To move or not to move? All businesses are faced with the relocation question at some point. Maybe there’s a need for more space, maybe your existing premises just don’t suit you any more, maybe the building is being closed, or it might be a combination of factors.
As with moving house, moving your business can be stressful, but it doesn’t need to be. Preparation is key, along with making sure you’re armed with the knowledge you need to make the best decisions. Of course, as property consultants we’re bound to say this, it really does pay off to engage professional help early on, to keep focused on what you do. Your move can be a springboard, a chance to shape your business.
“Where to?” is the most obvious first question. Only you really know what you need from a location. The size of business you are should play a part. If it’s a relatively small team, do you want to be swamped in a huge multi-let building, even if it’s prestigious? Is it important that you’re all on the same floor? Do you have people driving out to a lot of meetings, making parking and car access more important, or do most of your team use the train or tram?
Do you have people in late at night, meaning security is yet more of a consideration? What sort of amenities are you after? Do you want to be near to, or even in the same building, as companies you collaborate with? Does old or new suit you? And what are you looking to pay?
Any good adviser won’t come in and tell you where to locate. Look for somebody who will listen, and take an interest in getting to know your business and what it needs – alarm bells should ring if you feel you’re being forced into a certain direction.
Across the UK, there’s something there for everyone. Space might be available that most people don’t know about, while increasingly, landlords are prepared to be flexible.
Moving to a new workspace is a huge opportunity, a chance to step back and look at our business and brand and ask “how can our workspace reflect what we are, and help take things to the next level?” Every business works in different ways, and the logistics of setting up shouldn’t be taken lightly. Which departments need to be near each other? Who needs greater isolation? What technology do you need to accommodate?
How much desk space do you need, and how many meeting spaces or rooms? What do you want it to look like, and how do you accommodate eating and drinking? What about guest and event space? Are you thinking about considering a longer term option and buying a property?
Flexibility is big right now, but that in itself doesn’t tell you much other than you need to consider how you future-proof things so that you can adapt as you go, without ripping everything up and starting again.
There are loads of things to think about adding in to make things run more smoothly: chargeable surfaces, offering the twin benefits of not having wires everywhere, and people not yelling because they need the team iPad for a presentation and it’s 15% charged. Biophilic design, proven to help with health and wellbeing. Open spaces – with well designed sound-muffling features, you can keep noise to a minimum and light to a maximum.
An often overlooked area of a move is exit strategy, and it can cost a business. In the rush to relocate, an orderly exit from your existing space is key. Even if your relationship with a previous landlord has been good, his advisers are likely to be ruthless in seeking every penny possible in their dilapidations claim.
As a tenant, your obligation is to leave the property essentially as you found it. Superficially this means making good on the wear and tear any building goes through: painting, any minor repairs, removing fittings you’ve added and so on.
Even with all that done, you’re still likely to face a claim, and it’s not a battle you should enter alone. Awareness of the market and experience of dealing with claims is what you’re looking for: for example a building’s owner is planning to convert it to a hotel, their claim that the space will be unlettable as office space is easily dismissed.
It’s an area you need to cover. Relocation should be a positive experience, a chance to declare who you are and what you’re about, so the fewer distractions and liabilities there are, the better.
For more information, visit: obiproperty.co.uk