Planning an office relocation is a daunting task. There are so many different things to consider, from choosing the right space to minimising the disruption of the move. It is tempting to think about moving office only when you absolutely have to – when your lease expires, or your staff are rammed into your office like battery hens.
However, if you are staying in an office that no longer suits your needs, you are holding your company back. It’s important that you know the crucial warning signs that could indicate you need to move office. Even if it’s something that looks minor, if you can’t fix it with an office refurbishment, you should consider an office relocation.
At Zentura, we know how difficult it is to decide when to move office. That’s understandable. It’s a big investment and a significant change in the working lives of you and your staff. A new office has the potential to make your people and company much more productive. On the other hand, if you get it wrong, you could be wasting hundreds of thousands or even millions of pounds.
To help you decide if your office is no longer fit for purpose, we’ve compiled a list of the key reasons you may need to move office.
The first and most obvious reason you may need to move office is that your lease term is expiring in the next 12-24 months. Unsurprisingly, this is the reason for most office relocations. With the pandemic and the subsequent move to hybrid working, many companies have been relocating to a new office, or only extending their lease for a short period of time.
In the UK, the average lease term is around 6 years. Many companies find that after this length of lease, their needs have changed to the point that they need to move offices. this has decreased over the years, as the workspace needs of companies continue to change faster.
Even if you have no major problems with your office and are planning on renewing your lease, it’s a great opportunity to assess how your company’s office needs have changed since your last relocation, and if a new space would better suit your current and future needs.
Many issues with your workspace can be resolved by refurbishment. Overcrowding is one issue that can’t always be fixed by relocation. While many companies have 30-50% wasted real estate, you may have simply outgrown your space, or it may no longer suit how your people work.
Simply running out of desks isn’t the only sign you have outgrown your workspace. How crowded are your collaboration and breakout areas at different times of the day? How much has your staff count grown since you signed your last lease? Did you plan that level of growth into your office design then? If not, it’s likely you have outgrown your workspace, and the productivity of your staff will decrease as a result.
Over the last 25 years, the average office space per employee has fallen from nearly 200sq/ft to below 100 – in many cases just 80sq/ ft per person. In part, this is due to advances in space utilisation and open-plan office design. However, companies have been focusing on reducing employee costs without considering the impact on productivity. It’s important to remember that overcrowding will be hurting the performance of your people. This will impact you long before you see the obvious signs, such as running out of desks.
In the last 3 years, the location requirements for many companies have completely changed. No longer is a central London office the default position. Many staff have moved further away from rural areas, and the amount of remote employees has grown by over 165%. This means that London may no longer be the best place for your office. If most of your people have moved to similar locations, you should consider relocating offices there or setting up a satellite office.
The location of your office needs to be as convenient as possible for all your staff, clients, and visitors. Many companies prefer to have offices in a location popular with their industry – e.g., design companies in Clerkenwell. When choosing the location of your new office, consider the reputation of that area, and what it says about your company.
Another crucial part of the location is the ease of access. Convenient public transport or nearby free parking will make it far easier for your people to get to work. The commute is one of the key reasons many staff want to work from home, so making it as hassle-free as possible is important in encouraging your staff back to the office.
One reason for moving offices that companies often forget about is operational costs. These typically come to around 25% of annual rent. An office fit out is an opportunity to reassess all these costs and how to reduce them going forward.
Modern buildings tend to be much more efficient to run than older buildings, even those built in the last 20 years. Modern HVAC systems are up to 50% more efficient than systems from 10 or more years ago. This can create a 20% saving in your total office energy costs.
Many landlords also look to increase rental rates when extending leases, to account for the fact you don’t have to move. Looking at different locations enables you to find a space that matches your current needs at the best possible rates. Even if you decide to stay in your current space, this will improve your negotiating position.
Planning Your Office Relocation
Do you have any of these workspace challenges? If so, it’s certainly worth considering an office relocation. The time and logistics needed to move offices often put office managers and C-suite executives off. However, the investment of time and effort are well worth it when you consider the outcomes.
The key benefits of an office relocation are reduced office rent and running costs, improved talent attraction and retention, better productivity, and better wellbeing, all of which result in improved staff and company performance.
Are you starting to plan your office relocation? Download our relocation guide – a comprehensive list of everything you need to plan for during your project. This covers the 4 essential categories to plan for in an office refurbishment: technology, people, day-to-day operations, and the workspace.
Whether your lease is about to expire or you have outgrown your current space, or even need to downsize your office footprint, we can help you find the perfect workspace for your business. Office relocation needn't be a stressful project. By utilising our experience, we can make your transition to your new space as smooth as possible. Talk to a workspace expert today.