What to Do When You Outgrow Your Office
Have you run out of desk space for your current set of employees, but nervous about the costs and disruption of taking the leap to a bigger office?
Here’s how to handle moving offices without skipping a beat—from calculating the exact square footage you’ll need to managing your new utility costs, these tips for managing company growth will help you transition to a new office seamlessly.
Plan Early and Don’t Rush It
It’s fine if it takes a year between “I think we need more space” and moving day.
Here are some of the elements required before you even search for a new address:
- Have a named person accountable for the entire project
- Map out your staff requirements for the next three years
- Determine meeting room, communal area and reception requirements
- Add up parking needs for your staff and visitors
- Establish a yearly budget range for rent, rates and utilities
- Consider transport networks, staff travel time, and where your customers and suppliers are located
How to Estimate Your Future Requirements
A new office may seem too large when you first move into it, but you’ll soon start to use up the vacant space. It’s prudent to over-estimate so you don’t expand and then end up reducing individual employees’ space later—that’s a morale killer.
Property experts suggest using 100 square feet per employee as a rough guide. Total square footage also depends on the amount of closed offices and meetings rooms you need. A standard manager’s office usually needs 200 square feet while a meeting room is 300-400 square feet.
Negotiating Your New Lease
Once you have your size requirements, it’s time to look at properties. Some of the places you can start your search are:
- Your current landlord may have other properties in the area
- Search for commercial rents on Rightmove
- Use a local estate agent
- Drive around the area you want to move to
- Ask your staff and colleagues
Once you identify a possible location, it’s time to negotiate the lease. Most contracts last for five or ten years. You never know what the future holds, so it’s always best to have some form of break clause you can invoke to cancel the contract. These clauses provide some piece of mind if you make a mistake in your choice of building or need to expand again within the lease. Other areas to consider are:
- Can you change the internal layout and who pays the cost?
- What’s included in the rental payment (e.g. gas, electricity, water)?
- What are the annual service charges?
- When are the lease renews, are there limits on the rent increase?
Once you have all the information in hand, you’ll be able to begin the negotiation process.
Typical Costs Involved in a Move
Do not underestimate the costs of moving—they’ll often be higher than you expect. Here’s a run-down of some of the costs involved in an office move:
- Costs of refurbishing the new premises, including furniture, painting, IT networks, computer servers, and rewiring
- Building regulations costs
- Security installation
- Removal expenses
- Any additional travel costs for staff
- Professional fees such as solicitors and accountants
- Increases in utility bills and insurance policies
If you’re purchasing a property, include conveyancing fees, stamp duty and surveyors charges.
Companies You Need to Contact to Switch Your Business
Apart from notifying your direct suppliers of a change of address, you’ll need to inform others of your move and change in circumstances. As your building is larger, your insurance costs and utility bills are likely to increase.
You’ll probably need to contact the following providers to tell them of your new address and negotiate new prices for the services they offer:
- Professional insurance such as public liability and employers liability
- Vehicle insurance
- Electricity and gas
- Internet and phone
- Your previous and new local councils for business rates (if applicable)
- Any other suppliers that you deal with
The disruption to operations for your staff and customers means you only want to move if necessary. Therefore, before you make the leap to move locations, see if there’s an easier alternative, such as the following:
- Could you lease a building next door?
- What about an adjacent office to where you are now?
- Perhaps you could just move a section of your operations to a new location, such as IT, customer services or administration, rather than the whole company?
If you have a plan for an office move from the early stages, review and update it every six months to one year. Then you’ll always be prepared for the day when you actually do need to move your entire company somewhere else.
- Business Premises
- Business Relocation
- Cost of Moving Your Business
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