4. Choosing an Office Location:
Consider your staff and stakeholders:
The most important group of people who will be impacted by your move will be you and your staff, so when considering new locations it’s important to consider where you and your existing staff live and also where you will recruit your future staff from. Hold a town hall meeting with your employees where you present several possible locations for the move. You should discuss the pros and cons of each location and show the employees photographs of the spaces. Encourage employees to share their thoughts and perspectives around the potential locations. Also worth considering is the appearance of your new office space, while you may not be able to afford to deck your office out in the newest and greatest technology, a nice office environment can improve your employees happiness and morale. Ask your staff early on and get their opinion/feelings about your new space. Not only will this make them feel like they’re being considered they will also be more willing to help out and less stressed about the move.
A relocation can mean a change in business, it can both open and close opportunities for new channels of communication and employee engagement in shaping the future of the business. Another angle to consider this move from is that of your stakeholders as it will have a major impact on them. If you have stakeholders in your company, you should prepare a presentation for the stakeholders about the relocation. Show them pros and cons, as well as photographs, so they can then advise you on which location may be best for the business.
In some cases, you may be required to consult with your staff and your stakeholders about a possible move. You may also need to talk to unions, regulators, your parent company, your board members, and your department heads.
Location, location, location:
Transport links, parking, and proximity to shops/restaurants all need to be considered for the benefit of your staff and potentially your customers also. Although you cannot choose a new locale for your business by committee, it will make it infinitely less stressful to have staff at worst in favour and at best excited about the move. An employee’s commute time can be an important factor in both attracting and retaining staff. If you’re a retailer this is also an important factor to consider for your potential customers.
Space, how much do you really need?:
This is probably one of the most important questions that you need to ask yourself. It’s useful to start off by reviewing current occupancy levels in your existing location. Rule of thumb says 4.65 square metres should be the minimum amount of floor space allowed for each employee in any room (this includes the area occupied by their desk and chair but should exclude filing cabinets and other office furniture). This space calculation allows for communal areas such as conference rooms etc. Using this calculation will help you get an idea of how much space is needed in your new location, however do not forget to consider your company’s plan for growth within the period of your lease.
During a hectic move security can easily slip your mind or may not be of high priority to you, however it should be given consideration. How secure is your new chosen location? While some areas experience higher rates of crime than others you should still remain vigilant around the security of your office.
Think ahead of any potential security issues such as burglary or a natural disaster such as a fire or flood. While they are worthwhile investments, nearly any camera or other alarm input can be deactivated, and a single locking mechanism can be broken if used as a standalone safety measure. In these cases there is a human error factor that has to be accounted for in security breaches and information leaks.
Access control systems allow workplaces to find a simple solution to their safety needs. Access control also helps to protect valuable or sensitive assets and allows you to authenticate and authorise every cardholder and visitor who walks into your office. As an employer, this gives you the power to identify who needs access to what and when based on their role within the organisation. For example, you can control when certain employees can enter the building and who has access to assets like labs or server rooms.
Make an office layout plan based on your new location:
Once you have a timeline laid out for the move, you should sit down with your move team and team leaders within the staff to create a floor plan based on the new location. You should note where each department will be situated and consider the most practical and efficient way to do this.
For example if the IT department will require regular access to the servers, they should be located close to the server room for ease of access.
Or if your staff need to regularly communicate with each other an open office floor plan may be of more benefit instead of cubicles.