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Find Office Space: Tips for SMEs

find office space

The concept of the office space has dramatically changed. As COVID-19 grips the world, home and work have become heavily entwined: the kitchen table has become our conference room; we spend hours in the study fielding Zoom calls and emails; we balance the kids’ school work with our actual work.

The changing environment means more people consider new office space

The pandemic has also resulted in “The Great Resignation”, with millions of workers around the world either leaving their jobs or switching careers. Employers, meanwhile, are helping to lead the way in “The Great Acceleration”. Innovation and entrepreneurship have also become dominant forces. This has led more people to consider finding office space. 

Although a physical office might not mean as much as it used to, you can still take the time to consider what kind of office space you would like to have in the future. It’s important to find office space that has a great atmosphere, and that inspires workers to be productive, attracts potential hires and can help boost your brand’s image.

But where do you start to find office space for rent? Will it be located in the city or the suburbs? Will you lease for the long term or short term? Are you open to shared offices or will you stick to private offices?

Finding office space can be an exhausting process. But as long as you do your research and carefully assess your options, your search is more likely to be successful.

Here are some tips on how to find office space for lease or office space for rent.

Know your priorities when finding office space

Make a list of your business’s daily needs and non-negotiable items – for example, an affordable lease, ample parking, plenty of natural light.

Carefully translate those needs into clear objectives before looking at office space. Think about what kind of environment will bring out employee potential and what kind of impression it will have on visitors.

Be specific about what type of office space you want: If your business relies heavily on collaboration, then meeting rooms might be required. If you value peace and quiet, focus on private offices.

Look at commercial properties online and in person (when COVID restrictions are eased). Ask employees what they like and dislike about their current office space.

Set a budget when you set out to find office space

Be flexible but realistic about what you can afford.

Consider other factors beyond rent and lease: utilities, fit-out expenses, internet and phone connection costs, relocation costs. Ensure there are no hidden fees when it comes to parking, maintenance and other additional charges.

Also take into account one-off set up costs for furniture, security and other equipment.

Consider the location

A poor location is always a dealbreaker when you rent or lease commercial properties. It should be accessible not just to employees, but also to customers and other visitors.

Be close to public transport, including trams, buses and the local train station, as well as schools, banks, restaurants and shops. High foot traffic and convenient parking are also a must, especially if you’re looking at ground floor office space for rent.

Assess the vibe in the area: What kind of neighbourhood is it? Will it mesh well with your brand’s personality?

Also consider how close you’ll be to partners and competitors: Stay within close proximity, but not too close so as to create more competition.

Design and layout considerations

The design and layout of your office space will have a major impact on your business’ image.

Consult an expert to help get the best out of your office space. A good workplace design should improve productivity and boost collaboration, but also save on costs. It should also help to attract new talent. Strike the right balance between visual appeal and functionality

Open-plan offices can help facilitate teamwork and innovation. A communal feel can also foster a sense of belonging among workers and can be great for brainstorming sessions. It can also keep down construction and equipment costs.

Private offices, on the other hand, are great for workplaces that require increased concentration. They can cut down on noise and eliminate distractions, giving workers a strong sense of security and increasing productivity.

A flexible workspace might also be ideal for small businesses that are just starting out, helping to reduce costs and keep employees connected even if they don’t work together in the same office.

Facilities available

What is it that your business needs in order to operate? How much are you willing to spend? Make a list of what you want vs. what you need. Determine whether office space is able to support any changes to infrastructure.

A fully-fitted or serviced office is furnished with just about everything a business could need, including basic IT support, meeting rooms, reception desk, state of the art technology and more. They also come with heating, ventilation, and telephone and Wi-Fi services. Some even have cafes and outdoor areas, as well as daycare services for working parents.

Gym and wellness facilities have also become commonplace in commercial real estate to reflect an active lifestyle. Some commercial spaces even have an end-of-trip facility, equipped with showers, lockers, change rooms and bike storage for those who like to exercise before work.

Work out your rental agreement

When trying to find office space for rent, you need to decide on a commercial rental agreement that best fits your business.

Most commercial rental agreements used to be conducted on a fixed yearly rate for five to 10 years, forcing businesses into a long-term commitment. But with the rise of start-ups over the past decade, along with co-working and serviced offices, businesses can now agree to flexible terms for a flat monthly rate.

Rather than leasing an entire space, you can rent only the space you need and opt out at any time. But be warned: rent increases are not written into flexible terms, so income could take a serious hit if you aren’t careful.

Financing your new office space

Having the right office space can deliver many benefits, including increased productivity. Many small businesses won’t have the cash on hand to cover the expenses to make the move. Unsecured business loans are one way to get the finance needed. Business loans from Moula are a fast and easy option for business growth initiatives. With Moula, an online application can be completed in less than 10 minutes. In addition, we use online banking or accounting data to make a lending decision within 24 hours. If you’re considering business finance, check out our business loan repayment calculator to get estimates of principal and interest repayments for small business loans.

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Business content for Australian SMEs. Sharing guides, growth hacks, and expert tips on finance, sales and marketing, and tech.

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