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How to project manage your office move

Does your next office move still seem a long way off? Time moves fast – and so too do the hottest London workspaces. If your lease expires in or before Spring 2017 – now is exactly the right time to put your planning process into gear, to avoid a last minute scramble (and missing out on your spot of choice).

If you’ve been tasked with project managing the move, here’s what should be on your radar right now…

Define your business objectives

What do you want to achieve from the move? On a basic level, you need to accommodate your team, so an accurate assessment of near-future staffing levels is essential. Lease expiry and/or the need for more space tend to be the most common triggers for relocation, but don’t overlook the additional business benefits that could be gained from the right move. Other than ‘more desk space’, points to consider may include the following:

Brand enhancement
How well does your current address and the characteristics of the workspace align with the message and tone that you want your company to give out? What would you change to make it a better fit? One top priority could be to enhance your ability to impress clients.

Facilitating new ways of working
Perhaps you’d like to be more agile in terms of open, collaborative workspaces and hot-desking – it’s just that your current office layout is holding you back.

Joining the hub
Would your commercial litigation team benefit from a shift closer to Chancery Lane? Or for a tech firm, are you a little too far from Old Street for comfort? Your next move could be the opportunity for your firm to move into your zone of choice.

Draw up your wish list
You’ve defined your motives and what your business wants to achieve from the move. It’s now time to focus on bricks and mortar. Rather than browsing the market at random, the search process can be made much more efficient if you have a benchmark to work against: a hypothetical picture of your ‘ideal’ office space.

Ask a HR manager, a client account exec and a Chief Technology Officer for their opinion on what features a new office ought to have, and you’re likely to get three different answers. As such, when compiling your list, make sure you consult with key people from each department of the business to ensure that all bases are covered.

Features to focus on include:

  • Budget
  • Capacity
  • Location
  • Specific usage needs (office layout, executive offices, reception area, number of meeting rooms, presentation suites, mail room, secure storage. etc.)
  • IT facilities (power and data points, cabling, comms/server rooms, telephony, backup power, on-site support)
  • Staff facilities (kitchen, toilets, break out spaces, showers)
  • Building facilities (secure 24-hour access, disabled access, lifts, concierge, gym, parking)
  • Local facilities (nearest tube, bars, shops, sandwich shops)

You can fine tune this further, by differentiating between your core criteria (essential features that your new office must have) and secondary requirements – i.e. desirable characteristics that could help you narrow down your search if you have a number of options to decide between.

Starting your planning process early maximises the chances of being able to hone in on a property that ticks as many of your boxes as possible – before someone else snaps it up. The longer you leave it, the further you may have to stray from your ‘ideal’ new office.

Assess the market (and make sure you’re in safe hands)

Your objective is the best possible deal on a lease that meets all of your core criteria and as many as possible of your desired secondary features.

To find that deal and make sense of the market, expert input is essential. Your commercial property agent should have detailed knowledge of the area you are focusing on and should be able to give you full and frank advice on how to make best use of your budget.

A word of caution here: academics and industry insiders have recently highlighted the potential problems associated with “double dipping” (agents acting for landlord and tenant). You can address the potential conflicts of interest risks associated with this by instructing an agent that acts solely for occupiers.

Preparing for moving day

Fast forward to 2017.

You’ve planned early, which means with the help of your agent, you’ve been able to secure an optimum arrangement on an office that promises to meet your organisation’s forthcoming goals.

This early planning also means that the deal corresponds exactly with the expiry date of your current lease, meaning that you haven’t had to implement any awkward stop-gap arrangements. Your removals specialists have been booked well in advance and your IT team have their plan worked out to ensure zero business interruption.

Most importantly of all, your team is primed and can’t wait to move in.

So now, back to the present. For expert, unbiased advice on the London market and help on all aspects of keeping your move on track, contact DeVono Cresa for an initial meeting today on +44 (0)20 7096 9911, or email us at info@devonocresa.com.

 

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