In a survey released earlier this year, almost half of all US workers spend some time working from home. Working from home is often a temporary solution when starting a business or for a business in transition. Any growing business will eventually need to look around for an office for rent
Finding the perfect office space for rent can be a catalyst to productivity. Some people need to separate their home and work lives. Others find they’re just more productive when they’re out of the house.
If you’ve outgrown your home office and need a place for you and your coworkers to move to, here are 17 tips to help you decide which is the best office for rent.
1. Assess Your Urgency
Where is your company at today?
If you’re thinking about renting office space, you need to put into perspective your company’s growth over time.
It’s hard to accommodate multiple employees in a home office. You might also find that client meetings don’t have the same tone of professionalism you would like.
Since both actual and perceived company success could benefit from office space, be sure that you’re in the place to start growing.
2. Look At Your Budget
Are you currently pulling a strong enough profit to pay for rent during slower months?
Another alternative to having an office space could be to hire a virtual assistant, interns, or part-time employees. Be sure that the roadmap ahead of you will bring the kind of growth that an office space can provide.
3. Think About Travel Needs
Is it easy to find office space for rent in your area?
You may find that the spaces that fit within your budget cause you to be stuck in rush hour traffic, taking precious hours from your productivity each day.
If you have employees, think about their commute. In case of emergency, is this new location easy for them to get home from? If they have children or elders in their care, consider their need to commute to and from where they need to be.
Being near a highway might be worth the extra cost for you or your employees.
4. Accessibility and Convenience
Beyond travel access, you or your employees might have specific personal requirements for space. Make sure that you find a space that is ADA compliant so that you can meet the needs of anyone with disabilities.
Finding a place that’s on the first couple of floors or has a reliable elevator means that you can accommodate pregnant women and older people. Think about who will be visiting you and make sure they can feel comfortable in your new office space.
5. What Amenities Do You Need
If you ship with FedEx all day, you might want to be close to a FedEx facility. If you’re in an urban space and about to see some growth in your company, think about nearby train stops and lunch places.
When looking for an office for rent, make sure you’re in a place where you wouldn’t mind being stuck for a few extra hours in an evening. If the neighborhood seems desolate, look at another spot.
6. Calculate All The Expenses
When you’re searching for an office for rent, you need to be thinking about costs beyond the four walls.
A tech company might have high electrical needs to cool down servers. A baked goods company might need to install insulation around their ovens. There are a number of potential costs that only you can think of in advance.
A large space might seem appealing at first but have you considered how much your heating and cooling bills will be? They could turn an inexpensive warehouse space into a profit-eating monster.
7. Think About Repairs
Is this office for rent currently in disrepair?
You may want to read through the lease carefully and come to terms with the owner about who will be responsible for repairs.
If the HVAC system has already reached its golden years, you might end up stuck with a bill your company can’t manage.
8. Be Smart About Space
Is this office space enough for you and your staff, supplies, and your potential HR or shipping departments?
Be sure you calculate wisely. Ensure there is ample space to work. Most of your visitors and employees will want to feel comfortable and relaxed in a large enough space rather than crammed into a tight office.
Don’t overspend and buy too much more than you need but give yourself room to grow.
9. Think About Layout
If you need to do a lot of interior construction, a given office for rent might not be worth it. While you’re busy building your office out, you’re going to be paying rent on a facility your staff can’t even occupy.
If you’re a modern tech outfit, you might want to have an open office plan. If you would need to tear down 20 walls, this might make your new space a nightmare.
Make a list of “must haves” before you settle on a layout.
10. Parking For Bikes and Cars
Be sure your visitors or employees have a place to park their car or their bike when they visit. Encourage bike travel with a rack in a well-lit area.
Make sure your parking lot is well lit for safety. If you find yourself needing to hire security, that hidden cost might not be worth it in your new office space
11. Rent Office Space With Privacy
Even in the best layout, you’ll want to have places to hold meetings, conduct interviews, or just take a quick break from the team.
Studies are showing that in office environments, privacy is shrinking. Every employee should be able to take a phone call someplace, even in an open office environment.
Be sure that you find an office for rent that provides privacy while also keeping your employees connected to what’s going on.
12. Generous Communal Space
While you might stumble upon a great office for rent in a fantastic location, will it stifle meetings with employees or leave you feeling isolated?
Find an office for rent that has communal space or a wet bar with a coffee machine, water cooler, and sink. Providing some basic space for you or anyone else to step back, grab a snack, or get coffee will keep them in the building and let them get back to work ASAP.
13. Find an Office For Rent With Customizable Space
If you find an office for rent that might need a few changes made, ensure that your landlord would allow that.
If you spend the money to knock down a wall or install a second restroom, you don’t want to have to spend thousands later to take it down. Get approval and make sure you and the building owner are on the same page.
14. Look At Multiple Spaces
You might get exhausted running around town looking for the perfect office for rent. But it’s important to look at more than one option. You could end up paying too much for space just so that you can have it.
There’s a good chance you’ll regret that soon after.
If you’re working with staff or have some friends and family to bring along, get their feedback on your potential office space. That second pair of eyes can bring valuable insight that will help you make the right decision.
15. Negotiate Lease Terms
There’s no such thing as a standard lease. They’re agreements made between owner and tenant that too often benefit landlords because their tenants are afraid to negotiate.
Everything from price, time, and utilities can be negotiated. If you’re running a new business, it’s a well-known fact that you might not last more than 18 months. Be smart and make sure there’s an exit clause for you written into your lease.
16. Know Your Landlord
Don’t blindly sign a lease through a third-party. If possible, meet your landlord. Otherwise, speak to them on the phone or over a video call.
Research them and find out if there is a trail of negative feedback following them around. People are quick to out a deadbeat landlord and a quick google search on a commercial landlord should return useful results.
Also, be sure your broker has gotten good feedback.
17. Get to Know Your Neighbors
Before you sign anything, walk around the neighborhood. Go into other businesses and offices, introduce yourself, and get to know your potential neighbors.
This can give you some insight into how well you’ll fit in the area and an opportunity to ask about the space you’re looking at.
Ask about some red flags including how common the turnover is for the space you’re looking at, if they’ve heard anything about the landlord, and how the neighborhood is doing.
Take Your Time Searching For an Office For Rent
In most cases, finding an office for rent doesn’t need to be done in a single day or a weekend. Look at a few places and compare what they can give you against your budget.
Be honest about your company’s growth potential. If you foresee explosive growth in the next couple of years, account for that in your potential office space. If it’s going to be a little steadier, sign a shorter lease on a smaller space.
Changing offices is a big step. Make sure you make your decisions with the same careful strategizing that’s gotten you where you are now.