Is looking for office space a looming project for your small business? Sure, at the start of your venture, you may be reluctant to take on full or part-time staff. You may not be able to commit to regular wages and other employee benefits, such as annual leave, sick leave, parental leave, compassionate leave, and more.
This is where outsourcing becomes useful. You can draw in expertise in different fields on a project-by-project basis that can be cut off at any time and doesn’t require committed benefits.
However, eventually, this will prove insufficient, too, as you’ll need people dedicated to helping your business in particular and to pay attention to it on an ongoing, daily basis. This generally happens when demand rises, profits increase, and is when you will find yourself taking on staff. Of course, if you have a team on board, you may need to provide them with office space to work. Here’s a step-by-step guide to managing this process.
Do You Need an Office
Start by asking yourself whether you need office space or an office building. The coronavirus pandemic saw many businesses switching to work-from-home arrangements. Of course, this only worked for staff who can work online and don’t need to engage with customers or clients face-to-face. But if this is the type of work your team will be carrying out, you may want to consider remote working as a permanent and ongoing option.
This type of working arrangement came hand in hand with a host of benefits for both employee and employer, so it’s not surprising that many businesses have decided to stick to this model. From the employees’ point of view, working from home can significantly reduce outgoings that would usually be spent on commuting and parking. It also saves them a lot of time, as they don’t have to commute and ensure they work in an environment tailored to themselves. From your perspective, having a remote team means you don’t have to fork out for commercial premises and the expenses that come hand in hand with running and maintaining them. This can work exceptionally well if you and your team are happy with this arrangement.
Choosing a Commercial Office Space
If you decide to have an office for your team, you should make time and effort to choose a suitable space. Of course, you’ll have to start by creating a budget. Offices don’t tend to come cheap, so you need to know how much you’re willing to spend to secure one. Only you can understand how much this figure amounts to. Once you have your budget, you can start browsing different options. Start by looking into location. You want something affordable but accessible. If your office is in the middle of nowhere, you can find it challenging to secure high-quality staff who will be more drawn to accessible and convenient options.
Office spaces in the city are popular for a good reason – they tend to have good transport links nearby, and many people will live relatively close to the workplace. You should also consider the size. How much space do you need to house your staff and any recruits you may be considering taking on shortly?
Next, parking. Most people who drive to work would much prefer an office space with free parking, as charged parking can significantly cut their income. If you don’t have an office with free parking, you may need to consider subsidizing or covering employees’ parking costs.
You’re going to have to maintain your office space. This is important on several levels. First, some maintenance will be for the sake of health and safety. For example, if you have electrical problems, you will need to use the services of an electrician to resolve the issue before staff can safely work in the space. If you have roofing problems, you will need to call in flat roofing contractors.
Plumbing problems require a plumber and so on. You will also have to ensure that you maintain any equipment your staff use while in the office. This primarily includes PAT testing, ensuring that electronics are in good condition and safe for all.
You need to make sure that your office space is clean. This is important for general hygiene, to create an excellent working atmosphere, and to ensure that your office is presentable for any guests who may turn up – whether that’s partners, clients, or anyone else. Of course, implementing some ground rules with your staff will help with this. You should set clear rules on what does need to be cleaned by your team.
For most office spaces, this is their mugs after being used and ensuring that their desks are clean and clear. You can hire cleaning staff to attend your office out of hours to carry out the actual cleaning that needs to be completed. This can include dusting, vacuuming, cleaning kitchen countertops, and also cleaning the toilets. Then, it would help if you considered using professionals in window cleaning for glass within your office, windows, and more.
Many office spaces have some grounds around them. This is great in giving your team somewhere to relax and spend time outdoors, taking a good break from their desks and their work at hand. But, of course, you do need to look into grounds maintenance. Some shared office spaces charge a grounds maintenance fee, meaning you don’t need to prepare maintenance yourself. Instead, the property management company will take care of this. If not, you may find that you’re responsible for grounds maintenance. This will mean calling in gardeners or landscape designers to take care of the space on your behalf.
Make sure to provide your team with quality furniture. This is a standard for office management, and you should ensure that all furniture is ergonomically designed. This will ensure that your team is well supported by ergonomic chairs, desks, footrests, backrests, and more, reducing the chances of developing issues like repetitive strain syndrome. Make sure to check the state of furniture regularly, as it will experience wear and tear on an ongoing basis. Replace any worn furniture or equipment as and when necessary. This will ensure that you don’t experience issues with furniture breaking and potentially harming your team throughout the working day.
As you can see, there are a fair few areas of focus that you need to consider when creating and maintaining an office space suitable for your team. Hopefully, some of the guidance above will help you to keep on top of this, choosing the best options to suit your own needs and your team’s needs. Take your time, review your options, and you’ll eventually reach the conclusions that best suit you.