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Is moving the only answer?

Successful businesses often feel the squeeze. More staff, and more furniture and equipment means pressure on space. It’s easy to think that more space will solve the problems but is that really the case? A business move is not just about moving staff and equipment into a new space. There are associated relocation costs such as:

  • Space planning
  • Updating and printing new stationery and brochures
  • Updating marketing materials
  • Communicating the move to your customers and suppliers
  • New furniture and equipment
  • The removal itself

Sometimes a move may not be the only solution. Often your existing workplace can be reorganised to make day-to-day operations more efficient. Floor plans can be reconfigured and equipment moved to achieve space savings. Filing systems and storage areas can be reorganised, rationalised or reduced. Many companies discover that with a little innovation they can change the way they do things and make their current premises work harder for them.

An alternative view

As a first step, you need to understand the cost of space per person in your current environment. A simple staff and building audit will help to identify all the costs and might trigger ideas that challenge current space allocation and find new ways of working.

One approach is to challenge the way ‘we’ve always done things’ and be totally objective about the problems and the solutions.

Using a specialist and independent consultant to help you assess your current working environment can be money well spent because they will bring a fresh eye and new ideas to a review of work practices and space utilisation. They might achieve significant cost savings if the recommendation is that you needn’t move!

Your premises – a five-year strategy

If a move is the correct solution, focus on your premises requirements. Use your knowledge to draw up a simple five-year premises strategy.

Base your assumptions on fact and take account of:

  • Your business objectives
  • Future plans and expectations
  • The possible constraints
  • Your business performance over recent years

Create a "needs assessment" to include:

  • The space you require
  • The function of the premises
  • The location of the premises

A different point of view

It may be cost effective to appoint a consultant to produce the needs assessment from your strategy, produce a property search specification and work with commercial agents. You will benefit from a consultant’s property expertise and knowledge of the commercial market, as well as the time they will save you.

If you are looking to move your business, contact us today for more information about our business relocation services.

THE PITFALLS: We asked 250 organisations which factors negatively impacted their business move. The top five responses were:
  • Not enough planning
  • Design and commissioning flaws in the new facilities
  • Telephone and computer problems
  • Selecting the wrong suppliers
  • Motivating and managing staff
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What and where?

A needs assessment is a ‘wish list’ that will help you identify the premises you need by looking at three main areas.

Cost

You will probably have a good idea of whether you will be buying, renting or even building your new premises but don’t close your mind to the alternatives. There might be grants or incentives available that make a previously difficult idea more manageable. Sometimes just thinking about unlikely options can generate new ideas.

Apart from the costs of your building, include projections for the following running costs:

  • Business rates
  • Building service charge if you are choosing a multi-occupied building
  • Local charges such as the Congestion Charge in London
  • The legal advice and other professional advisers you might require to secure the premises you need

Facilities

Apart from workspace, consider your other requirements including:

  • Parking and vehicle access
  • Storage
  • Reception and meeting areas
  • Kitchen refreshment areas
  • Building services such as air conditioning, lifts and power supplies
  • Telecommunications
  • Local amenities - public transport, shops, banks, schools/nurseries, crèches

Location

Think about future workforce requirements Identify the transport links and infrastructure you might need – accessto motorways, ports or airports. Should you be in a city centre, or could you consider a rural location or business park on the outskirts of a town?

Next: Searching for new premises

Things to consider: pre-planning
  • Business needs assessment
  • Staff and building audit to see if moving is the way forward
  • Five-year premises strategy
  • Analyse costs, facilities and location
  • Consider all the possibilities
  • Investigate using a consultant when they can bring value