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Do You Need to Move Office? Maybe Not

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

Reasons For Relocation


If you’re starting to plan an office relocation, you’ve probably got a few nagging thoughts: is this worth it? Is it worth the time? The effort? The cost? Do we actually need to move office? These are questions we are often asked by prospective clients. In many cases, our answer is no.


In 2022, 590 companies moved office in central London – the highest number in 5 years. However, many of those office relocations were unnecessary. Many companies relocate when they don’t need to because they don’t have the real estate strategy and planning structure in place to make an educated decision.


Moving office is a huge investment of time, effort and money. You need to be sure is the right thing to do before you begin. In most cases, an office refurbishment will be the best option – providing the necessary benefits with lower costs and disruption. Of course, there are many situations where office relocation is necessary – when you have a major issue with your space that can't be solved by refurbishment, or a new location is essential for company growth.


In this article, we’ll explain 6 popular reasons companies want to relocate their office. These reasons, while common, don’t necessarily mean you need to move office. We’ll explain why, and help you understand when these reasons do and don’t mean you need to move office. By the end, you’ll know if your plan to relocate office is right, or if you should consider an office refurbishment instead.


When You Think You Need to Move Office

1) Your Office Is Overcrowded

A common reason companies think they need to move office is that they no longer have enough space. However, this doesn’t always mean that you need to move office. Most companies have 30-40% more office space than they need.


While certain areas of your office may be overcrowded, it's possible that others are under-used, or inefficiently laid out. Many companies have more desks than they need. If you are hybrid working, then your people don’t need their own desks. Another common inefficiency is too much space devoted to executive offices that aren’t often used. By removing these and making your layout more efficient, you may be able to avoid office relocation. Alternatively, you could lease more space within your existing building.


However, if your layout is efficient and your office is still crowded, you may need to move to a larger office. Crowded offices are noisy distracting spaces. They reduce staff productivity and job satisfaction, so it's crucial your people have enough space. You should also consider your growth plans over the next 5-10 years, and how much office space you will need to support that.


2) The Office is Under-Used

With the rise of hybrid working, many offices are not fully used most of the time. If your people are reluctant to return to the office and are working from home as much as possible, you may be thinking about moving to a smaller office. But before you do that, you may want to try encouraging your staff back to the office – if it’s right for your company.


Getting your staff back to the office can have major benefits for your company. Among other things, it can improve staff productivity, team communication, staff development, and talent attraction & retention. To learn more about how to attract your staff back to the office, read this article.


However, if you're happy with the performance of your remote staff, attracting them back to the office may be unnecessary. Relocation to a smaller, more cost-effective workspace makes sense. However, don’t rush into this, as this decision will have a major long-term impact on your real estate and HR strategies.


3) Your Lease is Expiring

The most common reasons companies consider moving office is that they have a lease expiry or break coming up. While this is a good opportunity to review your workspace, it doesn’t always mean that you have to move. Your landlord will likely be open to renewing or renegotiating your existing lease, so this option should be considered.


If you are otherwise happy with the performance of your office then there is no need for you to relocate. The extra time, effort and cost of moving office is not necessary. If you aren’t completely happy with the design, then you could refurbish it.


If you are struggling with your office for any of the other reasons outlined in this article, then relocating your office may well be worth it. However, there is no benefit to moving office for the sake of it.


4) Your Lease Costs are Too High

If your leasing costs have increased during your lease, or your landlord is demanding an increase in lease payments, you might want to relocate to avoid this. However, leasing a new office won’t always be any cheaper than renewing your existing lease.


You will need to consider the office fit out costs. Relocating your office comes with higher fit out costs than refurbishing your office. Before committing to an office relocation, you need to consider the costs of relocation against any potential savings.


If your landlord is demanding a huge rent increase or is being difficult to negotiate with, then relocation may be a viable option. The costs of moving office will be offset by the savings in ongoing costs. Bear in mind, though, that the cost increase would likely have to be by 10% or more to justify the investment required. As a result, relocation is rarely the best option from a financial perspective. Other factors are important and need to be considered in connection with cost.


5) The Design is Outdated

Another common reason we hear when we ask a company why they want to move is that the design is outdated. Again, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to relocate. If the space hasn’t been updated for a few years, this is no reason to relocate in and of itself. On the other hand, if the space no longer matches your culture, it will be lowering your staff engagment and culture alignment. This is a major problem that may require a relocation to resolve.


As with every potential reason to relocate, you should first consider if the issue can be solved by refurbishment. In almost every situation, a refurbishment will be able to bring the design up to date and standard, without the extra time, cost, effort and disruption of moving office.


However, if your design is very outdated and off-brand, then it may be necessary to move. A relocation in this situation can be beneficial, as it gives you a blank canvas. You can create the perfect workspace for your company and people. It also provides a fresh start for your staff, which could help to reset your culture.


6) Your Office is in the Wrong Location

If many of your staff have moved to a different area over the last few years, or you have recruited heavily from another demographic, then you may want to relocate to make the location more convenient for your staff. Another area may be becoming popular in your industry, or the infrastructure situation may have changed. Given this, you may want to move office.


Location is not a problem that can be resolved by refurbishment. You have to either cope with the situation as it is or relocate. That being said, location is rarely a good enough reason to move office by itself. Your location would have to be very inconvenient to justify the investment required.


On the other hand, if the location of your office is a key reason you are struggling to attract staff back to the office, then a relocation may be worth considering. The location is often a contributing factor, and it’s certainly worth reviewing if you are relocating for any other reason. To learn more, read How to Choose Your London Office Location.


Do You Need to Move Office?

Moving office can be an exciting project. It’s an opportunity to completely rethink where and how your people work. You can create a space that maximises the performance of your people by optimising productivity, enabling collaboration, and maximising engagement. It can even help drive your company forward by giving space for growth and improving team performance.


However, moving office is not an easy project. It requires a major investment of time, effort and money to make it a success. You can't afford to move office without being absolutely sure it's the right thing to do.


When deciding whether you need to move office or not, you first need to define exactly what is wrong with your office at the moment – why you need to move office, and how moving office will fix your current workspace challenges. You’re now able to decide if you actually need to move office, or if a refurbishment is a better option. To learn more about making this decision, read Office Relocation vs Office Refurbishment – Which is Best For Me?


If you do need to move office, the next step will be to start a thorough planning process. To help you do that, download The Ultimate Guide to Office Relocation. It’s a comprehensive guide that will help you understand everything that goes into an office relocation, what it costs, and how long it will take. If you’re still unsure whether you need to move office or not, read 4 Signs You Need To Move Office.

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