Before your company even starts looking for new office space, the first step is to look inwards. For your move to be successful and for you to find space that will meet your needs long into the future, spending some time to take stock of what is and what isn't working is a step that you cannot skip.
While every company's process for introspection is different, we have identified the most important questions that you should ask yourself before starting to identify and tour spaces. To start with, we'll cover key questions about the nature of the people that will be working in your space, and we'll continue with more in future installments of this series.
1. How does your workforce feel about your current space?
To understand where you need to go, start by understanding where you currently sit. Take the time to ask your employees this big picture question about your office space and see what comes out. Perhaps you don't really need to move. If you learn that you do need to move, this question can give you a better sense of what to look for in a new space.
2. How does your workforce spend its time? How does your typical worker's day break down between meeting time, casual work (like email), socializing time and high-concentration work?
In all of the discussion about new styles of offices, the most vasic function of office space tends to get lost: it's a place for people to work. By understanding the type of work that you need to have done, you can better identify what types of spaces you need and how to best configure them.
3. Who is your workforce? What are their ages? What are their working styles? Do they want private space, open space, seated space, standing space, treadmill desks, assigned space or hot desked space?
In addition to understanding what type of work gets done in your space, understand who is doing it. While a baby boomer might need a private office or a high walled cube to do focus work, a millennial might be happier doing it at a open workstation with a pair of headphones. Health conscious workers might be happier at a standing desk while comfort-oriented team members would prefer traditional seated space. Understanding who needs and wants what helps you to both design and size your new office space.
4. Where do your people spend most of the day working -- in the office or off site?
Given the fluidity of modern workforces, this question is crucial. If you don't have a lot of people in the office at any time, you can probably make do with less office space and less occupancy cost.
5. How is your headcount going to change over the life of the lease for your new space?
Finally, sit down with your business strategy team, your human resources team, or both and figure out how your headcount is going to shift over time. After all, the office space lease you sign today will be with you for years. It's important to ensure that the space you take on will serve your needs into the future.
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