With so many amazing offices on the market, it’s easy to get seduced by a stunning entrance or the free barista coffee. At the end of the day though, if you don’t get the fundamentals right, your office move can have some disastrous impacts on your business. And it doesn’t get more fundamental than location. So here’s a little guide to help you think about this in the right way.
Let’s start with why location is so important. The Office of National Statistics says that for every 10 minutes of additional commute time an employee faces, the likelihood of them leaving their current job increases by roughly 5%. In real terms, this means that if you employ 20 people and you get the location wrong, you’re likely to lose one valuable member of staff.
But it’s not just about staff. For a lot of companies, proximity to clients plays a significant factor in deciding where to locate yourself. Too far away and either your clients won’t come to you, or you’ll end up having to spend hours every week travelling back and forth to see them. Sure, we’re all used to Zoom now, but for those all important meetings nothing replaces that good old fashion face to face.
So how do you pick the right location for you?
It starts with where your employees are travelling from. If you know this you can find out how long it takes for them to get in. This will be your benchmark. You can compare these times to commute times of any proposed new location. The aim: avoid any additional travel times for your staff. If you can do this, it will serve you well. But even if you can’t, simply knowing your staff’s commute times is handy. It will allow you to see where the risk of losing someone because of your relocation is greatest and potentially compensate them accordingly. We’ve created this handy little spreadsheet that provides a useful template to gather all this data.
Alright, so you know where your staff are but what about your client base and future prospects? Where are they located? Do you think being near them would help your business? Can you be near them while still keeping commute times down? The pandemic has shown that working from home can really work, but it’s also shown us the value of physical connection. Having the ability to easily take clients out for drinks, to attend networking events and to do sales meetings off the cuff can really help your business thrive, so it’s undoubtedly something to think about. We’d encourage you to speak to your sales teams or have a discussion between yourselves to understand whether there is any benefit in factoring in proximity to clients in your decisions.
The third thing to consider is the locale. For some companies a prestigious location with great local amenities like bars, restaurants and shops is an absolute must. If this is the case, then be prepared to pay a premium for this. If you’re happy to forego this luxury though, we’d recommend moving away from popular areas and seeing whether deals are to be found out of the hotspots. You can use our map functionality to easily move around and see how prices vary from one location to another.
Finally if you can’t find a suitable location that works for your staff and your business, maybe you need to think about a different approach. Flexible office providers are perfectly placed to provide multi-location solutions and many companies are exploring what’s known as a hub and spoke model to achieve this. This model is where a company has a (small) central office, focussed on collaboration and team events, along with several satellite offices much more geared towards offering people places to work from on a day to day basis. If this sounds like something for you, we’d encourage you to talk to some of the larger providers such as WeWork and The Office Group, whose network of offices might be able to offer you an appropriate solution.
There are of course cases where location isn’t the most important thing. If you have a tight budget but still require a decent amount of space, it is likely that you will either have to compromise on location or on the quality of the office itself. Whether you feel this is true for you or not, we’d still encourage you to spend some time on understanding the impact of a location change on your employees and your business before settling somewhere. So, why not play around with our search and see how things vary from place to place.