There are many factors to consider when it comes to planning an office relocation. Read this guide for tips.
Relocating a portion of your operation can be incredibly expensive, let alone relocating the entirety of your business. But sometimes, it’s worth doing – whether as a first step towards expansion, as a move to a more profitable region, as part of a merger, or as part of a major restructuring effort.
Managing an office relocation means being aware of each contributing or associated factor, from taking into account changes to commutes, to considering immediate costs (the cost of the move, the cost of new equipment, down payment on a new location, and so on) as well as long-term changes (changes to shipping and supply costs, changes in distribution, property tax changes, payroll changes, impact on your working capital and cash flow for the fiscal year, and so on).
Let’s tackle a potential office relocation one step at a time.
The Office Relocation
Regardless of what your motivations are for relocating the office, the first thing you will need is a viable location to move to.
Assessing viability means determining your budget for leases or mortgage payments, utilities, and other overhead costs, as well as a few basic requirements, such as proximity to the current location, especially if you plan to expand the business and keep it, and the general cost of a move to the new location.
Then there are the smaller, yet critical considerations, such as the proximity of your new location to public transport options, ease of commute for your current employees (and yourself!), and nearby parking. Yes, parking. A parking nightmare outside your new office can not only sour every morning and afternoon but can also make it harder for clients who want to visit your business. Distance to the nearest airport or train station becomes an important consideration for that same reason, as well.
Moving a small crew with a few workstations and a printer across town is nowhere near as expensive as moving a 100-person office setup to another city. These moving costs must be taken into consideration when determining whether any given location is viable.
If you’re a smaller company with intentions to expand upon moving, your choice of location may be determined by nearby universities and the saturation of the local talent pool.
Cities with better learning and working opportunities for developers and coders will be more attractive to a tech company than the middle of nowhere. With that, however, comes an associated cost – it’s a lot more expensive to open up shop in Palo Alto than in Boulder, Colorado.
If you’re relocating to an office of a similar size, then you may want similar monthly costs. But if you’re expanding, you will need to have the additional capital needed to relocate to a bigger and better location. One way to shoulder that cost is to reconsider your transition, by restructuring the workplace to save costs.
A Total Restructure
The benefits of moving into a different town may heavily outweigh the costs, especially if it means being in closer proximity to a greater talent pool and a larger client list. But you still need ways to make the costs work.
Restructuring the business to go partially remote or creating a hybrid remote setup may allow you to cut the costs of relocating by opting for a smaller headquarters, especially if COVID has helped you restructure to a hybrid setup anyway.
COVID forced many businesses and offices to adopt better work-from-home policies, and while many companies have celebrated the return to the office, a significant portion of workers want to continue having at least the option to work from home, or work remote in some capacity, visiting the office a few times a month at most.
The benefits of going at least partially remote also include giving employees who don’t want to relocate to another part of town (or another region entirely) the option to continue to work from home in a part-time or full-time capacity, so you save yourself the trouble and immense cost of having to rehire and train a significant portion of your workforce.
Integrating remote work as part of your office relocation can help make it more feasible by letting you opt for a better, smaller location as a physical base for your business while utilizing the opportunity to focus on improving your online infrastructure, creating a better intranet portal for your employees, and improving your company’s protocols and policies surrounding remote work and work-from-home.
The Benefits of Coworking
Another alternative to relocating to new office space of your own is to utilize the perks of an established workspace to dramatically cut down on overhead costs, eliminate the financial impact of a substantial down payment, and enjoy the perks of a fully branded, fully furnished tech-oriented workspace in a prime location at a fraction of the anticipated costs of moving to a new location of your own.
Coworking spaces help independent contractors, freelancers, and small startups find their footing in a new town and benefit from the trappings of traditional office space while offering unique benefits, from a community of experienced professionals for networking opportunities to the flexibility of leasing a workspace on a monthly basis with no long-term commitments or upfront cash deposits.
But they are also ideal for smaller companies or businesses looking to relocate or establish a satellite office in a new region. The ubiquity of the coworking space in both established and growing tech cities helps businesses all over the country greatly minimize the headache and expense of relocating to nearly any region, while offering much greater flexibility than a conventional commercial office lease.
Enabling a Smooth Transition
Whether you’ve decided to relocate to a larger office, a smaller office, a nearby office, a region far away, or a coworking space with a hybrid setup, the key to a smooth relocation is planning things far in advance.
Give proper notice to your employees several months before the move is planned, and make sure your clients know to expect some turbulence as you get things packed up and set up in your new location.
Planning around a quieter time of the year will help ensure that you can focus on the logistics of relocation without simultaneously managing a full workload. Thinking long-term helps as well. If a move to a different city would do your business good, but you cannot afford a physical location of your own, a coworking space can become a useful transition space for your company to grow and expand until you can take on a commercial lease, and transform your own space.