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November 3, 2021

12 Things to Consider When Looking for Office Space in 2022

In recent years, companies have put a lot of time and effort into looking for ways to accommodate their employees’ evolving relationship with the office. Now thanks to the pandemic, finding that balance is imperative to balancing employee expectations, connecting with leading talent, and powering retention for long-term growth. 

Surveys show that employees and employers tend to have different ideas about how the role of the office has changed. However, there’s something of a consensus that says the physical spaces where we work will change, and that businesses need to make adjustments accordingly.

The emerging culture of remote work and hybrid offices is tough enough to adapt to, but what if your office lease is coming to an end? Decisions about where to move, how much of an office footprint you need, and how long you want to sign on for will color your decision. How do you make sure you’re set for now — and well-positioned for the future? 

Things to consider when looking for an office space

Finding the right office is kind of a big deal for the future of your business, especially for small to midsize companies that are growing into enterprise status. 

When shopping around for a new space, first sit down and consider all the things you liked and didn’t like about your last office. What would you change if you could? Well, now’s your chance. 

So what exactly should be on your mind as you’re doing research? The most important things to consider when looking for an office space include: 

  • Workspace flexibility
  • Lease length
  • Square footage
  • Location
  • Amenities
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • “Future-proofing”
  • Meeting rooms
  • Parking
  • Reputation
  • Community

Each element will matter to your company to some degree or another. Let's explore each in depth. 

Workspace flexibility — Employees increasingly request hybrid work models that give them the ability to work from both home and the office. This is leading many companies to opt for non-traditional, flexible office solutions that free them from long-term leases, strict limitations, and high overhead investment. 

Lease length — Until recently, the standard commercial lease locked a business into a space for five to ten years. 

Now, more flexible, short-term leases are becoming the norm in many commercial buildings. With concerns about pandemic-related changes to office use and changing employee tastes, this approach to scaling a space up and down to meet demand only makes sense. 

Square footage — Even with the kind of flexibility available at a building like the Square, you still want to know just how much space you need for your team. A part of that is figuring how dense you want your office to be. Will your teams thrive in an open floor plan space where collaboration is fast and easy or do you rely on sales teams and customer care departments that thrive with more privacy? These factors will impact your physical footprint. 

Location — Long, difficult commutes can impact a person’s energy levels, mood, and retention. An office space that costs less in a far-flung location may actually cost you more in the long run due to turnover and hiring challenges. Finding a location that is conveniently located for the bulk of your team (and in an area that suits their tastes and preferences) is an underrepresented workplace perk. 

Amenities — No small percentage of the workforce has spent the better part of two years working from home. The office experience is no longer a necessity for them, and the office space itself should come with a kind of draw to make commuting worthwhile. Does the building offer amenities? If so, are they the popular amenities that attract leading talent

Atmosphere — First impressions are valuable, whether it's an important client meeting or an interview with a talented new executive prospect. The building your business is housed in can impact how your business partners, employees, and future team members feel about the company.

Neighborhood — A first impression is often rooted in the surrounding neighborhood. Does the building and its surroundings feel safe to outsiders? Just as important, are there local businesses that provide things your team will need outside of work: Places to eat, coffee shops, grocery stores, gyms, banks, and so on? Is it walkable? Is it a desirable location?

“Future-proofing” — Whether you’re there for a short time or a long time you want to know that the space will work for you and your team now and in the future. Is the building infrastructure built to support you with the latest tech and a network that can avoid awkward interruptions, dropped calls, or frozen videos?

Meeting rooms — Finding a suitable space to host a meeting can be a big headache. You will want a space that will provide enough private meeting rooms for your team to handle client meetings, ideation sessions, and even informal social events. 

Parking — And then there’s the ever-important question of parking. Many office buildings don’t have enough parking spaces for their full workforce. Others don’t have enough (or any) space set aside for visitors, including important clients. Buildings that charge for parking have an added consideration: Is parking affordable for daily use? Can you access free parking for guests?

Reputation — The building you buy into comes with prestige that can improve your reputation. Ad agencies spend a lot of money for a Madison Avenue address (and it’s not because of the architecture or the easy subway access).

Of course, the relationship you have with a building supervisor or landlord has everyday considerations that are equally important. Do you trust your landlords to take care of your needs and keep the building in top condition? 

Reputable landlords and property managers like Hines will ensure you and your team feel comfortable and will take care of any issues that arise.

Community — Does the space provide community? If that’s important to you, a coworking or flexible office space may be best for you versus more insular traditional workspaces.

Conclusion

There’s a lot to keep in mind when looking for flexible office spaces, but hopefully, this list can help you sort out what’s important to you and your team.

See what the future of office leasing looks like firsthand. Book an in-person or virtual tour of the Square today.