So, your business has blossomed. First things first, congratulations! Businesses can often take years to get off the ground, and there are plenty of occasions during the startup where the CEO is likely to throw in the towel. This may well have happened to you – but the important thing is that you didn’t quit, and that is why you are where you are today. When your company finally starts to turn a profit, you will look at that money in a number of different lights and will have to carefully consider its distribution. Chances are most of it will be split in two different directions; going directly back into the company, and paying staff. But one way you may choose to re-invest this money is the company headquarters. Most startups work on a very basic level, sometimes in the owner’s home, or in a very simplistic office, to avoid massive overheads. While even big businesses like to keep overhead costs relatively little (who doesn’t?), splashing out on a larger and better workspace can actually be beneficial to your company in the long run. Why? Well, as your business expands, you will probably find that your workforce needs to do the same as well. Cramming yet more employees into your already tiny office space simply isn’t an option. Plus, you will struggle to attract high caliber staff if your office space is not up to scratch – remember the workforce has much higher expectations these days. A wider and more modernized work environment can also contribute to taking your business to the next level. If you’ve been dealing with ancient computer systems, slow Wi-Fi, a lack of basic facilities such as printers and scanners, and an overall drab interior, your business may well take a hit from all those factors. Using your profit to invest in high-quality software, hardware and amenities for your office can help your run a more efficient, successful business – and isn’t that what every CEO wants to do? Here are a few things to bear in mind when moving to a more advanced office space, and what you can do to ensure it all runs smoothly.
Know what you want
In those early stages, when you are looking for the perfect office space, try not to be swayed by somewhere purely based on looks. Sure, we are all bombarded with Pinterest-style images of cool, quirky office spaces, with even small businesses trying to replicate the Google office in their headquarters. But as nice as quirky decor, beanbag cushions, and colorful paint is, it’s not the be all and end all for when you are buying new commercial property. Remember, if you so wish to, you can always paint the place later yourself, or add in the kind of furniture YOU want to. Focus instead on the space, and practical things like the amount of electrical sockets available (after all, all those computers have to be wired up to somewhere). Of course, that’s not to say that aesthetics don’t still play a huge role in the workplace. Many startups end up working out of dingy, low-rent offices with exposed wiring and broken windows – simply because that’s all they can afford. If you’ve come into plenty of money, there’s nothing wrong with splashing out a bit on somewhere that looks good. A workspace that is easy on the eye can also feel much more inspiring for your employees – after all, no one feels that inspired when they’re kicking up a peeling carpet and staring at chipped paint on the walls. Plus, a shiny, modern workspace also looks good to clients and can help to give off a positive impression about your company. No more holding meetings in coffee shops down the road – you’ll be able to bring customers and investors right to your headquarters now, which immediately makes you appear much more professional. With that in mind, you may also want to pay specific attention to the location of your new office, as somewhere within an established business district could prove very useful for inter-business relationships.
Involve your staff
Remember it is not just you who is moving to this office – you’re likely to have a lot of staff moving over with you, or could potentially be hiring much more people once you are all settled in. Therefore, the opinions of these people count, especially the opinions of those who have been with you since day one. Hold a meeting to explain exactly what is going on, why you are moving and why you would like their input into the new workspace. This is particularly important if you often work away on business, and therefore do not actually spend much time in your current office. Things you may not normally think about could actually have a negative impact on your team’s ability to work efficiently, so it is vital that you listen to their suggestions. Doing so will also make them feel more included and respected as employees, which can only be a good thing. Remember that although your workspace needs to be designed around productivity, having some areas for downtime is just as important. Studies show that employees perform much better when they take regular breaks throughout the day, the most important one being a lunch break where they are not simply sat at their desk. With this in mind, make sure your new office space has an area where staff can relax – whether this is a separate room entirely (like a staff room), or a sofa-based area away from the computers and desks.
Allow yourself plenty of time
You may think that moving house is hard – until you try your hand at moving into a commercial property. Not only do you have to cater for the needs of a large number of people, but you are also dealing with heavy, delicate equipment, such as computers, scanners, and printers. Don’t think for even a second that you’ll be able to do it all in one day – you should start moving things over as early as possible, so when you finally need to hand your keys over, you have as little on your plate as possible. It can also be worth making a point of hiring a commercial removalist, as they will understand your needs as a business owner better than anyone. Moving is stressful enough without having to worry about your expensive equipment getting damaged, so if you are dealing with experts, you will know that you are in safe hands. Another reason why you will want to give yourself enough time to move everything over is, so the move doesn’t affect daily life in the office. Of course, you can pretty much guarantee that you will lose at least one working day to the move unless you decide to do it all over the weekend. But this isn’t always possible for everyone. Try making a list of everything you and your team use in your office on a daily basis, and rank the items from ‘essential’ to ‘not important.’ This will help you to decide what can go to the new place first, and what you need to leave until the last day. There’s no point in you taking away all the computers on Monday, when your official move day isn’t until Thursday. Your team will be without a means to work, and you will lose time and therefore revenue. Try not to assume either that every single member of your team will be willing to help with the move. If your business has a loose hierarchy, and you perhaps work with people who are your partners, they may be willing to help you move stuff over and arrange things to do with the transition. But you shouldn’t expect everyone to chip in, especially if they are not going to be paid for their time.
Like with any huge change in your life, moving your business into its first real headquarters is something of a milestone. Everyone knows that commercial property costs money – not only to buy but to maintain, and to make your own. That is why it is not something that should be overlooked within your business. See the move as a chance to look back over everything your business has achieved over the past few years, and encourage your staff to celebrate along with you. You don’t need to do anything lavish, especially because you may be reluctant to dip into any more of the company funds. But simply cracking open a few beers with your team after hours in your fancy new workspace is enough to mark the occasion, and bring about that much-needed camaraderie. When you are blessed with a beautiful and functional office, coming into work seems like much less of a chore, and this is something you should see reflected in your team too.