If you have been running your business from home, you may feel content and comfortable in your home office environment. What may not feel comfortable is the feeling of an overcrowded workspace bordering on inefficiency and an inability to focus.
While outgrowing your home office is a positive sign, you now have the task of finding a new office, which is a challenge. While looking at offices, remember to keep in mind other essential facets of the process, such as utilities, security, and updating your insurance policy.
Reasons to Relocate
Of course, outgrowing your space is a good reason to transition from your home office to a larger area. However, it is not the only reason.
- Local Planning Laws – If you are happy with your home office situation but would like more space to add a few employees, check with your local council. Many people find out that there are limits on the number of employees in a residential area.
- Isolation – Not everyone is content to spend their workday alone at home. Many believed nothing could be better than answering emails while sipping tea and munching cookies. However, the work-from-home movement necessitated by the pandemic revealed that some people thrive on being with coworkers.
- Interruptions – The videos of small children and pets interrupting Zoom meetings are cute when happening to someone else. However, interruptions are a significant source of stress and diminished productivity for those running a business from home. Additionally, the parent working from home is automatically tagged for childcare and errands in two-parent households. This can lead to resentment as the workload does not diminish, but expectations grow.
The Pros and Cons of Relocating
- Increased space to make work more organised and efficient
- Elevated appearance of professionalism – “Why don’t you have an office?” “When will you get a real job?” “It must be nice to sit home and play on your computer all day.” Many people who work from home hear these and similar remarks regularly. Never mind the fact that some of the world’s most prominent companies came from garages and basements. Some will only see you as legit if you have a commute to the CBD.
- You will have privacy – In an office setting, kids, neighbours, and your spouse cannot randomly burst in unannounced and take up your time. Imagine a meeting with no kittens, small children, or television noise.
- Overhead Costs – Even if you find the best price on the perfect space, you will have to pay for it and insure it.
- Daily Commute – The days of commuting by walking down the hall in your comfortable slippers are over. Finding a suitable office close to home is possible, so your commute is minimal.
- Furnishings and Equipment – You will need to create functional spaces for you and your employees. If you have an office kitchen, you will need to set that up with necessary appliances, dishes, silverware, mugs, and cleaning supplies. Additionally, you will have the equipment to purchase and maintain.
Finding the Right Space
Once you weigh the pros and cons and decide to relocate to office space, you have a big job ahead of you. Preparing for and looking for an office is a lot of work.
Before you start visiting locations, take stock of what matters to you about your office space. Then prioritise the important things. Things to consider,
- Location – Would you prefer a quiet street off the beaten path, a bustling shopping centre, or a high rise in the CBD? Additionally, which suburbs appeal to you or do you prefer the city?
- Surroundings – What amenities would you like nearby? Public transportation routes are essential to some but being near trendy coffee houses matters to others. Do you want to be near your child’s school or spouse’s office?
- Aesthetics – You may imagine your office in a sunny loft or maybe a conventional office filled with cubicles.
- Shared Space or Your Own – Sharing office space is a growing trend, and many people think it is the ideal situation. Your rent is less, you can share a conference room, but you are not isolated. Some people prefer to have their space all to themselves.
Filling in the Details
As your mental picture of what you want and need in an office becomes clear, you will need to decide on more concrete details.
- How Much Space – The suggested amount of space in an office is 10 to 12sqm per person if you want to have an open floor plan. You may want a bit more space if you anticipate adding employees.
- How Much Rent – Rents can be tricky because prices will vary in certain areas, but a low price is not the defining factor in choosing the office space.
Examine the area and the building. If you can see other tenants ask a little about the landlord, like does he address needs and concerns promptly or does he have special regulations regarding the use of the building? Check for local crime statistics, so you do not get unpleasant surprises. As the old saying goes, “You get what you pay for.”
As you determine how much you can afford, be sure to find out if you are quoted a price in gross or net rent.
- A Gross Lease is operating costs on the property are included in the rental charged rather than charged as a separate amount.
- A Net Lease is the opposite of a gross lease; there will be additional charges for operating costs in addition to your rent.
- Searching – Now, you should have a better picture of what you want and the approximate location. Your budget should be clear as well. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to finding a great office. Finding properties that match your list of needs and wants is usually simpler if you work with an agent.
- Finalising – Once you locate the office you want, your agent and the property owner’s solicitor will negotiate the terms of your lease, and you will sign the contracts once an agreement takes place.
- Insurance Coverage – You may have business insurance, but you should get your insurance expert to review your policy in light of your new circumstance. It is nearly certain that your business insurance needs will be different now that you have an office with new equipment.
If you are unsure about your insurance, please get in touch with us at Grace Insurance. Our insurance experts can help sort out the cover you need to protect your business and give you peace of mind.