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Selecting The Right Office Space – Design Matters, But So Does Practicality

November 15, 2017


office space

Designing a modern office space that meets employees’ work needs is an important part of enhancing productivity, and it also affects their attitudes. In a 2006 study of 2,000 American office workers, Gensler, a leading collaborative design firm, found that 88 percent of workers said the quality of their work environment was crucial to overall satisfaction.

Furthermore, 9 out of 10 cited office design as having a direct impact on productivity. Tasteful brand identification and comfort actively increase employee satisfaction while also contributing to their sense of community.

It’s no secret that open concept design is all the rage in office space, thanks to the impact of collaboratively-minded millennials. However, companies find that communal space doesn’t always appeal to everyone. In fact, a 2016 article in Harvard Business Review went so far as to call the collaborative trend “too much of a good thing” because it impacts some employees’ ability to focus on quiet projects.

Flexibility in office design and space allocation has emerged as a more lasting and important trend. Flexibility means giving each member of a team the opportunity to choose a space or change a space according to personal needs or the quirks of a particular project.

Andy Bugg, Head of Workplace Consultancy at Knight Frank notes, We are seeing firms take a long term view on investment in their office space in order to meet the expectations of the newest generation of employees.  More and more, the perception of the office as a business expense is shifting as firms see the value in leveraging office space as a tool to inspire and energize their staff.

An office space is not only a physical platform for your day-to-day operations, but also a direct reflection of your brand image and work culture. Consider the following factors when selecting an office space.

  • Location

Before settling for an office, closely scrutinize the location of your office and weigh its pros and cons. As a business, you may want to opt-in for a CBD (central business district) space or a commercial property in a retail park, depending on your business needs. First and foremost, look into how accessible is your potential office space for clients and employees. Make sure there are ample local modes of transportation available. Depending on the day-to-day needs and nature of your business, you must choose the most suitable premises for your employees, clients and suppliers.

It is also important to look at the location in terms of the facilities and services available in the vicinity. Having an office space replete with facilities of QSRs, cafeterias, parking, comedy cafes, etc certainly becomes a plus for your potential employees.

  • Price

The biggest challenge with finding an office space is to strike a balance between location and price. A location of your choice may not be easy to fit in your budget, while the ones that do fit may not be easily accessible.

For example, selecting an office space in or near a suburban area will have the advantages of being cost effective, but the suppliers will face inconvenience while delivering and employees might find it difficult to travel. Additionally, with the ever increasing traffic woes, employees may have to spend a lot of unproductive time on roads. On the other hand, selecting an office space in the heart of the city can be very convenient but expensive.

  • Infrastructure

More than a collection of cubicles, your office reflects your brand identity. Renting or buying an office space will account for a large share of your capital investment, so it is imperative that the infrastructure and interiors are impressive.

The infrastructural design of the office building should resonate with your brand. Lately, there has been an increasing demand of open spaces and common working spaces amongst organizations.

Apart from design and layout, the infrastructure also includes functional necessities like Internet, power supply, water supply, telecommunication services, etc. Make sure all these amenities are in place.

  • Capacity

Lastly, it is also very important to measure the capacity of the office before signing on the dotted lines. Be sure that there is enough room for your immediate business needs as well as for the future.

Calculate the estimated space required in advance. Studies observe that the minimum average space required per employee is 70 sq.ft. Multiply this with the total number of employees and add additional area for meeting/private rooms and recreational spaces. This would give you an estimated sense of space required.  Cramped office dampens productivity, so don’t skimp on floor space.

Also keep in mind the growth opportunities and the expected space requirements in the future, especially when opting for traditional leasing model.  If you are totally uncertain about the growth, try to negotiate a shorter lease term or add language to the lease that gives you the first right of negotiation on any adjacent space that becomes vacant.

Keep in mind that a number of factors — particularly price, availability and variety of spaces on the market — will vary depending on the location in which you’re searching. However, no matter the location, you’ll want to start planning at least three-to-four months before you’re ready to make a move.

Finding the right office is no small task, and you should plan on allotting plenty of time and resources to find the best space for your business.

About the Author

Chris Falk SIOR, CCIM

Chris Falk is a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM)—one of the most comprehensive commercial real estate designations, held by an estimated 6% of commercial brokers nationally. As a commercial real estate broker, Chris has handled over 600 transactions exceeding $475MM. Born and raised in Utah, Chris understands the unique qualities of the region and the great capacity for business opportunities in Northern Utah, including Davis, Weber and Salt Lake Counties. Chris is the premier, go-to agent for businesses and developers interested in this dynamic area.