problems to potential flood risks.

It may feel like an added expense you don't need (conveyancing can be more than a little costly, to put it lightly) however if they uncover a potential problem that might affect your property down the line it will have been worth it. Even if it is only a minor issue with the property, you could use it to negotiate for a better business lease.

Related Article: Going Global: Building an International Footprint as a SMB

Will the Office Be Suitable for Your Clients and Staff?

On the list of priorities related to your prospective new location, the people who work there should be very high up. It can be easy to forget this with the myriad of other things to consider.

However, an office is nothing without the staff to work in it. No matter how affordable, sizeable or well-equipped the commercial property is, you must ensure that your employees will be happy to move there.

Making sure your staff won't have the travel much further than they do now is a prime concern. In 2014, the UK's Office of National Statistics found that people traveling for an hour or more to get to work were more anxious and less satisfied than their colleagues.

Similarly, there may be people under your employ who work for you precisely because of your current location. It might be located near their child's school, for example, or they might have a membership to a local gym they attend after hours. They might not wish to come with you if you are moving further afield.

However, considering the needs of your staff is not simply about understanding their current satisfaction but predicting their future satisfaction as well. Many of your staff may have always, for example, wanted to work in a city center where they are near to nightlife, culture or cuisine.

Rather than lose them in a few months time, you could retain your employees for a lot longer by moving your offices there, rather than relocating to a suburban property.

The same goes for your customers. If clients regularly come to your business address for services, meetings, consultations, etc. then their needs should also be considered before you decide to move office. After all, you don't have custom without customers.

Moving to an area that is not convenient for them (for instance, one that is not reachable by public transport or is in the heart of a city center with no on-site parking) may cause you to lose their business. 

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