Choosing the right office space is one of the most important decisions for your business. Think of it this way—your business will be “living” at the location you choose for some time. Most likely the lease will be one that’s long-term, with fees for breaking the lease early. For these reasons, it pays to take time to find the right office location. Avoid rushing into any lease agreement or office space, as this could harm or even ruin your business.

We’ve put together some tips to help you find the best location and the best office space for your startup or SME.

1). Location

The best location for the office will be in an area that offers the best benefits for your company. The premises should be in an area where there are a number of amenities. But there’s more to consider:

Good transportation links: is the office site an easy commute for you and your employees? Is the office centrally located and close to transportation hubs such as bus, train, taxi, and more? Next, consider whether visitors, such as clients and partners, will be able to find the location easily. Your office location needs to be easy for everyone to find and reach via various transport methods. If the office you’d like isn’t easy to get to, then it’s best to look for another location that’s a better fit.

Amenities: the best location will be near restaurants, shops, coffee shops and more. Is the location near places where employees can go for lunch or a cup of coffee? Are there restaurants nearby where you can take clients and partners for dinner or drinks? And are there shops nearby where it will be easy to buy office supplies? The best location will be near a bank, pharmacy, shopping area, restaurants, and more. Everyone will be thankful—from employees to visitors.

Safe & secure neighbourhood: sometimes you may find an office where the rent is too good to be true. The reason it’s so cheap may be that the area is not safe. You’ll need to make sure the area is safe and that everyone feels secure when out and about in the area, or when they park their cars. And don’t just think of the area, also consider the route(s) everyone will take to the office. If these run through unsafe neighbourhoods, then it’s best to find a different office.

2). Office Size

Next, it will be necessary to choose an office that is the right size for your business, no matter what type of lease you want. Be sure to consider your company’s current needs, as well as predict future growth. Future growth could mean you’ll need additional employees, so it’s best to include them in the equation, too.

The office will need to be the right size to fit in all the office furniture (desks, chairs, and more), along with all the office equipment needed to run the business. And don’t forget to factor in storage area for supplies. Consider, too, if there’s enough space to allow the employees to have a break-room. You may even need to include space for a meeting room.

3). The Building

The building will need to be one that provides you a reputable place to conduct business. Building considerations include:

Is the building in good shape: Does the company that manages the building ensure the premises are in good repair? One way to answer this question is to take a look at the outside of the building. Look for any kind of issues that indicate the building is not taken care of. And remember, this includes any type of landscaping: the grass should be clipped, shrubs and other plants pruned, etc. You want to avoid a dilapidated building, as this can cause a dent in your company’s reputation.

Inside the building, carefully review the office spaces. You may not be taken on a tour of the entire building but check to see that any spaces you do review don’t have chipped paint, dirty carpeting, furniture that’s falling apart, and more. It may even be possible to visit with current tenants (or past tenants) to ask them if the building is well maintained, as well as their office space.

Is there a major building project planned: this may include updates to the building, additions and new construction, and more. You want to move into an office where there will be minimal disruptions. For instance, major building projects (or even small ones) could mean a disruption in utilities and other services, which would mean downtime for your business. Other considerations are the noise levels and resulting mess from such projects. Do you and your employees want to deal with these issues for months on end? If not, then it’s best to move on.

4). The Lease

The type of lease is also important to consider when searching for the right office space. Here, you’ll need to consider the type office you’re looking for. These days you’ll find these types of office spaces the most common:

  • Serviced offices
  • Coworking spaces
  • Traditional office spaces

Both coworking spaces and serviced offices generally offer a flexible lease, where you pay one monthly fee (rent) that covers everything. The lease may be short- or long-term, and it will cover everything needed to run your business. This may include:

  • Office furniture
  • Office equipment
  • IT network & WiFi
  • Utilities (including energy, water and all)
  • Reception services
  • Maintenance and repairs (covered by the management)
  • Meeting rooms (this may be included in the rent, but most often, these may be an add-on cost that you only pay when using the room)
  • On-site gym
  • Showers
  • Fully stocked kitchen
  • Storage (for bikes and other things)
  • Security
  • Move-in quickly (as space is available)

With a traditional office, on the other hand, most landlords use a long-term lease. The term of the lease will be anything from 1 year on up. For this type of office, you may also be required to pay the rent before moving in and may need to have an excellent credit score. In addition, the terms of the lease may make you responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the office space, which can be expensive for a new company or a startup.

There’s a lot to consider when looking for the right office space for your company. Following these tips can save you a lot of time and effort in finding the best office space for your business.