As you begin to grow your company and hire full-time employees, you’ll quickly run into one of the biggest challenges you’ll face as a company – finding high-quality office space. In most cities, landlords will be looking for companies that will sign leases for five-year or ten-year terms to maximize their return on investment. But as a rapidly expanding startup, you’ll want to find something on a more short-term basis so you can move out as soon as you require more space.
Because of this split in what you need as a startup and the demands of potential landlords, you’ll need to be diligent in finding the best office space for your company’s needs. Here, you’ll find five tips from startup founders and experts in the space to help you find the perfect office space for your business.
Make A List of Needs
Before you even begin looking at potential office spaces, sit down with your co-founders and important employees. Together, form a list of all of the things you need in an office space. Do you need a kitchen? Perhaps you are looking for standing desks or an open-office floor plan? All of the options and perks you want in a space should be written down, then whittled down to a list of the main features you absolutely need and a list of wanted features that would be great to have but not totally necessary.
With these factors in mind and more, create a checklist of items that you can look for every time you visit a new space. Andrew Bermudez, CEO and co-founder of the startup Digsy, believes that hashing out these details is essential for the long-term happiness of employees at your company.
Seek Out Incubators and Accelerators
An option you might consider as a startup founder is an incubator or accelerator. At this point, most major cities in the United States have spaces specifically designed to help promising startups get off the ground. These spaces provide support for startups in the form of office space and administrative support (e.g., front desk staff booking appointments and arranging networking events). Some even offer legal help and create networking events that help founders find new talent or find new investors.
Roy Dekel, CEO of real estate software company SetSchedule believes that “A co-working space provides a great option for immediate and sustained growth since you have the flexibility and infrastructure to eliminate much of the pain experienced with growth.”
Lock Down Your Budget
As a founder, there’s a constant struggle between wanting to tamp down on costs and wanting to impress your employees. That’s why it’s critical to get your budget completely settled before you start searching for office spaces, says Kristie Holden, a marketing expert at the software company Daylite. By knowing exactly what the maximum amount is that you’re willing to spend on office space, you won’t be as tempted to splurge on space when you see a sweet coffee machine or a room perfect for a ping-pong table.
Search for Open Spaces
While there has been a recent trend away from open-layout floor plans in office spaces due to a perceived loss of productivity, you still may want to consider office space that has open spaces. Research indicates that offices with plenty of natural lighting and open spaces for collaboration promote productivity while boosting employee happiness and retention. Don Catalano, CEO and president of the startup iOptimize Realty, suggests that optimal ratios of closed offices to open office space is key for company culture.
Weigh the Pros and Cons of Co-Working Spaces
If you’re running a lean startup, there’s a solid chance that you might not even need to be locked into a year-long space. Instead, the best choice for office space may be a local co-working space. These spaces have risen to prominence in the past decade, and with more and more employees expressing interest in remote work you may save significantly on costs by only renting office space for important company-wide meetings.
Jyoti Agrawal, an expert in global entrepreneurship, believes that co-working spaces are quickly becoming an enticing alternative for start-ups that are growing rapidly, as co-working spaces can quickly accommodate new employees the moment those employees are hired.
Finding an office for your startup is an effort that will take a significant amount of time and plenty of planning. You’ll need to dial into exactly what you want as a startup founder in terms of employee happiness, company culture, and budgetary feasibility. Don’t forget to consult mentors and other local startup founders as you undertake this journey. As you tour available office spaces, keep these tips in mind and you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect space.
Interesting related article: “What is a Startup?”