Estimated reading time: 5 mins
Creating a business that sells products or services that people genuinely want is just the first step if you want to be successful. Whether or not you turn a profit will depend on lots of other factors- from how well you market and advertise your company, to how good your customer service is, to how well your sales staff perform and much more. One factor to consider is your office, since a fantastic space will impress customers and clients and it also provides a good workplace for your employees. If business has been going well for quite some time and your company is generating regular profit, now is the time to start considering a long term investment with your office. If you’re currently renting, each month or year your earnings will take a hit as you pay whoever owns the building, so buying makes sense. And if you have it built from scratch then you can create the perfect environment for whatever it is you do. Here are ten questions to ask yourself before going ahead.
- Where should it be located?
The location you choose is always going to be important, but for some businesses it can be the difference between success and failure. If for example you’re a shop or retail business that requires a certain amount of foot traffic to generate customers then you need to be in a prime location such as a city, town or highstreet. If you don’t rely on foot traffic to generate customers for your business, then you could build your office a little further out of the city and town centres where you’ll get more for your money. For offices, warehouses and other businesses where you’re not dealing with customers directly then this is something that would suit you better.
- What kind of access is there?
Access is an important thing to consider for lots of reasons. If you’re a manufacturing plant, for example, being located close to a road, rail or even the ocean (if you ship overseas) can put you in the best position for receiving and sending goods. Other things to consider is access for your staff, clients and customers- make sure it’s wheelchair friendly and conforms to all laws surrounding this.
- How big should it be?
One of the main considerations you’ll need to think about when you’re building your own office premises is how big you’ll go. Don’t have a ‘the bigger the better’ attitude here since a bigger building will be more expensive to build as well as to run. However with that being said, you want to build large enough so that if you expand in the future, you don’t have to go through the hassle of moving to a completely different premises. Consider your plans for growth, if you build something that’s easily extend later on if you need to then it gives you freedom and future proofs your venture. Look into the construction of your modular office as an option, these prefab style constructions are perfect for adding to over time.
- What kind of layout would suit my business?
The layout is an important thing to get right in your office, you need to make it a pleasant and practical space to work. For example, if you position desks close to windows then you make the most of the natural light. On a psychological level this has been shown to make workers more alert and therefore more productive, and can also boost mood too. It will always depend on the nature of your business so there’s not a ‘one size fits all’ approach, but for the most part, having quieter and more private areas for phone calls and one-on-one meetings, as well as more open areas for group and collaborative work will suit many kinds of businesses.
- What will the social areas include?
Speaking of layout, the social areas in your business aren’t to be overlooked. You could go with a small kitchenette area with some tables so that employees can warm up food in the microwave and use the kettle, or just a room with some comfortable chairs, a coffee machine and a vending machine. Either way, a space to sit and relax on breaks
- Will I need to connect up utilities?
If you’re building your premises on a previously unused plot of land then you’ll need to find out what utilities are there. You might have to pay to have water, gas and electricity connected up. You might also need to pay for a soil test and other tests to ensure the land is ok to build on.
- How can I improve the security
Protecting your newly built office is crucial, so be sure to choose good doors and windows. A metal shutter can be installed which pulls down over the door and locks for an added layer of security. In the planning stages consider a buzzer system to restrict people being able to come in and out and the use of key fobs or car barrier systems for entry. CCTV and a burglar alarm are a must, do your research to find ones that are right for you.
- What kind of lighting is best?
Natural light is a mood booster, and psychologists have shown that lots of daylight in the office can even promote productivity. This is something to bear in mind when you’re planning the design of the building. You will of course need to have blinds fitted so you can adjust the light accordingly, but positioning desks close to windows and really maximising the natural light you can get into the space will benefit your employees enormously.
- What kind of decor should I go with?
Light, neutral shades are inoffensive and will make any space look bigger and brighter. The colour blue and living plants have both been shown to boost productivity so could be worth incorporating into your decor.
- What budget will I be working with?
Last but by no means least, you’ll need to think about your budget. Sit down and carefully plan spends for each area so that you’re not going over the designated amount.