Thousands of businesses across the country have some sort of office transition each year. In some cases, it’s because they have grown too large for their current spaces, or maybe it’s because they are downsizing to smaller, more cost-efficient real estate. It could also be a strategic move to be closer to a prospective talent pool for new hires. Whatever the reason, transitioning a workplace requires a lot of thorough planning, open communication and hard work.
According to the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA) “Two-thirds of those responsible for their company’s relocations either lose their job or get demoted after the project.”
Let’s address the most important issues related to office transitions — and to help prevent your organization from making potentially costly mistakes.
The question is, “Where do you start?” Before your organization decides to relocate, upgrade or downsize its existing office space, it’s important to ask the following five questions:
- What is our reason for moving?
- Who is responsible for coordinating the move?
- What is our overall budget?
- What is the time frame for the office transition?
- Will we be expanding in the future?
These preliminary questions will help kickoff the project in an organized fashion, while placing someone in charge of the decision making. From there, it’s time to address the logistics of the space. Consider the following:
- What size office do we require?
- What length of the lease term?
- What is our preferred location?
- What type of building are we looking for?
- What facilities and amenities will we need?
Work With People You Can Trust
When considering an office transition, there in an enormous benefit to working with people you trust to get the job done. It helps manage the process more effectively if you have a team of pros to do the heavy lifting, so you can focus on running a successful business. Find individuals who are well versed in industry best practices, who will help save you from making critical mistakes.
Tenant Rep Office Broker: This person or team will help you navigate the real estate waters, managing everything from site selection to lease negotiations. They will streamline the search process by screening locations based on your budget and preferences. Once they have narrowed down a list, your broker will coordinate a tour of potential buildings and then negotiate the proposals to determine the lease terms. Tenant Rep brokers are compensated by the landlord, so it’s an expense that doesn’t come straight out of your pocket – and since they will be familiar with recent real estate comps and standard lease concessions, your deal terms will be much more advantageous with their assistance.
Architect/Designer: A commercial interior designer, architect or furniture vendor will help make the design process seamless. They will design a floor plan that considers current employees, future employees, private offices, conference rooms and more. Working with someone for the space planning process will ensure that you plan for the future of your business.
Furniture Dealer: When relocating offices or starting a business, new furniture can absolutely impact the look and feel of the space, not to mention employee comfort. Working in conjunction with your designer, a furniture vendor will find the right solutions for your budget and make sure that the materials you need are delivered on time – and within budget.
Relocation Company: When it’s time to pull the trigger on an office relocation, businesses should utilize the help of professionals who know how to navigate the ins and outs of furniture deconstruction and reconstruction to make sure that the whole move is successful.
Real Estate Attorney: The lease negotiation process requires the time and attention of a legal professional who can guarantee that all terms are appropriately addressed and considered.
Engineer/General Contractor: In the event that the new space needs to be reconfigured with new walls, plumbing, electricity and more, bringing in a professional who will fairly assess the project is critical.
Site Selection Tips
When planning an office transition, one of the first steps of the process is thinking about where you are going to go. Site selection can be just as fun as it is tedious, which is why it’s important to add a little strategy to the process.
Most business owners would prefer to retain their employees after a transition, so factor them into choosing a location. Think about demographics, such as where the majority of employees commute from and if the transition will be more or less convenient for them each day. In addition, your location can expose you to a new and bigger talent pool, so think about what kind of employees you want and what is most important to them.
- Public Transportation
- Proximity to customers
- Ease of Access
- Area Amenities
- Nearby talent pool
Each commercial building comes equipped with its own set of amenities. Part of the site selection process is to prioritize which amenities are most important, and which are going to add value to the lease.
- Exercise facilities
- Reliable Management Company
- Updated building systems, like HVAC, IT components and electrical equipment
- Green/sustainable elements
Carefully reviewing and evaluating your businesses corporate culture will steer the space planning and design process. After consulting with your employees, a space planner will add all of the factors into a floor plan to start figuring out the final layout of the space from a drywall and layout perspective. This can also help your business make important decisions pertaining to branding and aesthetics.
Things to consider:
- Natural light
- Paint color
By now, you have a general idea as to how you want to layout the space, such as ratio of open space to private offices and other general components. But your new space might not work with your existing furniture, which means it’s time to evaluate the furniture market. Furnishing your office doesn’t have to break the bank either. A blended solution that combines new, used and refurbished furniture can hit the sweet spot of aesthetics, functionality and price point.
Here are some examples of different styles of furniture and layouts that may be incorporated into your workspace:
- Open Offices
- Conference Rooms
- Breakout Spaces
- Private Meeting Rooms
- Hoteling Space
The Moving Day – Things To Remember When Relocating Your Office
Most people dread moving day, but for an office transition, most of the heavy lifting will be done well in advance. Here are some things to help make the office transition run smoothly.
First, promote a member of your management team to serve as the single point of contact for coordinating the move. They will work with the pros to keep track of the details, and to keep the project on track. Plus, most reputable office moving companies will assign you a project manager to assist you with the process from beginning to end.
Licensed and insured movers will efficiently break down all of your existing workstations and put them back together in the new location. Ideally, your team of professionals has thought ahead to accommodate the technological and electrical requirements of each employee’s work setup.
Other services to consider:
Asset Disposition: Asset Disposition is the removal of all non-affixed trade assets, including office furniture, technology equipment, machinery and industrial racking. Any equipment that isn’t being moved to the next location will be reused or recycled.
Space Restoration: Many landlords require that tenants restore the space to its original or broom-swept condition. This could include patching walls, repainting, replacing any damaged materials, and removing carpeting and IT cabling.
Download our our free Office Transition Checklist for the top 10 tips to make sure your office transition goes smoothly.
Nathan Greenhalgh is the marketing director for Rightsize Facility, a nationwide office interiors and facility services firm helping corporate clients in transition. Learn more about what Rightsize does at rightsizefacility.com. Are you a member of the commercial real estate community? Learn more about how Rightsize can help you streamline and accelerate the tenant transition process.
This article was brought to you by RightSize Facility.