To move or not to move? The age-old dilemma.
Shifting an office-load of humans from one location to another is a herculean task. Not to mention finding the right spot in the first place. New horizons are exciting, but are they worth all the hassle, expense and disruption? Or is it better to find a way to stay put a while longer?
Sometimes a client we’re working with decides to hang tight in their current office after all. And that’s OK. Either way, it’s a journey. Helping companies see where they’re at and the options they have, so they can figure it out, is part of the job at Kontor. There are a few common situations companies find themselves in, with some possible answers that bear thinking through. We’ll get to those in a second.
First though, the answer might be a short and sweet “you should probably stay put”. There are a few reasons for that, and we’ll get those out the way for starters.
Buzzkills, who us? We understand the temptation to think about it (and obviously we hope you do decide to move, so we get to work together!). But...
You should probably stay put if…
You had the idea just because you walked past a gorgeous building with “offices to let” on the front and fancy a change. (Is the need really great enough?)
Or you’ve heard that another company you keep tabs on has moved into a nicer office. (It might be right for them but is it right for you?)
Or you’re trying to cure a company culture symptom that’s only slightly correlated, e.g. people taking sick days that aren’t really sick days. (Is your office the true cause?)
Or you’re close to closing a round of investment and want to get ahead of the game. (Is it really a done deal?)
Or you could easily reconfigure your current office to free up more space so it doesn’t feel like a sardine can any more.
Sound familiar? Pop the idea back in the box for a bit. If you really do need to move, the topic will continue to bubble up, more reasons will appear, and eventually you’ll reach a tipping point where it makes sense to start looking for a new home for your company.
Stay or go? Some common office situations and possible answers
If your biggest challenge is that you’re running out of room…
Can you get more space in your current building? Take over another area on top of what you have at the moment, or move from your current space into a bigger space?
This can be difficult for those on a lease, but it’s not impossible. Not every building is maxed out at full capacity all year round, and it’s often easier and cheaper for the landlord to offer a current tenant some extra space than to find a new tenant.
For those in a fully-managed flexible office, the odds are in your favour. These providers tend to be a revolving door of companies coming and going on a short-term basis, and few buildings are at 100% occupation.
However. Even if you can get more space where you are right now, would you be better off elsewhere? What are you missing out on? Could a different office meet your company’s needs more amazingly? Better vibe, better value, more customisation or more flexibility? It’s always worth checking what’s out there and making sure you’re not being being ripped off. (You can do this in minutes at kontor.com, or by scouring the internet whichever way you like.)
If your biggest challenge is that your time’s almost up where you are...
Can you extend your lease or licence?
This isn’t always an option, but there’s no harm in asking. It involves a bit of admin faff or legal faff, but compared to having to pack up your life and relocate, it’s a drop in the ocean.
(Not sure about the ins and outs of your current agreement? Paperwork lost in the cupboard under the stairs? Get in touch with whoever found your last place. Failing that, feel free to get in touch with us. Chances are we know the landlord anyway.)
If your biggest challenge is that you’re ready to upgrade from lower to higher spec...
A nice problem to have!
Could you upgrade your current space instead? Believe it or not, a redecoration and re-fit-out could cost less and causes less overall disruption than moving into a new office, depending on your circumstances.
This is an especially attractive option for those who are happy with their office in all other respects. Location, size and so on. Some custom art and a fancy new kitchen might just do the job.
Of course, your office provider might not allow it, or there might be limited scope to improve what you have. In which case... bring on the new horizons!
If your biggest challenge is that your geographical focus has changed…
Why not explore hiring one-off meeting rooms in that location to see if that solves the problem?
You might find the price is lower than you’d expect. From function suites at hotels to bespoke providers, there’s a lot to choose from. And this approach also helps you test the water before you make a bigger commitment to the new area.
For an example of what we mean, check out Breather, where you can book a meeting room for an hour all the way up to workspaces for months at a time.
Obviously though, this isn’t a silver bullet. If most of your business activities are taking place elsewhere, you probably need to up sticks and move ASAP.
If your biggest challenge is that you need to cut costs…
The two biggest costs most businesses face are space and headcount, so it’s no surprise that moving office is a popular solution to save money.
But on the flipside, moving to a worse office in a worse location may cause people to leave anyway. Which means there’s a risk you’ll end up culling on both fronts by accident - argh!
To protect against this unintended consequence, it’s important to involve your team in the process. Consult with them openly and honestly. Find out their dealbreakers in terms of commute and facilities. Try to find a compromise. At the very least, people are likely to be more understanding whatever the outcome because they feel heard and considered.
If your biggest challenge is that you’re struggling to hire new recruits…
We might be doing ourselves out of a job here, but is a new office definitely the best lever to pull?
Moving can cost a lot. Firstly the cold hard money for an upgrade in quality and location and then on the logistics too, and secondly in productivity - all the time and effort sucked up into the move.
Could an upgraded benefits package be cheaper for you and more appealing to new recruits instead of a different office? Higher salaries... performance-related bonuses... company retreats... flexible working... extra holiday... free lunches? There are no hard and fast rules here. A new office may well turn out to be the thing that matters most for your organisation, but it’s good to know you’ve explored all the alternatives before you take the plunge.