Office relocation: four steps to follow to help you make the right choice
Moving offices is a big step for a company. There are so many different things to take into account when choosing the building that will house your workspaces. We have put together a checklist to guide your decisions and help you find the building that meets all your company’s requirements.
Are you looking to relocate your company office? This is a sensitive stage in your company’s development. To make this move a success, there are several important aspects to take into account. Although budget and timeline might seem like the most important aspects, there are a whole host of other factors to consider when choosing your future workplace.
It is crucial to identify your company’s requirements to make sure you choose the best possible building for your workstations. This audit of your requirements is the foundation of a successful company relocation.
To help you see clearly, we have created a four-step checklist to make your office move a success.
The logistics and administration involved in moving to a new office
These are the first things you need to consider when choosing a new location for your office. For this, you need to analyse your employees’ habits. “We run workshops on different topics to understand employees’ commuting habits: where they live, the transport they use, and so on,” explains Christine Rillaerts, a Buroconcept manager. “Then we look at strategic issues. Is it important for the company to stay in Brussels? Or do they want to move to a different region for tax or administrative reasons? Easy access to an airport is also important for logistics companies with international operations.”
Finally, you also need to think about the type of building you want. Do you want to move to a shared building with other companies or a private building that your company will have to itself?
Step one on this checklist narrows down the options, which will help you choose the buildings that will be the best fit for your company.
The workspace and the square footage you need
Space is the next point to consider. You need to work out how many square feet the company will need to accommodate the different workspaces and the accompanying logistics.
The increase in hybrid working (link to the hybrid working article) has profoundly changed how we work and makes it increasingly difficult to determine how much space you need. It has completely changed employees’ habits. In stark contrast to the traditional concept of work where an employee stays at their desk for the entire day, employees now move between several workplaces in that time including open-plan spaces, meeting rooms and their home office. This change must be taken into consideration when calculating the amount of space the different teams need.
It is important to look at the bigger picture and work out what space you will need for meeting rooms, desks, open-plan spaces, areas for exchanging ideas, and so on.
Once you have worked this out, you then need to consider the space itself. One of the key questions is the location of the partition walls that will separate the different workspaces within the building. This can change a project dramatically.
“The location of partition walls should depend on the building’s windows,” explains Christine Rillaerts. Let’s consider a building in which the smallest office has to be 2.4 metres wide due to the placement of the windows. Then compare that with a different building in which partition walls can only be put up every 1.8 metres due to the window placement. That is too narrow for someone to work in, which means that each office would have to be 3.6 metres wide. Over the entire side of the building, that’s a huge difference. How you configure your building’s layout has a significant impact on the success of your office relocation.”
Functional requirements for your company’s office relocation
The third item on the checklist for a successful office relocation relates to your functional requirements.
After looking at the bigger picture in the “space” step, now we need to take a much closer look at this workspace project. Let’s start by looking at light. A desk can only be a pleasant place to work if it benefits from natural light. Once again, the layout you choose will affect the amount of space you need significantly. “It is best to place desks within six metres of a window,” explains Christine Rillaerts. “By opting for an open-plan space, you can seat lots of employees within this area. If you place desks in individual offices instead, you will greatly reduce this number.” Beyond this six-metre area, spaces will be lit by borrowed light. This is where meeting rooms or logistics spaces should go. How many you choose will depend on your company’s requirements.
Looking at another example, if a building has a lot of columns, it will not be possible to create large meeting rooms. This will also affect how workspaces are laid out and where furniture can be placed.
This is why you need to work out your exact requirements to be able to assess whether a particular building is right for your company.
The technical aspects of your relocation
Step four on the checklist. Your office move is taking shape but there are now some constraints to take into account. These include ventilation, soundproofing, heating and lighting. There are a lot of technical aspects to consider.
You should keep in mind the age of the building. Old buildings used for offices do not comply with the same standards as modern office buildings, for example in relation to ventilation, heating, air conditioning and lighting.
Office buildings housed considerably fewer employees twenty years ago. This is because most people had their own offices at that point. Our modern open-plan offices enable more employees to work in one space. As a result, in technical terms, older buildings are not always adapted to the modern office. For example, there is sometimes not enough light or ventilation. This is a reality you will need to think about if you are considering an older building. There are also often additional costs to pay before you can move in.
Noise pollution should also be considered in this technical step. There are two aspects to noise pollution: sound absorption and sound transmission. Sound transmission is the way sounds are transmitted from one room to another, while absorption concerns resonance in rooms. Absorption varies hugely depending on the building materials used. Sound levels throughout the space may rise if meeting rooms and rooms designated for taking calls have insufficient soundproofing.
Environmental considerations and energy efficiency should also be taken into account when choosing the right building. Insulation has a huge effect on your financial calculations in terms of expenditure. The same goes for systems and devices that reduce your energy bills at the end of the month. For example, you will get real energy savings if the building has movement sensors installed to control the lights.
Including budget and timeline in the checklist
This comprehensive checklist will give you clarity for your property search. By clearly identifying your needs and working with an experienced office relocation company such as Buroconcept, you will narrow down your search and find an office that truly meets your company’s requirements.
Finances do of course need to be taken into account. However, by identifying your requirements precisely you will find a building that works for your company’s day-to-day operations and reduce the chance of any nasty surprises after you move in.
Finally, scheduling needs to be added to this equation too. The availability of the building will affect your choice, as will its general condition. Is it a turnkey building, under construction or in pristine condition with no renovations required? If extensive work needs to be done before delivery, your move-in date may be much later than you planned.