Finding a London office space can be a mammoth task. There are literally thousands of offices waiting for new tenants, all offering different benefits. So understanding what should be your priority and knowing what to look out for can be tricky.
So, to help you out here is our handy list of things to look out for when finding a London office space for your business.
This might seem obvious, but it can often be overlooked when you discover an office that has the right features at the right price.
You need to consider how convenient a location is for your team. Commute time and difficulty is a massive factor for employee wellbeing, so it’s important to find a location that is convenient for your whole team. The location is a major factor for recruitment when you are looking to attract new talent, so don’t underestimate its importance.
It’s also worth having a look around the local area and seeing which amenities are nearby. Food shops, restaurants and bars are always a hit with employees. A few coffee shops won’t go amiss either!
From a business point-of-view, make sure you have a look at which other businesses are in the area. You can learn a lot about the affluence of a location by the businesses that choose to operate there and can benefit from some great networking opportunities.
2) On-site Facilities
Consider which facilities are in demand at your current premises and make sure they are available in the new office.
Make sure the obvious facilities like kitchens, bathrooms and breakout areas are high-quality and large enough to accommodate your team. Also consider things like heating, air con, quantity, placement of power outlets, and speed of internet connection. Whilst you may think these are standard in any office, you will be surprised with what you can be presented with, especially if you don’t have a big budget.
Offices with a rooftop terrace are always a popular choice with employees
If you are looking for something on the higher-end of the lucrative scale, keep an eye out for those additional facilities and the small print that comes with it. Having a workspace that provides an on-site bar, private gym and roof terrace can be a huge plus, even a persuasive factor when recruiting new employees as well as a manned reception and onsite management. However, check the fine print to ensure you get what you pay for.
3) Security Services
Protecting your staff and your equipment is an absolute must. In order to ensure your people, assets and data are safe and secure, you’ll need to assess the levels of security the building has.
If it’s a public building, ask your broker who else can gain access, do you need keycards to get into important areas and is there CCTV and/or a dedicated security personnel?
Most modern office spaces will have a pretty sophisticated security system, but it’s always a good idea to check to see what you’ll be dealing with on a day-to-day basis.
4) Non-Serviced or Serviced Office Space?
Serviced offices in London are usually fully furnished and ready to go. Typically they tend to provide facilities like phone, internet, cleaning, maintenance, security, office equipment and mail services from the get-go.
With non-serviced leased offices, however, it’s your responsibility to fit it with everything you need to function as a business. This essentially means equipping the office with all of the amenities mentioned above, which has both its pros and cons.
Non-Serviced is often cheaper to start with but is a lot more work and upkeep. It’s something you will need to weigh up and decide what works for you and your business.
5) Coworking Spaces
If you fancy something a bit more informal, a coworking space might be right up your street.
The latest trend in coworking is when an office space is communal and open to a number of individuals or small businesses. They can either be an open (or hot) desk environment, or you can have specific desks assigned.
This coworking office space in Shoreditch offers a productive yet sociable space
Fortunately, coworking spaces are almost always fully serviced so there is little requirement for buying furniture and supplies. What’s more, the informal nature can fit well with individuals or businesses that are either too small or spend too little time in the office to justify the cost of a dedicated lease. Plus, if you are a freelancer or work within a small team, a co-working office can be a fun and sociable alternative to working alone from home.
6) Parking and Cycle Storage
Whilst many workers in the city commute via public transport, there is a chance that some of your employees will want to drive to work - especially if you’re on the outskirts.
Therefore, the quantity, cost, and proximity of the available parking facilities should still on your list of consideration. Also, don’t forget to look into space for cycle storage as many people continue to cycle to work and still need a place to keep their two wheels safe.
7) Transport Links
For those that don’t want to drive, consider how close the office is to public transport. This could be a bus stop, tube station or the overground. A long walk and limited options can be off-putting for many.
Quick Tip: Check if there are any planned upgrades to the transport infrastructure. Eg: Crossrail. Big changes to tube stations can leave them closed for months or years and could have a serious impact on your employees.
8) Contract Term Length
It’s usual to expect better terms for a longer lease commitment. However flexible workspaces in London can offer short, medium or long-term leases, depending upon your requirements. Short term leases may suit you better if you are unsure of what your requirements will be in the future and don’t wish to be tied in.
Generally speaking, the average lease for office space in London is 5+ years. In this sense, it’s important to think about your company’s growth, as you don’t want to outgrow an office before your lease is up.
If you are a freelancer you may want to check the contract length for your office
You will also find that longer leases normally come with the added benefit of highly maintained and equipped offices.
If there is a chance that you will need to move out within your term, you should check what the costs will be as there will often be a fee for early termination of a contract.
That brings us nicely into costs in general. Flexible workspaces can offer “all inclusive” pricing which solves the budgeting headache for many businesses, but when taking on traditional leases the rental cost itself isn’t the only thing you need to factor into your budget. Let’s break these down into a list:
- The initial deposit can be a large chunk of change, so make sure you’re prepared and have the funds already available
- There are usually fees from the rental agencies/lawyers and any other third-parties that are involved in office leases. Make sure you know what these costs are going to be before signing anything
- If you are renting unfurnished, consider the cost of furnishing the office. Can you move any furniture from your current premises?
- If there is on-site parking, there is a good chance this will come at an additional cost so it’s always worth checking
- Internet/Phone bills are sometimes covered by the cost of the lease. Check if they are and how much they will cost if not
- You will need to have liability insurance as standard, but it is also worth weighing up the cost of insuring the property and contents
- If you think there are any improvements to be made (and you are allowed to under the lease terms), you need to factor those costs into your budget.
A small office is great for keeping costs down, but it could become a hassle if your business grows unexpectedly and you’re forced to upgrade to a larger space. Re-sizing is one of the key benefits of flexible workspace. Flexible workspaces provide businesses with the opportunity to upsize or downsize at short notice if their requirements change. This sort of agility means businesses can respond quickly to changing circumstances and they only pay for the space they need.
If you’re preparing for the future, make sure you’ve considered the likelihood of taking on more staff and have the room available if you do.
If you are in a shared space (or even if you just have multiple teams), consider the amount of meeting rooms and spaces that are available. There is nothing worse than needing to get the team together and having nowhere to do it.
11) Appearance and Décor
Décor isn’t usually at the top of the priority list, but an important consideration nonetheless.
Today the modern worker highly-values a nice, modern working environment. They look for a place where they can enjoy working whilst knowing their employee cares for their well-being. Therefore, ensuring your office has a nice interior that is light, bright and filled with relaxing spaces, can be a big win.
A modern and inviting working environment is a must for many workers today
Not only is nice, modern décor good for employee morale, it can also impress stakeholders. Giving a good impression is key in business, and a nicely decorated office can definitely help with that. Today, businesses can also design their office space to suit their brand image and identity.
12) The Neighbours
Your office neighbours can tell you a lot about the area that you are moving into. If you can speak to some of the local businesses parked up in similar offices (or even the same building), you can get a good idea of how affluent an area is. They will also give you tips on where to find local amenities and the best transport routes.
If you can’t talk to anybody, just getting a feel for the types of businesses in the area, and how successful they are can be a good indication of how well your business is going to fit in.
Are You Looking for a New London Office Space?
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