Category Archives: Office Relocation

What to Consider Before You Lease Office Space

office space for leaseMaking a bad decision when it comes to choosing office space can have negative repercussions for any business, including loss of customers and a big impact on your bottom line. As many landlords prefer three to five year leases, it’s essential to know what you’re looking for before you lease office space and sign on the dotted line. Find the right office space, make the best decision for your company and start making money.

Use a Tenant Representative to Lease Office Space

Choosing the wrong broker, or not using one at all, can add up to a very expensive error. Tenant representation is essential, but you don’t want to rely on a broker with a conflict of interest, such as one who represents both the tenant and the landlord. Use one who strictly represents you as the tenant, which ensures that the broker remains true to their fiduciary duty. You wouldn’t use an attorney to represent bother parties, and the same holds true when signing an office lease.

As a business’s office space is usually one of its biggest expenses, having the right broker on your side can often help to reduce the company’s bottom line and also help protect its interests in a number of other ways.

Determining Priorities

Before signing an office lease, have you considered all of the short and long-term priorities of the business? Ideally, you should have an office space planner conduct a space program to determine your size needs including aspects like floor load capacity in order to support heavy equipment. Your tenant rep can help you with finding one and very often it will not cost you anything. Landlords provide this as an incentive to get you into their building. You may also want to find a space to lease within a larger complex that allows for future growth.

Understand Associated Costs

In addition to monthly rent, make sure you understand all costs involved, such as utility costs, common area maintenance fees, Internet and telephone installation costs and possible extra HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) costs for running your business after hours.

Both you and your broker should inspect all documents thoroughly as they are designed to benefit the landlord and make them money, not you.

Take Your Time

Not giving yourself enough time to make the decision and to go through the entire process of securing an office lease is one of the biggest mistakes office tenants make. You need time to explore the market with your tenant rep, tour facilities and interview landlords. Most tenants tend to significantly underestimate the time it takes to complete each stage, whether renewing, moving or starting fresh. Depending on your space needs and how complex your technology, the office leasing process may take 6 to 12 months or longer just to find and negotiate a deal.

Taking these considerations to heart will help you have a positive outcome when you lease office space.

Related: Top 15 mistakes Tenants make When They Lease Office Space

By: James Osgood
OfficeFinder

Office Relocation Planner Guide: Part 1 Overview

office relocation plannerEvery year, hundreds of thousands of businesses across the country relocate their offices to new space.  Many have grown too large for their current space, while some companies are down-sizing to smaller, more cost efficient offices.  Still other businesses may be relocating to a new geographic area offering lower operations costs.  Whatever your particular reason for making a change, moving a company requires a lot of thorough planning, open communication, and hard work.

One of the very few events that may be more stressful than a residential move is a corporate office relocation! Most people are totally unfamiliar with how to prepare for a corporate move and the process can be quite overwhelming to the inexperienced. Without proper planning, you may find yourself with a digital copier too large for its designated space, a phone system without enough telephone lines, or movers being paid to stand around and wait while employees pack up their belongings.

This Guide is designed to inform you of some of the most important issues related to office relocations, and to help you avoid costly mistakes during the process.

According to the International Facilities Management Association “Two-thirds of those responsible for their company’s relocations either lose their job or get demoted after the project.”

Start with a Comprehensive Moving Plan

The key to assuring success with any office relocation is planning everything down to the smallest detail. As part of the process of planning an office move you should first determine who will be on the relocation team and what you can handle in house and what might you need or want to outsource.

If you are considering hiring a relocation consultant to manage the move process only, you may be wasting your money.  Most reputable office moving companies will assign you a project manager to assist you with the process from beginning to end.  However if you need a consultant to help with space planning, furniture purchases, implementing new technology, etc., then a relocation consultant could be a valuable resource.

Factors to Consider When Planning an Office Relocation:

Technology Systems Planning – What is the current status of your high tech equipment? Since most companies renew their technology every 18 to 36 months, is this an opportunity to upgrade or expand your systems?

Asset Management Planning – Audit your existing assets. What’s worth moving in the area of technology and furnishings? What should be replaced or upgraded? Can you install what you’re moving in the new facility or are there obsolescence and incompatibility issues?

Space and Interior Design Planning – Whether you elect to handle the space planning or to use a consultant, building floor plans drawn to scale are very important.  Drawings that are reasonable facsimile representations of your space can be very misleading and create substantial problems on moving day.  Once you have the ‘big picture’ settled you can focus on special details for decorations, artwork, enhanced lighting and plants.

Space Requirements Analysis – For space planning purposes compile a roster of personnel and their anticipated space needs as well as a detailed inventory list of the minimal space requirements for all machinery and office equipment. Once you have your roster and equipment list compiled, you can easily determine your total minimum space requirements.

Business Requirements Analysis – Employees should be consulted for specific preferences and requirements.  Once all the information has been compiled, you will be prepared to complete a ‘needs analysis’ of business requirements and preferences.  Develop a ‘must-have’ priority list from your requirements list to help you identify which areas of your business need the most attention.  Also develop a timeline for your requirements list that includes the start date and the projected completion date for each item.

Part 2 of our Office Relocation Planner Guide will address the key factors in developing an Office Relocation Plan.

If you need some help, we’d be happy to help you Find Office Space.

By: James Osgood
OfficeFinder

Top 15 Mistakes Businesses Make When Leasing Office Space

Mistakes OopsAlmost every business of any size has a need for leasing office space. It is not an easy task and can take a lot of time. There are lots of challenges and room for mistakes along the way. Here are our top 15 Mistakes Businesses Make When Leasing Office Space. They come from OfficeFinder office tenant reps totaling hundreds of years of experience.

  1. Not allowing enough time for the leasing and negotiating process.
  2. Not adequately defining your needs before you start.
  3. Not getting the professional help you should.
  4. Accepting that the lease the landlord provides is “standard.”
  5. Accepting an inadequate tenant improvement allowance.
  6. Not having the proper base year for annual operating cost pass-throughs.
  7. Not verifying that you can get all of the services you need at the new location.
  8. Not having buy-in from all the major players within the company.
  9. Not negotiating enough flexibility in the lease.
  10. Incomplete understanding of the local market conditions in negotiations.
  11. Failing to thoroughly read and understand the rules and regulations attached to the lease.
  12. Not investigating enough competitive alternatives.
  13. Believing the listing agent has your best interest in mind.
  14. Over guaranteeing the lease by not capping you personal financial liability.
  15. Dragging your feet in a tight market and loosing the office space you wanted.

Certified OfficeFinder SpecialistOne sure way to avoid most of these mistakes is engage the services of a qualified office tenant representative. They will act as the hub of the wheel to ensure a smooth transaction and to make sure you avoid costly mistakes when leasing office space.

We have nearly 500 local office tenant reps in our OfficeFinder network who will personally assist you in meeting your office space needs. They are located in both small and large markets. Get connected now.

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Why Use a Broker to Find Your New Office Space?

Any business-minded individual is looking for ways they can save money on their operational costs. Why give a cut to a commercial real estate broker when you know what you want?  You think it will cost you money for their services. You are mistaken. An experienced broker will get you many times the value of their commission back to you with the value of your new space.

Transactional Experience

While a business owner may go through a number of real estate closings over the years, an experienced broker has gone through exponentially more. It is their day-to-day business. Even the simplest commercial office space transaction can be a logistical struggle. A transaction that gets you smoothly into your ideal space requires extensive experience and knowledge that few possess. You need a knowledgeable broker to get you through the negotiations.

The Power of Information

Even after months of research, it would be impossible for a business owner to know the ins-and-outs of all the property that could suit them. Where will your business thrive in your city? Do you need “green” or LEED certified space? Can a space allow you to keep up with modern trends of workplace efficiency? Can you negotiate the best rate for the best space? These are questions you need to ask. The right broker will have the right answers.

The Time Cost

What is your time worth? Are you better off working on your business or searching for the right office space? The office leasing process can be very time consuming. Not only do you need to find the space you are interested in occupying, but then you need to gain an understanding of the market and landlords to negotiate a good deal.

Building Business Connections and Relationships

Any broker worth his salt welcomes a well-informed client. Instead of running into a middleman, you’ve gained a valuable new business connection. A driven agent stays in touch with his clients to ensure that their transition into their new space is what they hoped for and will continue to be what they hoped for.

If you’re ever looking to expand your business or want to make a good move the next time you’re relocating, you already have a valuable ally in your corner. They will be ready and enthusiastic to work with you on getting the highest level of success for your business.

Certified OfficeFinder SpecialistWhen looking for office space, it can be tempting to go it alone, but considering the costs, it would be a mistake. Contact us to make a connection With a Certified OfficeFinder Specialist and reach success.

 

Congrats on the new office space! Now What?

Facebook is considering developing a $120 million, 394-unit housing complex in Menlo Park, California so employees can live nearby and walk to its offices, The Wall Street Journal reports. Of course, since it’s Facebook, no perk will be left forgotten. The rental property will feature doggy day care and a sports bar, among other necessities. The company will also be upgrading to a 100,000 square foot facility for its New York office.

Don’t worry about keeping up with Zuckerberg if you just opened your first office. Congratulations are in order whether your office is designed for one or one thousand employees. Now that you’ve moved in and popped the champagne, what’s next? How do you set up your new office for success and a little fun?

We’ll keep from overstating the obvious and assume you already know you probably need a desk, chair and some computers. But what about creative and efficient gear for your new work pad?

Keep it Flexible

Did we say you needed a desk? With laptops, smartphones and tablets, traditional desks are no longer a necessity. Get up and running with a few desks for team members who require more space and large set-ups. But leave plenty of room for flexibility. Design spaces where team members can curl up with a tablet while testing new apps and reading fan mail from your customers. Incorporate more couches, communal tables and over-sized workspaces designed for two.

Photo by lab604 via Flickr

Create communal and flexible space for spontaneous meetings. Giving your employees the opportunity to run into each other all day encourages dialogue and bursts of inspiration they can share on the spot. Keep the communal space comfortable and minimalistic with plenty of room to pace and think, relax or grab a tablet off a nearby table.

Make it Fun and Inspiring

Photo by andrewarchy via Flickr

Creative companies like Google are known for video games, Ping-Pong tables and game rooms. Dedicated space to blow off steam can help with company morale and give employees something fun to do during downtime. But interviewing new candidates over a hot game of ping-pong can also get them away from their prepared speeches. Games and competition also helps employees stay in the moment and gives you an idea of how they compete and interact with a team.

Go Green

Photo by joeyanne via Flickr

Incorporating green space can also boost your employees’ moods and give them a breath of fresh air in between meetings and deadlines. Consider office space with plenty of windows or hire an urban landscaper to help with a rooftop garden, patio or indoor greenhouse. Rumor has it Facebook’s new office will feature a mini-forest and full vegetable garden. Embrace all things green by creating a composting area at work and full recycling area for the eco-conscious company.

Bottoms Up

Photo by mrmatt via Flickr

Take casual Friday to a whole new level. Many creative companies like ShipWorks in St. Louis serve up free beer every Friday to its employees. Spontaneous Nerf ball wars are also prone to breakout at its office. Letting your employees indulge once in awhile sets a tone for togetherness and lets them know you appreciate their time. Letting employees relax and blow off steam keeps morale high and communication open.

If you’re not sure about letting your employees imbibe on the clock, think about other perks like catered lunch and free snacks, or bring in a masseuse to give chair massages once a week. There are plenty of ways to give your employees a perk or say thanks without resorting to employee of the month certificates to hang on their cubicle wall.

Put the Ease in Legalese

Now that your fabulous new decor and gadgets are strategically scattered throughout the office, think about what the government needs to see. Unfortunately, the United States Department of Labor might not care as much about your super cool new indoor garden. It will want to know about your workplace posters like job safety and health protection signage.

Just about every business is subject to labor law posters, but you can contact you may contact the U.S. Department of Labor at 1-866-4-USA-DOL to inquire. Next, pick up Intuit labor law posters available in English and Spanish. The site can also help with poster requirements for multiple business locations.

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Office Space: Details to Inspect Before Signing a New Lease

office space to rentAccording to the CoStar Group, companies are trending toward the renting of smaller office spaces and that the average space per employee has decreased from 250 square feet to 195 square feet. Office efficiency appears to be driving the downward space trend, so if you’re in the market for a new office space, make sure to thoroughly inspect the space before signing a lease to ensure it’s right for your business. Here are a few tips to keep in mind during your inspection.

Watch for Hidden Wording

You may be happy with a quick walk-through with the landlord, but there is a good reason to do a professional inspection on the space. The Small Business Administration reminds us that commercial leases can have different wording about maintenance and repair. Some could state that you are responsible for all repairs while others might specify the areas for which you are responsible. Make sure you don’t get hit with a large HVAC repair bill six months after you move into a space!

Look at the Big Picture

Northwest Building Inspections lists a number of building issues that could affect you and your business. Ask for a current building inspection report from the landlord, and if it’s not available, have someone come out and do an inspection of any areas that affect your office space.

  • Parking areas in need of major repair
  • Hand rails that are loose
  • Loose roofing directly over your office
  • Signs of leaks around windows
  • Signs of pest activity on or around the building
  • Storm water not draining off the property
  • Fire hazards such as flammable materials kept next to HVAC units
  • Fire alarms and extinguishers that are not functioning

A client could damage his car by hitting a pothole in the parking lot. Or they could slip and fall on crumbling concrete stairs with a loose hand rail. You could be liable for these potential dangers, so take the proper steps to ensure they aren’t an issue.

Inspect Your Office Space

After walking through a full building inspection, you will have an idea of what you’ll need to look for in your specific space. For instance, if termite activity was spotted in the wood entry way into the building, you’ll want to bring in a professional to check your space for the same pests. The California Department of Public Health lists a number of pests that could be present in your office for which you may need to call in a professional:

  • fruit flies – sugary foods and ripe fruit attract these insects
  • fungus gnats – these are drawn to over-watered plants
  • beetles and moths – attracted to snack foods such as nuts, crackers and chocolate
  • ants – may come inside during hot summers or wet winters
  • cockroaches – most live outside but they may come inside to find food
  • rats and mice – may come inside to nest and will chew on plastic, fabric and paper

Any sign of pests on the property requires hiring an exterminator to make sure they are eliminated before they cause more damage. Signs of termites or other wood-boring insects could mean expensive repairs down the road if ignored.

The Facilities Inspection

Pay special attention to all the building’s facilities that you’ll depend on each day such as:

  • lighting and electricity
  • heating and cooling (HVAC)
  • hot water systems
  • refrigeration
  • plumbing
  • any other appliances

Is the office space well lit? Do all of the electrical outlets work? Are there any faucet or toilet leaks? A thorough inspection of the space is needed so you’ll know what to negotiate in your lease. A nice looking space could be hiding a number of repairs that you don’t notice until after you’ve moved in.

Current Trends in Office Space Planning

So, you are out looking for new office space rental or maybe you are renegotiating your office lease and want to make sure your space is as productive as possible. Here are a few of the current trends in office space planning:

  • High panel cubicles are out. Benches or open work areas are in.
  • Headphones have become the new office walls.
  • Areas for collaboration and huddle areas are encouraging team work.
  • Break rooms are open and central to the work space and located along windows, becoming gathering places.
  • Office hoteling is creating Agile Workplaces that allows multiple employees to share workspaces on an as needed basis.
  • The use of 3rd party outsourced office space is on the rise.
  • Home officing, in conjunction with the Agile Workplace,  is creating happier and more productive employees.
  • Management is moving out of their offices and into the open area.
  • Internal offices and conference rooms are moving off the window line to the interior walls to allow the natural light from exterior windows to permeate the work space.
  • Stand up workstations are becoming more popular for some areas to increase productivity.

The result is that office space requirements per person are dropping from over 200 square feet per person down to as low as 100 square feet per person. A major shift is occurring in the workplace The concept of work is shifting from the workplace as pieces of real estate to the office workplace as a facilitating bundle of services. Work is no longer a place, but a productive activity. Productivity is becoming the measure over the number of hours worked. Many of these office space planning trends are a result of this shift.

Blog Archive Still Available

Just a reminder that all of our 431 previous posts are available on our old Office Space Blog site.

Choosing The Right Office Space For Your Organization

Choosing the right office space for your business or organization means more than just choosing a physical location.  If you have customers visiting your property, then you want to make a good impression.  Depending on your organization’s identity, you might need to appear trendy, modern, or traditional, and your physical location can help customers decide if you are the right place for them to take their business or not.  When choosing commercial real estate, the following tips are a few considerations that can help you find the location that is just right for you and your company.

  1. As mentioned previously, appearances are very important.  Take a very close look at the property, standing in the parking lot, or on the sidewalk in front of the building.  If the building looks dingy and dirty to you, it will probably look that way to your customers as well.  Make sure the location is somewhere that you would visit as a customer.
  2. Consider accessibility and convenience.  Many customers will simply not visit your location if it is difficult for them to park, maneuver a wheelchair through, or find the elevator or stairs.  While some inexpensive improvements may be feasible and advantageous, you do not want to invest more money into making your building accessible than you spend on the property itself.  Make sure the elevators and stairs are in good condition, ensure that the location is handicap accessible, and consider the ease of entering and exiting the parking garage or lot for your customers.
  3. Check with the local City Hall to ensure that the property is zoned for your business.  If you have an unusual business, rezoning can take months or even years, and is a costly process that requires legal consultation and assistance.  Checking out the zoning ordinances for the property before you sign the contract is always the easiest way to avoid headaches and extra cost.
  4. Consult an expert.   The perfect office space can be competitive and hard to find, so consulting an expert is your best bet.  An experienced tenant rep can help you locate inspectors, engineers, architects, or anyone else that you may need to get your business off and running.

For more information on choosing the right location and property, contact us today.

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By: James Osgood