“We just got the deal! Our client needs to be operational in enough space for 60 staff in three months time!”

These are words often heard around the world in the transaction room at a property company. Easier said than done.  Making good decisions when it comes to an office move can be tough when it comes to future space requirements including expanding or contracting a business’s staff resources.

This challenge is more a management issue than bricks and mortar, but once you enter into that 5-year commercial property lease, it can be painful and expensive to get out of it early. A simple strategy when addressing space planning is to think, plan, and only then act afterwards. We often experience large companies engaging the market, and perhaps even get into lease negotiations without having completed any basic planning for the business case. We like to take an advisory role when assisting the appointed project team. We try to slow the process down by encouraging the team to think and build consensus prior to evaluating existing market options.

As a company or division grows in terms of revenue and success, what impact could this have on future headcount and facilities requirements? What is the volatility or risk of future headcount projections? Asking management what they need is a good start. Then filter down to reality. What organisational culture objectives does the new facility need to meet to best support future success principles?

I’ve walked hundreds of office spaces over the past six years. Some businesses take great pride in their brand and values by proudly showing off their space, while for others this is not a priority. Impressive office fit outs are about colour, lighting and layout. All of these factors ultimately have an impact on employee productivity and both staff and client satisfaction levels within the space.

We recommend working with design professionals to source your ideal design and layout, wall/floor coverings and office furniture. Work with the project team and solicit input. Staff involvement on a number of employment levels generates excitement and an inclusive feeling, which may enhance office morale.

An optimal office location is vital to retain current key employees and recruit future ones? Establishing where a CEO or decision maker lives can also determine the parameters for a suitable location.

Try to establish suitable building characteristics that best support the business model objectives in place, bearing in mind current and projected cash flow and profit. Has the project team managed to agree on the capital available to invest in the property decision?

In these uncertain times, more time and crisper decision-making will ensure success. The days of waiting months for “The Board” to make the final decision when it comes to an office move are passing us by. The real wisdom we bring to your organisation is to plan, advise and think practically.