When a new office is on the cards to adapt to a growing business, a period of chaos and uncertainty ensues. For entrepreneurs and veteran business leaders, cutting through the noise and coming up with a transition plan aligned with present and future business scope is of primordial importance. Yet sometimes, even the planning stage can riddle the minds of the organizer with doubt.
Lease or Buy?
Starting with the question of whether to lease or buy helps to mark the route and streamline your transitional strategy. Leasing has a lot to offer in terms of increased flexibility, the option to move again when the business outgrows its new office space, and on the flip side, an easier get-out compared to buying if things don’t go as planned.
For many businesses, from start-ups to rooted, secure companies, leasing allows us to test-run a workspace and make additional design changes so landlords can offer exactly what their client is looking for. Some teams need more collaborative spaces, and others require individualized areas for focus work. Leasing, as opposed to buying, is securing the office market recovery in the post-pandemic era, as more and more companies choose to tread more carefully insofar as investing is concerned.
Once the options are narrowed down, finding the right office can still be a headache. There are so many factors to consider for the big move. The design doesn’t need to be one of them, as landlords go above and beyond to offer well-designed offices for post-pandemic needs. Regarding logistics, the stress of searching for the perfect office can be alleviated with the help of a good leasing agent, so do your research and find somebody reputable who knows the real estate market well. But as you know, finding the right office is just the tip of the iceberg.
Operations, infrastructure, and people-management are other ingredients of a hiccup-free move to new pastures. Any issues are likely to be short-term. AEI Spaces has created the roadmap for you to make a smooth transition when moving your team members to a new working environment.
- Research First
The commercial real estate market for 2022 is particularly favorable for occupiers. With so much choice, overwhelm can set in blurring rationale and leading you to focus purely on good value for money, but your research should go deeper. Think about your answers to the following list of questions to avoid making rash decisions:
> Does this office add to my employees’ commute time considerably?
> Will this location affect our customers’ buying habits?
> Does this office offer suitable space for the growth we are experiencing?
> Does this office have collaborative spaces, or do we need to redesign it?
> Can this office meet the unique needs of our line of business?
> Does the building meet ESG guidelines, or will we need to modify it in any way, such as making the office accessible for people with disabilities?
> How will this lease affect the company’s cash flow?
For many of these points, your realtor will be on hand to help you with your queries, but it is also a good idea to talk with your team and your customers: make them part of the decision-making process.
Flex your Excel skills and open a new spreadsheet. Mark out a series of dates for the different stages of the moving process. Allow extra time between the packing stage and the big day itself, between arrival and any remodeling that needs to be done, and finally, a settling-in period with lowered expectations on productivity. Reserve an extra budget for remodeling, and expect the unexpected.
You also must consider how you will maintain your operations during the moving period. Notify customers of potential delays in delivering goods and services and disruptions to supply chains to avoid putting extra pressure on your team members. A good business leader can foresee potential problems and sets up an anticipatory contingency plan. Give your business a wide margin to help everybody and everything adapt.
- Timing is everything
Allow generous timeslots for the completion of each stage. This generally relieves pressure on everybody involved, from juniors to C-Suite, and boosts team morale when they see that they are working ahead of schedule — a great way to inaugurate the new office and set the bar for long-lasting, positive company culture and augment the employee experience, which is preeminent to continued business growth.
Being realistic about timeframes with providers, stakeholders, suppliers, customers, and your team is key to protecting the various working relationships and ensuring that the move doesn’t hinder these. There is no need to be overly ambitious with promises of next-day delivery. Set an accomplishable timeline and communicate it to everybody involved; the more notice, the better.
- Flexibility is key
For Type A personalities, just the word flexible can sound daunting. This is why it is preferable to have a group of decision-makers involved. One or more teams responsible for a smooth transition can adapt the schedule and accommodate unforeseen circumstances in real-time.
Another facet of flexibility is how easy it is to change the design of the office to suit potential tenants. Depending on the nature of the business and their ways of working, the office environment can be adapted to cater to teams that work collaboratively and, contrastingly, teams that require more individualized, focused work.
Finally, delegate. Strategic partnerships with external contractors, such as a leasing agent, should help to lessen some of the load. Within the organization, whether a small business or a large enterprise, form a team of decision-makers and pass on some of the responsibility for each stage of the move, withholding the temptation to micro-manage and make unnecessary interventions. Empower your team and make the transition a more agile process.
Space To Grow
Moving to a new office can create anxiety for business leaders and their team members. Mitigating some of this stress can be done with a solid plan involving meticulous research, sufficient planning, flexibility, and spreading the responsibility of the move across some team players with the business’s best interests at heart.
With these steps, the transition to a new office space can start a wonderful new chapter on your company timeline. By eliminating stressors, the move can be enjoyed as an exciting and promising new era for business, allowing space for it to grow, both literally and figuratively.