How to choose the right workplace
Article2 min19 September 2017
Yes, you have to get the geography right. But have you thought about the layout? And what about the neighbours? Here are some tips to help you select your next workplace wisely.
Maybe your staff numbers have grown. Or you’re keen for a change of scenery. Or, perhaps you’re a shiny new start-up. When your company’s on the move, the choice of office building is critical, and it’s not just about geography. It’s about the physical surrounds and the building itself.
What amenities are in place – what, generally, are you getting for your money?
Most organisations know that the true value in their business comes down to their staff. A happy workforce is one that’s more likely to stay with you. And what makes people happy? Convenience.
Large organisations can lose the sense of connectivity among staff if the workforce is spread over too many floors
One thing that’s important to look for when choosing an office location is the range of facilities available nearby. If there’s a good choice of food and beverage outlets as well as services, staff will be able to achieve daily tasks during their lunch hour, or just before and after work.
If shops, entertainment and other business facilities are far from a company’s premises, everyone loses. Staff can spend too much of their lunch break on accessing the services they need, and employers can lose valuable work hours from staff trying to reach those facilities during the lunch hour – and failing.
Questions to ask when judging nearby amenities, include:
- What are the food options? A tired food court isn’t going to satisfy your employees.
- Is there pleasant open space nearby? Sitting outside in the sunshine, especially in winter, is a tremendous boost to a sense of wellbeing.
- What retail is available (if any)? Everyone likes a bit of fashion retail therapy. Even a quick window shop can help an employee get through a difficult day.
- Are banks, chemists and a post office available nearby?
- Are they all easily walkable? A highway between the office and parks and retail outlets is not desirable.
Another key component in an office location is security. Is the building in a quiet, poorly lit street where some staff members may feel uncomfortable leaving in the dark? Or, perhaps the local night life is of a type that might not be conducive to staff safety.
Another element to consider is the level of security provided on-site. Is there a concierge that could accompany late-working staff to their cars or public transport out of hours if necessary?
Equally important is the question of car parking or, alternatively, proximity to public transport options. If the office is close to trains, buses or ferries, the number of car parking spaces provided becomes decreasingly important.
Any parking that is offered needs to be efficient. If there’s a huge bottleneck at about 5.00pm every evening as workers head out of the parking space onto a packed street, staff morale could be stretched.
Some staff enjoy combining their exercise routine with their commute and will run or cycle to work. So even the end-of-trip facilities and bike storage are an increasingly sought after feature of a workplace.
The floor plan
Inside the building, it’s important to consider floor plan configurations and sizes.
Large organisations can lose the sense of connectivity among staff if the workforce is spread over too many floors. Therefore, larger whole floor options – 1,500 to 2,000 square metres, say – would be preferable to multiple 600 square metre floors, which might be fine for a company of just 20 people or so.
Efficiency in floor plans, too, can mean the difference between a high-functioning office space and a space that is dotted with inconvenient columns and doors. Access to natural light within the office space is also often overlooked, even though the more of it there is, the happier and more productive a workforce tends to be.
Does it suit your brand?
Something many companies are guilty of forgetting is to assess how a building complements their reputation and aesthetic. Is the facility itself impressive-looking? Is that a good thing, or not?
If you’re providing a low-cost service, residing in the swankiest building in the area might not be the best look, but a high-end accounting offering doesn’t really suit the ground floor of a B-grade building.
And, a few final thoughts about your fellow tenants. Do the other tenants complement your brand, or could they impact your business’s reputation? Your neighbours affect you, and they also reflect on you. While it might not always be true that you’re only as good as the neighbours you have, it’s a thought worth bearing in mind!