As with everything in the business world, taking on another office requires planning, decision-making and simply preparing for the unexpected. Having just opened a new office in London, with plans for more regional offices in the coming months, I’ve compiled the five things you should be prepared for if you’re gearing up to open a new office.
(1) Plan for expansion
If you’re taking on the challenge of opening a new office, business expansion is likely already well underway. However, you should be prepared for further growth, and ensure that your new office space is prepared for this. Our new office in London is a rented space which we share with other businesses; while the debate over whether you should rent or buy is complicated (and a subject we’ll cover later), it does mean that you can upgrade to a larger office as your team grows.
Your new space should comfortably accommodate your current workforce, however, before committing to any particular workplace, you should be sure that your business growth is still on course. Take the time to sit down with your staff and decide who will be working in the new office; will you hire a new team to work there, will some of your staff relocate or are you planning on a combination of both?
(2) Should you buy or rent?
When the time comes to open up a new work space, the biggest decision will be whether you should buy or whether you should rent. Unfortunately, there’s no correct answer; it simply comes down to what your business needs. While buying is the more costly option, it often comes with more freedom; instead of paying rent every month, you’ll be investing in an asset. You may even find that owning your own office, and the control that this gives you over your finances, means that your investment return increases.
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Furthermore, you’ll have the option to tailor the layout to your business and you’ll be able to redecorate as and when you please! However, if your business is growing rapidly, renting your new office space may well be the best option; the last thing you want is to invest in a new office and outgrow it straight away.
(3) Location, location, location
Location is key when setting up a new office, and there are multiple factors which should be considered. Primarily, your new location should be fully accessible; are there nearby transport links and is there sufficient parking for staff who? Furthermore, using local talent pools to source staff for your new office can be beneficial, so it’s important to be aware of the local resource available when choosing your location.
Though entirely dependent on the nature of the business, it may transpire that there are locations which will naturally work better; for example a finance business relocating to London makes sense – in this industry, being based in the capital is advantageous.
(4) How much space do you need?
While your priority should be finding a new office which can easily accommodate your existing staff, it’s important to consider any other space you may need. If you are likely to have clients or visitors coming to visit or for meetings, is there room for them to do so comfortably? It’s also important to consider how much you’re planning to expand this new team; is your new work space big enough to bring in new employees without personal space being compromised?
There’s no avoiding the fact that a smaller space will often be cheaper, however, you should ensure that you’re leaving enough room for your team to grow and that you’re not compromising on any essentials.
(5) Who will manage your new office?
Once you’ve decided on all of the above, and you’ve (hopefully) secured yourself an office space, your next decision should be to decide who will run it. Ultimately, you have three options; you can run your new office yourself, you could relocate a trusted member of staff, or you could employ someone new. When opening our office in London, I decided to bring someone external on board, and I currently split my time as needed between our new office and our HQ.
Again, there is no correct answer when deciding how your new office space will run; you can only do what is right for your business. Having a hardworking, trustworthy team of staff is crucial, as you’ll likely find yourself taking a step back from business to deal with your new office; whatever option you choose, you should be prepared to hand over some of the responsibility.
Ultimately, opening up a new office can be stressful and difficult to manage, however, by looking at the big picture and planning ahead you should find yourself more prepared to navigate the process.
No matter what industry you work in, productivity is key to meet business goals. That’s why a creative workplace can play a big part in the success of an operation.
Lee Biggins is founder and managing director of CV-Library.
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