How to choose the right Office Space?

Choosing New Office Space to Boost Business Performance

The right choice of office could positively affect the accelerated growth of your business, attract the best and brightest, reduce staff turnover and improve workplace productivity. What’s more, it’s absolutely possible for your office rental costs to be completely offset as a result of these benefits.

That’s right: your new office space could essentially cost you nothing at all. So says Darren Bilsborough of Adelaide-based Office Space Matters in his book Don’t Worry About the Rent: Choosing New Office Space to Boost Business Performance.

An engineer and property industry advocate who has spent a lifetime working in and on commercial offices, Darren was working on the development of a new office building in Adelaide’s CBD when he realised that neither the office designers nor the real estate professionals selling the concept to prospective businesses were focussed on the most important decision-making factor for potential tenants: How will this decision affect my business?

“This was despite the fact that all the presentations and sales pitches included answers to the great majority of each prospective tenant’s central questions, such as location, access to services, property management, design, engineering systems and, of course, leasing costs,” recalls Darren. “Unfortunately, most of the answers to these questions are delivered in a manner that makes it even more confusing for a tenant to make a clear, rational and definitive decision on a best for business basis.”

There are a number of common reasons for this confusion, says Darren, including:

  • Business owners have no framework to follow for determining value when considering issues such as location, access to services, property management and design.
  • They don’t have the knowledge of engineering systems to really understand the impacts on their business.
  • This translates as an inability to properly assess all the options that might be available to them in the marketplace.
  • The market itself is confused about the various rating systems that might be useful in assisting a decision-maker to rank options.
  • They don’t know who to engage to help them in the process as most of the consultants would appear to be too conflicted to provide independent advice.

“There are very few resources available to business owners and managers to assist them with matching the needs of their businesses to a process for evaluating the various workplace options that might be available to them,” says Darren.

Darren has therefore developed an approach, targeted specifically at those responsible for running a business or for making corporate real estate decisions on behalf of the business, to show that their choice of office building can improve business performance by addressing four key elements of risk that exist when occupying inappropriate office space:

  1. Strategic – being situated in a location that does not suit the nature of your business
  2. Resource – high staff turnover due to poor working conditions and low morale
  3. Operational – poor operational efficiency and low workplace productivity
  4. Reputation – failure to communicate brand and manage client expectations

In Don’t Worry About the Rent, Darren guides the reader through four key questions:

How can I choose an office that best suits my business?

“By addressing the fundamental questions of why you are in the business you are in, what exactly that business is, and how it is that you do business, you will gain clarity around the context of locations, office size and facilities for your new office. These relationships are not always clear to business owners, but they are critical factors in contributing to business success.”

How can my choice of office attract the best and brightest staff to my business and keep them happy and healthy?

“One of the major concerns for all business owners is the attraction and retention of staff. Not only can your choice of office be a significant draw or deterrent for your employees, it can also contribute to making them feel healthier and happier.”

How can my choice of office increase operational efficiency and workplace productivity?

“The ‘silver bullet’ for all businesses is to find ways to increase productivity while maintaining or even increasing efficiency. Understanding efficiency and productivity measures is key to adding the value that could offset your rental costs to the extent that you can get your office space for ‘free’.”

How can my choice of office enhance my brand and positively affect my clients?

“A key focus of business owners is ensuring they have happy clients. Do your clients really care where your office is? Do they care what it looks like? Do they feel like they would like to visit? Do you want them to visit? Each of these questions needs to be critically evaluated when thinking about your next office.”

Darren’s view is that the workplace is not just a destination, but an important tool in a suite of instruments available to anyone seeking to improve the performance of their business.

“By not putting sufficient care into your choice of business premises you are missing one of the greatest opportunities available to your business for dramatically improving its performance in terms of top-line revenue and bottom-line profit, whilst also creating a life for yourself with much lower levels of day to day stress.”

Darren has been nominated in Architectural Record as one of the 70 greatest mechanical and structural engineers of all time from around the world, has worked with former Vice-President of the United States, Al Gore, and has been acknowledged as one of the “founding fathers” of the green building movement in Australia. He is also widely recognised as a speaker of note on building and infrastructure for the built environment and is currently Director and Studio Leader at Adelaide-based Hames Sharley architects.

For further information or to purchase Darren’s book, visit Office Space Matters.

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