Finding Suitable Office Space: The 5 Most Helpful Tips

If you run a small to medium sized business and need to move to bigger premises because you have outgrown your current office space, there are a few things to consider in making the move a successful one. A good place to start is to make a list of what you love about your current office set up, you can then complete this list by noting everything your staff have always requested or needed. This will be a great starting place to getting an idea of some of the features that your new office space must have. In addition to following this practice, the tips below will help you find that perfect new setting for your business.

Work in an office

1. Think about Convenience

This applies to your staff as well as your customers or clients. Does your new office space need to be in the same area as your existing one or can you provide your services from elsewhere? Your new location will need to answer these questions by accommodating your worker’s commute as well as the people that rely on your services. If your business is location specific and you need to stay in the same area, then finding a bigger space may be easy although being able to look in different areas has the advantage of providing more variety.

2. Building Security and Access

If you are staying local you will already have a good idea of the best places to locate your new offices, but this may be more difficult to ascertain in a new town or city however. The security of your new office building hinges on a number of factors such as location, or whether there are security solutions in place. No one likes to work in an insecure environment so some research on your new location as well as a consideration of your organisation’s level of risk will help in your decision-making.

Your staff requirements will also need to be considered in terms of access to the building. For instance, will you be able to get into the building late at night if your worker’s need 24 hr. access? If you are looking at the options of Office space Belgravia has to offer for example, canvassing similar local business as well as realty experts in that area will provide a wealth of information with which you can use to make an informed decision.

3. Energy Efficiency and Costs

We all need to do our bit to save the environment and most companies now place great emphasis on green initiatives. With buildings and vehicles being the main focus of carbon footprint reduction, a good idea is to choose energy efficient buildings because not only are they better for the environment, they also lower your energy costs!

4. Plan for the Future

You are probably looking for new office space because your business or organisation has outgrown its current location. Therefore, when you choose your new office space, it has to accommodate your business as it stands currently as well as any short term forecasted growth. This approach will save costs and disruptions to your business in the long run as it eliminates the constant need to move.

5. Check the Terms of the Lease Agreement

Finally, when you find a property you are interested in, you will need to understand the specific details of the proposed rental or lease agreement. Check and confirm the length of the lease, compliance with local building and council regulations, as well as the agreed rental amount. Other things to look out for include building maintenance responsibilities, parking space allocation, and all the charges you will be expected to cover. Once you are satisfied, all that will be left to do is to sign the document and get started on your company’s new beginning!

3 Easy Ways to Organise your Workspace

If you work from home, whether self-employed or owning your own business, or simply in need of a space to perform office work like bills etc., separating your workspace from where you relax is essential to being able to carry out what you need to, when you need to. Ideally you don’t want to turn your home into the same place you associate with tedious work, or you’ll feel like you can never properly relax. On the other hand, you may not be able to get anything done, if psychologically you know you’re at home. If you own a business, this can be a major problem if  financially, you have something at stake and need to work.

Below are three simple tips you may want to consider when organising your workspace to be more efficient:

1. Think ‘Work’

If you’re aware that you’re home, then you’ll be tempted to relax and not work as hard as you would do if in a public office environment. The process of commuting to an office and then being in public essentially, means one is psychologically more prepared to get on with what you need to do. If you’re self-employed and work alone then you also don’t have anyone to answer to other than yourself, so you don’t really have the same authority to push you. Put any distractions like a television or games console in another room, or at least out of sight. Ideally, you would have a different room to work in which you wouldn’t enter much outside of working, like an actual study. This is not always possible when spacing is an issue. You also don’t want these things to infiltrate your workspace, so ensure your desk isn’t cluttered or a place where things that not work-related are just left, like magazines or books. 

2. Personalisation

If you had an a cubicle at work, you would be allowed to personalise your workspace somewhat even if there were some restrictions, so don’t think that you need to recreate a sterile office in your home to get into that mindset to work; after all, you’ll probably have to sit in that space for many hours, everyday, so it needs to fit you and be a place you can be happy in, even if you have to work. Add personal photos of family to your desk, though don’t go too overboard as this can clutter and distract. Additionally, something which can inspire or motivate you but doesn’t look too boring or dull can help, such as a fish tank or a painting/print of a majestic landscape, can help (preferably something which doesn’t take up too much space). Some find that said motivational posters remind them too much of being in a stiff office environment so perhaps stay away from those; plus they’re quite generic and you should make the most of being able to work from home. Everyone gets those moments of stress or when they just need to breathe a bit and think, so invest in something quality for those moments. Again, the most important thing is that you can work, so don’t clutter your desk with too many things that can distract you.


3. Health and Safety

To give you some perspective, you may want to think back to some of the health & safety considerations from a previous office (or other workplace) you have worked in. Keeping drinks without lids on an alternative side table would avoid spillages on paper, or worse electric equipment, which would need replacing and can result in lost work. Speaking of, make sure the fan for any computers is not obstructed so it doesn’t overheat and create similar computer problems. Consider yourself but also anyone who may come into contact with your workspace. Make sure things can’t be pulled off the desk by children or pets in the vicinity, like loose papers or books. Additional bookcases, shelves or cabinets will mean you don’t have stacks of books, documents or folders taking up space on your desk, which could fall over and cause more chaos. In fact, the positive of having a separate room to work in, means that not only do you separate it from your leisure psychologically, but anything valuable in there, like computers or records are secure from intruders and can be locked away; if you have kids or pets who like to wander in, they will be prevented from doing so.

Paul has worked in a variety of office environments. He currently works in digital marketing, and is in the process of putting together his own home-office, which has required consulting various sources on how to put together the best workspace at home.

How to grow your Business with a clever use of Space

If you’re a small business, expansion isn’t always about getting bigger, it can also mean a more effective use of the resources you already have. Take storage for example. Whether you sell products and need space to keep merchandise, or run a business working out of a spare room at home, the right storage can not only remove hassle, but can streamline your business to help it move forward. Here are our top tips:

1. Re-evaluate your office space

For anyone whose business has grown overnight can testify, space comes at a premium. If you’re moving offices, expanding or (in this economic climate) downsizing, a short-term storage solution can be a life raft. But storage can also help your business make money too. Most SME’s have unused space in their office, or space that’s not being used well (often filled with filing cabinets or extra furniture). As shared office spaces are getting more popular, by putting the items you don’t need into storage, you could sublet the space to another company or a freelancer (sites like Office Genie can be a good place to start), helping keep your overheads as low as possible.

compact office space

Image from apartment therapy

2. Plan for overspill

Whether you’re an eBay seller or a traditional retailer, planning for the unplanned is vital. Most businesses don’t consider overspill until its too late, but by future-proofing your storage needs, you can make sure you have a cost effective solution. Consider access, security, and location and of course – cost. Making partnerships with other local businesses ahead of time can ensure you always have a next-door area if your stock room is full (and offering extra space for their overspill can mitigate extra costs).

3. Don’t get tied into long contracts

No one knows what the future holds, but making sure your business isn’t locked into long contracts will help you stay flexible. With warehouses you’ll need to consider the necessary evils of business rates, service charges, utilities and VAT (you will get VAT back eventually, but its an initial outlay) – plus upfront deposits. This outlay can make it unappealing, especially for start-ups wanting less overheads. One solution might be to look at space sharing with other smaller companies, finding partners that will contribute to hiring a room in a warehouse, a floor or the whole building. Consider how you would segment the warehouse space to make sure stock isn’t mixed up, and think of the security ramifications if you’re sharing an open space.

4. Go virtual but take precautions

Cloud based, or virtual storage for businesses, is very topical right now. Using online storage is a great way to save physical space – scanning documents and uploading them to a safe repository, for example – and many small businesses are making the shift. A vital thing to consider first however is support (is there someone available to answer questions if you have them?) and back up (is there any chance you can lose your online data?). Google offers limited support for its free suite (gmail, google docs) and so it might be worth upgrading to a more comprehensive service that can guarantee your stored information will be secure. Apple, Dropbox, Amazon, Microsoft all have online storage solutions.

About the Author: Drew Davies writes for Big Yellow Self Storage. Check out their business section for more information.