Make the most of your usable space and work areas
In the UK, office space is high cost. Business rates, lighting, heating, and VAT; not to mention employment costs all add up. However, the highest yearly expense for most companies is the rental of professional business space. The costs have gone through the roof! Many businesses grapple to keep up with the monthly fees that landlords want and in many cases, the lease terms are lengthy and draconian. Any break from these tough contracts can be a fate worse than business death!
Is it any revelation that the commercial outlook of the country is changing?
Small businesses are being pushed to the limits. There comes a situation where something has to give. Any self-respecting aspirational employer never wants to lose invaluable staff; not to mention have to deal with the emotion of putting another person on the pavement. If costs can be recovered elsewhere and a business can survive, a business owner will in most cases explore these avenues. If not, this could be an unwise and a hasty mistake.
Companies can outgrow their surroundings too fast
It never fails to amaze me how many companies claim they have outgrown their commercial space. Yet the number of staff on their team has changed very little. The long and short of it is they have simply gathered more junk such as paperwork, documentation, equipment, hardware, furniture. In all cases, they’re items that are not required on site or are simply collecting dust.
So why would you consider ending a business lease in favour of signing on the dotted line for a new, lengthier and most likely more expensive lease to store this rubbish elsewhere? It’s a story I hear all too often.
If these companies consulted with a commercial interior designer to refit their existing office, they could gain 10-20% more space simply through smart use of space and creative ways of maximising what they have.
So here’s ten thoughts you should consider which should convince you that your next investment should be a getting a brand new office interior installed and not jumping ship:
Most offices I visit have clutter everywhere. Box files, paperwork, unused or outdated desks, chairs and general items that get in the way. It feels like you are literally tripping up every time you try to go from one end of a room to the other. The first thing you need to work out is does all this stuff really need to be on site? If not, trash it or find a low cost secure storage solution to take these non-essential items off site. If they do need to stay on site, consider improving your storage systems. Every good interior designer knows how to create space that you never knew you had.
2) Business Interruption
Any business owner knows just how hard it is to go through a relocation. It’s not just the physical aspect of moving office; it’s the investment involved, the days when you cannot operate as normal, moving phone lines, internet connections. There’s also the inconvenience to your team. Does this change their daily commute? Moving office has to be the last option when you consider these issues.
3) Client Relations
Many customers like the fact that they know where their supplier is based. Moving a few miles may not seem like much, but it could cost you a few high turnover clients who you’ve suddenly inconvenienced. So the irony is you believe you just saved the business money and increased your space by moving when in fact, you just cost yourself a bigger price. Client relationships can be a very flimsy at times. Don’t put them at risk unless a move is absolutely vital.
4) Risk vs Reward
Before moving office, have you drawn up a list of pros vs cons? I’ll take a punt and say you haven’t. Sometimes, packing up everything in boxes and moving seems like the easiest logical solution but in many cases, it isn’t. There’s a large cost expense to consider when moving. I’ve already discussed business interruption however what about the expense of packing up items, moving and reinstalling essential equipment? You’ll be shocked how much you take the existing systems you have in place for granted. I can recall so many examples where a business moved and setting up their infrastructure proved very hard. A lack of knowledge, documentation and records led to basic networks, servers, computers, equipment and phone systems all failing to work as expected. It is a downer when nothing works and this costs a lot of money to fix!
5) New Purchase Costs
Have you considered that your existing furniture systems may not work in your new proposed office? In most cases, offices evolve with a business and furniture is purchased to fit the dimensions of that area. So why assume this furniture will simply slot into its new home, look right and do a better job? In most cases it rarely does. OK, so it may fit into a larger floor space but can it outperform itself? No way. Furniture doesn’t expand in size just because it sits in a bigger room. Here’s the recommendation. Sometimes, the room isn’t the problem. It’s your storage cabinets and it’s inevitable, that when you change office, you will also have to purchase new furniture and shelving to suit. Yet more spending!
6) New Landlords, New Dangers
You have an existing relationship with your current landlords and know exactly what to expect from them and the level of cooperation they’ll give when there’s issues or events to discuss. Will you receive that from your new landlord? When moving to new locations, you have no inclination if there’s longstanding maintenance needed or if a problem is just around the corner. Will you get your problems resolved fast if they do arise? This is a risk that may not be worth avoiding.
7) Location Matters
Is the new location of the proposed moved in the ideal place? Does it put you in the middle of high traffic, high business areas of does this put you into the backwaters? Many businesses take the risk of going to a more rural location in exchange for lower rates and larger square footage. What this can end up doing is having a business that is so far removed and detached from the commercial centres that your customers start to feel that way about you as a business. Remember, image is important!
8) Travel Plans
Does driving to the new offices cause you or your staff greater issues? If so, does this mean that previously dedicated staff who arrived on the dot may suddenly become an issue due to traffic, length of commutes, costs and issues getting to work. Moving a long distance away from your current location may be the dumbest move you ever made.
9) Energise Staff
A new look office that involves the cooperation of your staff can help reenergise and enthuse your team. A new office can have the opposite effect as it feels like a pull having to move away from familiar, convenient and established surroundings. By understanding your team alongside a commercial interior designer, you are assisting to evolve the business and give your staff a feeling of importance, recognition and input. It’s a great way to use a trying situation as a great opportunity to galvanise the team around you.
10) Redesign Costs
Overall you’ll be amazed to learn that a complete refit of an existing office is usually far less interruption and more importantly, far less cost to a business than moving altogether. Moving takes a huge effort and big pockets. And whilst a complete office remodel is no breeze either, it’s still a great deal easier than taking an entire office and moving it several hundred yards away.
Professional office interior designers know how to seek out space where you thought it never existed. They think in three dimensions and can imagine where invisible space can suddenly become usable space. If square footage is minimal, there are ingenious ways to make a room multifunctional with adaptable, moveable partitions made from glass, frameworks and modular systems.
A large meeting room can become a group of small consultation rooms just by installing wall dividers. Shelving can always go upwards as well as sideways. Desks can be multifunctional and still look chic, stylish and contemporary.
So before you decide its time to say goodbye to your current surroundings, think again. The time, costs, hassle and interruption may not be worth it in the end.