BLOG: Finding the perfect office in Northants & Bucks

BLOG: Finding the perfect office in Northants & Bucks

06 August 2019

Whether you’re a well-established business or a start-up, finding the right premises can be a challenging task. With growing evidence to suggest that the environment we work in impacts on everything from employee well-being to productivity, it’s essential that any workspace is right for the workforce while being a cost-effective solution for the business.

Jon Silversides, Partner at Carter Jonas, has a wealth of experience in the commercial property sector. Here he shares his tips on what to look for when searching for the perfect office space in the region…

Finding New Office Space – A Checklist
An office move signals a new chapter in the story of every business, but if you’re the business owner then the pressure is on to get it right.

The three key points to consider when searching for the right office space are the location, cost and the facilities offered by the accommodation. The following suggestions will help to narrow down your options:

• Are the premises located within the right community?
• Are they in a suitable location for existing employees?
• Are they located conveniently for clients, suppliers or distributors?
• Are there any public transport links?
• How suitable are local amenities?
• Are there any extra benefits to relocating to a certain area? For example, locations with Enterprise Zone status offer business rates and tax relief

A location that offers a calendar of fun social events – thereby helping your business to attract and retain the best people – can also have obvious added benefits.

What is the overall budget for your office move? As well as taking into account the cost of new premises, including rents, rates and service charges, you will need to budget for every aspect of the move, including:
• Deposit on new premises
• Removals
• Staff costs, including recruitment, redundancy or relocation
• IT and telecoms systems
• Legal and professional services, including commercial agents and insurance
• Office design and fit-out
• Furniture and office supplies suitable for the new premises
• Updating marketing materials, such as business cards and brochures

Jon says: “The main costs businesses overlook are exit liabilities in their existing contract. This can be key to establishing a budget, as businesses with large exit costs may just stay put and, frankly, quite a few companies begin the process before realising how expensive it will be.”

Type of office: serviced, semi-serviced or non-serviced?
• Do you need an open plan office space?
• Will you need meeting rooms or quiet working areas?
• How much car parking space will your staff require?
• Can staff access public transport?
• Are there kitchen facilities?
• Do you need a reception area?

Serviced offices, like those in Silverstone Park’s Innovation Centre, are ideal for those who want a quick set-up and be ready to go from day one, with phone and internet installation already completed. Serviced offices are equipped and furnished, giving businesses the ability to turn up, plug in and switch on. Having a managed office means you can concentrate on the job at hand and benefit from having support staff available should any issues arise, as well as cleaning, reception and security services.

Jon says: “Everyone’s checklist will vary when viewing office space. Occupiers looking for serviced offices will primarily be looking for an easy solution with desks, plug and play capabilities and flexibility on the licence.

“Once costs are confirmed, the second consideration will be deciding whether they like the space, break out areas and amenities, and how these reflect the needs of the business.”

New offices win every time
Character properties and newly built premises – particular when at a world famous location like Silverstone Park – can both offer the ‘wow-factor’. However, when it comes to the age of the property, newly built or refurbished offices will offer a better spec.

As well, older properties can appear less expensive on paper but in fact turn out to be more costly due to fixing hidden issues such as heating or electrics. Issues with Wi-Fi coverage could also impact on your business directly.

Jon adds: “Repair obligations can impact on budgets and there is potential for these to be costlier in older buildings.

“Modern offices tend to be purpose-built and well maintained, so are designed for this specific use.”

Planning Ahead
Once the location, budget and required facilities have been agreed, you’ll need to appoint a project manager. They will be responsible for creating a timetable of activity to ensure the move is carried out efficiently and effectively.

Jon comments: “In terms of planning the move for your business, for serviced offices it will only take a matter of months, but for a larger space it can be longer.”

Your project manager will need to co-ordinate every aspect, which will include finding and securing the right premises, organising completion and move dates, and ensuring services such as internet and phones are operational in time for the big move.

Jon adds: “The common mistakes I see that result in additional costs to clients are not being able to get IT set up in time and leaving matters too late to secure the space they are interested in.”

If you’re looking for office space or a larger business premises in Buckinghamshire or Northamptonshire, CLICK HERE to discover more Silverstone Park’s flexible approach to renting commercial property and the options available across the estate.