How to Choose Office Space in 2022
Now that remote work is commonplace, many companies are making adjustments to their office space to better accommodate their needs. With some employees working from home and others returning to the office, letting your existing lease expire and finding something better might be the right call.
If you don't know where to start or what to consider when looking for office space, you’re not alone. Let’s take a step-by-step look at how to choose office space.
Getting started: Prioritize the needs of your team.
Every team has different needs and priorities, so it’s important to determine what matters most to your team members.
Here are some key factors to consider:
- How many team members will work from the office vs. working from home (and will that change from day to day)?
- Will you need conference rooms, kitchens, or a waiting space for visiting clients?
- What kinds of features and amenities (free coffee, parking, outdoor space, fitness center, etc.) are most important to your team?
Before you set out on your workspace search, talk with your team or distribute an anonymous survey to figure out realistic non-negotiables. Establishing the pros and cons of your current workspace is a great place to start.
Set a budget: Keep profitability in mind.
As many employees continue working from home part time (or full time), companies have more variables to consider when it comes to budget. The number of team members in the office may fluctuate over time, and there’s no point in paying for space that won’t be utilized, so be sure to get an accurate picture of how much space you’ll need.
When setting a budget, be sure to account not only for monthly rent or membership fees but also any expenses related to…
- Internet and other IT setup
- Supplies (e.g. printer ink, coffee, snacks)
To reduce these expenses — and the stress of managing them — consider flexible office space, where all of the above is covered by the property management.
Get help from a broker.
Some people prefer to begin the search for office space on their own, so they can take their time and explore their options with less pressure. In most cases, however, it’s wise to have some professional guidance during the process of looking for a new workspace — especially once you’re ready to start touring spaces.
A commercial real estate broker can…
- Quickly come up with options based on your unique needs
- Leverage industry connections to find offices for rent (including those that would be difficult to find yourself)
- Set up walkthroughs, tours, and inspections
- Negotiate lease terms on your behalf to help you get the best deal
- Walk you through the complexities of lease agreements
- Give you valuable market insight
If you’re just beginning to think about a new office, then it makes sense to do some preliminary research on your own. But if you’re ready to get serious about exploring your options, it’s probably time to find a broker.
Find a great location.
It’s important to pick a location that is convenient for employees and clients. To make travel easier, consider proximity/access to major highways, public transportation, parking, and bike storage. If your team members fly for work frequently, you might also want to consider proximity to airports.
Also, keep in mind how well the neighborhood can meet needs that are not work related. Employees like being able to run errands or have fun after work without a long commute in between, so having shopping, gyms, restaurants, and entertainment nearby is a huge plus.
You’ll also want to choose a building class that aligns with your needs. Here’s a quick look at what each classification generally entails:
- Class AA – These are the best buildings on the market, and go above and beyond Class A space. If you’re looking for Class AA executive office space in Houston, Texas Tower is a great example.
- Class A – These are aesthetically pleasing, professionally-managed workspaces located at prime intersections within central business districts, and they offer extensive amenities. They may be slightly less contemporary-looking than Class AA buildings. 717 Texas, for example, is a Class A building.
- Class B – These spaces are also located within central business districts but at slightly less desirable locations. They’re likely to be slightly older and plainer-looking than Class A buildings, but still have high-quality furnishings and offer some amenities.
- Class C – Class C buildings are functional, but quite dated, and do not offer any amenities. This makes them the most low-cost option.
Think about layout and style.
If you’re looking to lease office space, the design might be more important than you’d think. 79% of office workers agree that a well-designed office would motivate them to accept a job, and factors like layout and lighting can even impact employee stress levels.
But what defines a “well-designed” office depends on the needs of the team in question. Here are some questions to ask yourself about your team’s work style, layout, and design preferences:
- Do they prefer to work alone at individual desks, or together in collaborative spaces?
- Do they prefer open floor plans, closed private offices, or access to both?
- How often do they need access to meeting rooms?
- What kind of style matches your company’s aesthetic and vibe?
To really get a feel for the style and design of a workspace, it’s best to take an in-person tour, though virtual tours are also an option.
Consider your lease term preferences.
To find a lease style that fits your needs, you’ll need to have a rough idea of where your business will be in six months, one year, three years, and so on.
For example, a long-term lease can give you stability for multiple years in one space, so it’s a great option for businesses that don’t expect much growth or change for the foreseeable future.
A flexible lease, on the other hand, offers more agility for companies that expect fluctuation and/or growth. With a flexible lease in executive office suites, you can scale up or down as needed, temporarily add more space for short-term projects, or even try out a space before you sign a longer-term lease.
Sign a lease you feel good about.
Before you make your final decision, make sure you have all the facts. Read through the lease carefully, ensure that you understand all of it, and negotiate if necessary.
The best workspace for your team will align with your needs regarding budget, location, amenities, layout, style, and timeline, so don’t rush the process — make sure you make the right decision for your business and your team members.