A Checklist for Choosing the Right New Office Space

You’ve come to the end of the lease in your current premises, or perhaps business expansion means you’ve outgrown your existing space and its time to move on. So the search has begun for a new office space.

You’ll look at a number of options as you hunt down the new premises that’s going to be right for your organisation. The location, character and feel of the place will all be important considerations that will be specific to your needs and organisational objectives.

There are a number of other factors to take into account as well. Work through this checklist for every new site you consider to be sure you know what you’re dealing with. This will tell you where extra costs may be involved, or where there are opportunities to make some savings, in both the short and long term:

  1. Common spaces – what’s your first impression, from the street (or carpark), of the building entrance and lobby areas? Are signage and any decorative features in good condition? What other businesses and organisations share the site and what’s the nature of their work? Ask any questions you need to resolve any concerns.
  2. Existing infrastructure – check existing air-conditioning, ventilation, lifts, network/data cabling etc. Is it all well maintained and in acceptable working order?
  3. Fire exits, security doors, bathrooms – establish the location and condition of all fixed access points and built-in facilities that you will need to work around. Again, are they well maintained and in acceptable working order?
  4. Useable space and layout – unusually shaped buildings give you less useable space to work with. Make sure you get an accurate floor plan and calculate whether you can fit everyone and everything into the space available. Will the space accommodate all your needs and allow for growth?
  5. Light and heat – how much natural light does the space get and how does this change over the day? You’ll need to balance too much or too little in different areas with artificial lighting, air-conditioning and heating so assess what you’re in for, and/or what savings might be possible.
  6. Fittings and fit-out – what fittings are in place already? How much work needs to be done to fit-out the new site to meet your needs and bring it up to the standard you require? What factors (e.g. lack of raised access flooring, difficult site access, heritage restrictions) could make the fit-out tricky (and potentially costly)?

When you’re at the point where you’re seriously considering a shortlist of two or three site options it makes sense to visit them with your fit-out partner and ask for their input. Their experience will mean they’ll almost certainly spot things you’ve missed. They’ll be able to help you get a clear idea of how each space could be used and the practical pros and cons of each.

No one wants to make a decision until they’ve got all the facts at their disposal. Work through this checklist, consult with your fit-out partner, and you’ll be well positioned to make your decision and confidently choose the new office space that is right for your business.

Bryan Palmer