Being in the right office can have massive positive benefits for your business. Driving higher sales, having a more engaged and productive workforce, or optimising costs all positively impact on your bottom line. To help you decide whether your office fits the bill, answer these four questions:
1. Is my office optimally located?
Is your office optimally located to be close to your customers (e.g. retail or service providers), suppliers (e.g. manufacturing concerns), employees (e.g. call centers or other relevant stakeholders to your business?
“Location Location Location” is a well worn mantra in property circles, but when it comes to businesses a single location may be great for one business, but detrimental to another.
In this increasingly virtual world, location may seem less important, but ask yourself what is your primary business driver and then secure the best possible space as close to it as possible. This is why clothes retailers want to be in the best shopping centres, why logistics companies are located near airports, and why there is a shebeen in Saxonwold.
2. Is my office designed to meet my requirements?
Does your office design allow you and your employees to work in the most productive, efficient and effective way possible?
Depending on your business, your office could vary from the corner coffee shop with free wi-fi to a shared office environment, from a working lounge to a corporate skyscaper in the CBD. As your business evolves, so should your office space.
Similarly, the world of work is constantly changing and adapting your office to meet these changes could be the difference between success and failure. Office size and configuration of open plan, cellular, meeting, collaboration and quiet spaces impact on space efficiency and how your work is done. Less obvious design elements such as air quality, thermal control, lighting levels and external views can all play a major part in the productivity and effectiveness of your employees.
3. What impact does my office have on my brand?
Does your office align with your vision for your brand? Are you proud to show visitors around or do you prefer meeting with them in their office or at a local coffee shop/restaurant/hotel?
The offices of Google, Facebook and Apple are often referred to as great working environments, but how would you feel if your neurosurgeon made his appearance by sliding down a fireman’s pole, or if your commercial lawyers boardroom had an astroturf carpet with a Pac-Man machine in the corner?
Perception is everything – attorneys in large corporate skyscrapers are seen as the best and their hourly rates reflect this; the corner café is conveniently located and can charge higher prices for this convenience; and advertising agencies in funky offices may be perceived as more creative and attract more business.
Think about how you want your brand to be perceived to your clients, customers, employees and other stakeholders and then decide if your office aligns with this vision.
4. Am I paying the right amount for my office?
Are you in the best possible office that you can afford for this stage of your business?
It is important to note that the question isn’t “Am I paying too much for my office?” and the reason is that you may be paying too little. Being in a cheap, sub-standard office that does not deliver positive answers to the three earlier questions, may be holding your business back. You need to look at the overall bottom line impact of your office. What you save in rent may be offset by increased travel costs as you need to travel further to meet with clients, or increased insurance costs from being in a less desirable area, or increased utility or maintenance costs from being in a poorly conditioned building. Even worse, it could result in lower sales as customers choose to associate with one of your more conveniently located competitors.
This does not mean that you should not look to optimize your costs through installing LED lights, motion sensors, solar panels, energy efficient HVAC, grey water harvesting systems, or even sub-letting any excess space that you may have or reviewing your maintenance models.