Office space is so much more than a physical location where employees sit at desks together. It’s a space that influences how your clients see you and who wants to work for you. It affects how productive your workers can be and how long they stay with the company. A great office can feel like a home away from home, but an awful one can leave you counting down the minutes until you can leave. Evaluating cost, size, location, atmosphere, parking and other tenants’ experiences can help you choose the best office space for your business.
Office Space Leases and Hidden Costs
No matter how great an office space seems, it has to fit the company’s budget. But just as the mortgage payment doesn’t reflect the true cost to own a home, base rent does not reflect the true cost to lease an office.
Find out who will pay property taxes, insurance and maintenance: landlord or tenant? Also consider utility costs, repairs and renovations, and furnishings. Here’s another cost some tenants don’t think about ahead of time: what is the cost to exit the lease early if the space doesn’t work out?
Leases can be month-to-month or last for years. If you’re not comfortable with a long-term lease or you’re unsure how much space you need, consider coworking office space. It can provide more flexibility than traditional office space both in budget and functionality.
The Right Square Footage for Your Office Space
Calculating the right size for your office space is one of the trickier decisions before you sign a lease. You know that working in a cramped office can lower morale. But you also don’t want to pay for space you won’t use.
Consider the size of your workforce and whether you expect it to shrink or grow. Do you have plans to allow more remote work arrangements? Will you bring in contractors when things get busy? Is an expansion or a round of layoffs in the company’s future?
Once you’ve estimated the number of people your office space needs to hold, think about how many square feet each employee needs. It may be less in an open concept office. It will be more if people need private offices, conference rooms and other quiet spaces. Some companies also need space for workers who are sometimes remote and sometimes on site.
The Ideal Location for Your Office Space
A prestigious address downtown or in a trendy neighborhood like RiNo can boost your image. For certain businesses, visibility is also important. It’s a form of marketing: think of those downtown office buildings with company names at the top. Other businesses want the opposite: anonymity. Either way, proximity to your workforce and clients are key.
In what parts of town do your existing and prospective workers live? Are they city dwellers, suburbanites or both? Can your workforce afford to live a reasonable distance from your office? Will the traffic on the commute be so bad that they’ll look for jobs elsewhere? Is the office near a RTD light rail station or bus route?
Office Location: Convenience and Safety
You also want your office to be convenient to clients if your business has frequent visitors. This could mean locating your office near a major highway, thoroughfare or public transit line. Being close to the airport might also be important if your employees or clients travel often. Proximity to a nice hotel is important if you have regular out-of-town clients.
Safety is important for your workers’ well-being and peace of mind. It's also crucial to your reputation and the smooth operation of your business. It can help keep your insurance premiums down, too.
On a lighter note, think about where employees and clients will eat lunch, get coffee, and go to happy hour. Having at least a few good options in the area will make everyone’s workdays more enjoyable. It will also allow employees to take a mental break from the office and get to know each other better. Both can benefit your business in improved productivity and collaboration.
Office Atmosphere: Happiness and Branding
Your office’s atmosphere will play a major role in how happy and productive everyone is at work. Extroverts need places to come together and socialize: it boosts their energy. Introverts need spaces that offer quiet and solitude for the same reason. You might want an office that offers both open- and closed-concept spaces. Each accommodates different work styles and project types.
Atmosphere is also part of your company’s brand. Are creativity or innovation your hallmarks? Then you might put your offices in a space like the Zeppelin Development. If status is important, you might choose an office on a high floor with large windows and sweeping views. A new or renovated building where everything is well maintained and up to date will also impress.
Check noise from traffic, trains, highways, construction, and neighboring businesses. Honking, the yammering of jackhammers and general commotion can distract and stress out your workers.
Likewise, you’ll want your office space to be well lit. Natural light in the workplace brightens people’s spirits, can save on electricity costs, and can even improve health. You’ll also want a comfortable, climate controlled office space so no one has to sweat or freeze at their desk.
It’s stressful to arrive late to work or a meeting because you can’t find parking. That’s why the best office spaces have plenty of convenient, safe and affordable parking. Covered parking is a plus, especially on hot, rainy, or snowy days. But uncovered surface parking might be preferable to a maze-like parking garage. As with your office space, you’ll want enough parking for current and future employees and for visitors.
Talking to Other Office Building Tenants
Finally, it’s a good idea to talk to existing tenants to get their opinions on the space before you sign a lease. What’s it like working in the building and being in that part of town? Is the landlord or management company responsive and pleasant to interact with? Have there been any major issues? Are tenants satisfied? If it’s a small space where you’ll be the only tenant, you can still talk to neighbors about the location.
Whatever type of office space you need, Denver’s diverse commercial real estate market can provide it. Need help in your search? Let us know and we’ll work with you to find the right space for your company.
Posted by Amy FontinelleFacebook LinkedIn Twitter