Guest post from Michael Staskiewicz, check out his blog here.
Recently we explored how an office relocation can positively impact your business. If the pros outweigh the cons and the decision is to move, a successful planning phase is critical to ensure the important items are identified well in advance.
An office relocation means a massive movement from one area to another, which can present logistical challenges. But well before the physical move takes place, consider the following important issues before you set off on the path of no return. The strategic planning phase allows you to uncover all the key issues and impact how the rest of your move progresses. Once you get your relocation project timeline in place and sequenced, then it's smooth sailing.
Here are a handful of things you want to consider when planning your office relocation.
1. Understand Your Current Lease Clauses
Certain items in a commercial lease are standard more often than not, but the details of these clauses can cause some serious problems if you’re unaware of what they entail. Some of these clauses may affect your relocation and it’s important to carefully review your lease for provisions relating to Restoration and Holdover, and of course Renewal, as these options maintain your leverage. It is not as typical, but if you have a Termination option, be sure to know exactly when the Notice Dates take place. Navigating these clauses requires you to be familiar with what your lease states as it relates to relocating before the lease expires.
2. Space for Future Growth
We’ve seen the length of leases get shorter over the past decade as companies want to maximize their flexibility. However, lease terms are not for a single year or even two years. It’s usually for a five-year stint or more. During this time, the business will probably require space for expansion. In addition to securing the actual option to expand, be sure to understand the current and future availability within the building or corporate campus for the expansion to take place. If the building or ownership may not be able to accommodate your future growth, it is vital to understand this during the negotiation phase. When dealing with an entrepreneurial, “deal making” landlord, usually a creative solution can be made that benefits all parties.
3. Use of Space
How are you planning to design your new space? A well-thought-out layout and space plan can increase productivity. An office that has dedicated spaces for socialization, collaboration and education alongside individual workspaces, promotes balance and maximizes an individual’s effectiveness, while never sacrificing the collective.
4. Keep Your Budget in Mind
As with a residential move, commercial relocation can quickly get out of hand when it comes to expenses. During the preliminary financial analysis, be sure to adequately budget all the ancillary items to get an all-in number. This usually includes furniture, fixtures, equipment, voice/data, security, moving expense, office supplies, etc. You may want to consider the expense to engage an expert to manage the project as their fee may be offset by reducing and managing the items listed above, in addition to saving your team a ton of time.
Considering what a building and area offers is always an active, popular discussion amongst key financial decision makers of a company. The most successful real estate investors and operators understand how important amenities are to growing businesses. Landlords that invest in their buildings (the systems, finishes, and features) and acquire assets with superior accessibility (near mass transportation, restaurants and shopping) are enjoying the most success.
Although it is slightly subjective, use a building’s class to compare the options. Commercial buildings are most often defined by Class A, B, or C. Here are BOMA and Costar’s building class definitions. Costar has moved to adopt a star rating in the effort to eliminate the subjective nature of these definitions but we’re not seeing a wide adoption of this rating yet.
Communication is Key
As with anything that requires interaction of people on a large scale, office relocation needs your disparate staff members to be on the same page. Effective communication and expert project management makes the move itself easier which reduces downtime and saves money. No office relocation is simple and there are challenges to address but proper planning, management and execution limits the stress associated with a corporate move. Of course these tips don’t eliminate the pain, but hopefully they will help you streamline your relocation process and get you to back to growing your business.
If you have any more questions about office relocation, check out our blog at Effective Workplace. We have extensive experience in advising companies as they evaluate their occupancy situation in greater detail. We can help develop and execute a customized strategy to relocate your office that quickly results in you and your company enjoying the benefits that come from the move.
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