No matter the reason for your move, looking for a new office can be a daunting task. Depending on the age of the buildings and type of architecture, you may be confronted with some unusual options. If you are working with a realtor or property manager, he or she may show you buildings ranging from a boring old edifice from the fifties with dusty, cramped cubicles to a decommissioned church cut into loft spaces to bright and airy refurbished warehouses. No matter what strikes your fancy, here are some considerations to keep in mind when hunting for the perfect new office.
Traffic and Work Flow Concerns
No matter what kind of business you run, there are definite traffic patterns among those who work there. In some offices, workers hunch at their computers and work until breaks and meal times before congregating in the lunch room or outside areas. In other environments, employees get up and down from their seats all day long to share documents or drawings, fetch needed supplies or get clarification from the supervisor about a task. Think carefully about those traffic patterns in your current office and how they would work in the potential space. Would your employees be forced to climb stairs or ride the elevator to see other departments with whom they work closely? Would everyone fit inside the break room at one time, if everyone eats together? Will some employees be forced to traverse the length of the building or disrupt others’ workspace to get to a restroom? While it may seem trifling, foot traffic and work flow patterns are integral to the efficiency of your business and need to be considered.
Acceptable Utility Loads and Outlets
In today’s high-tech world, most office spaces come standard with an enormous amount of electrical outlets, phone lines and Internet cable outlets. Take the time to ensure that there are sufficient outlets for all the necessary utilities. Using a power strip to plug in far too many electronics at once can cause a devastating fire. Having insufficient phone lines can lead to tripping hazards as phone cords run across the floor, or employees may begin to rely on cellphones that will need to be charged as well. If you are unsure, sketch a few diagrams to make sure you and your employees will have all of the utility outlets they will need.
Parking and Outside Area Availability
If you employ a lot of cigarette smokers, a non-smoking office building with no cover anywhere outside is not going to be popular. Additionally, the best office in the city is not going to work smoothly if your employees have nowhere to park or the parking available is expensive. If your employees like to eat outside in fair weather, they will likely want to continue doing so in the new office. Consider the entire property, not just the interior, before making a final decision.
The Neighboring Businesses
A daycare center that cares for infants is not going to do well right next to a loud, screeching machine shop. Depending on the nature of your business, you may be limited in where you should set up office space. While most loud or otherwise obnoxious businesses may be limited to industrial parks, it always pays to do some investigation. Be alert for foul smells that may emanate from beauty salons and allergens that may waft from floral shops. Consider the impact these unfortunate circumstances may have on your employees.
Searching for a new office space can be a challenge. By considering all of these issues ahead of time, you can avoid some nasty surprises after the big move.