01 Jan 5 Tips before you commit to a Lease
Before you commit to a lengthy lease term, that could have not only significant financial implications, for your business, but also performance and efficiency implications, take a moment to read through our 5 key steps.
1. Have a clear picture of the next 5 years
Now is the optimum time for your organisation to review their strategic objectives and goals:
1. What will your business look like in 5 years time?
2. How many staff will you employ?
3. Who will your clients be?
4. How will you be perceived in comparison to your competitors?
5. What type of work will you be doing?
What technology may have been invented that changes the way your employers perform their jobs and you service your clients?
These are only a few of the questions that should be considered through this phase. By understanding how all these elements will perform or evolve over the coming years, you’ll have a better handle on what type of space your organisation will need, enabling you to accommodate your changing needs throughout the term of your lease.
2. Review how you use your current space
Typically our offices have tended to morph over time to suit our changing business needs, however rarely do they actually support what we intended them to do. Meeting rooms get converted into offices and support spaces become store rooms. Our filing systems may be outdated and our archiving process’ neglected. By conducting a through review of how you presently use your space, you may find that the space you are using is not as efficient as it could be. So purely extrapolating out your present space to accommodate an “X” increase in head count, may put you far from the mark in terms of how much space you actually do need.
Conversely there will also be elements of your current environment that work well and you will want to identify these and replicate them in your new environment.
3. Get buy in from your staff
Whilst many organisations are reluctant to ask their staff what they think, this can be a very empowering process for both the organisation and the employees. By exploring the employee’s perception of how they could perform better, faster more efficiently, may lead you to a better understanding of the current inefficiencies in your present space and how your new space can provide for this. You may already have a good idea about these aspects, often there is a curve ball that you had never considered.
If you are concerned about staff becoming disgruntled because you didn’t adopt their awesome idea to put a foosball table in the reception, preface the conversation by informing them “that whilst the idea’s that we are sure you will put forward will enhance the performance of the business, we may not be able to adopt every suggestion”. Communication is critical throughout this time, and an effective change management strategy may also be required to help with the transition.
4. Develop a prescriptive space brief
A detailed brief of all the aspects that you have identified through this process should be outlined in a brief that can be provided to your internal coordinator to facilitate and execute with your external professionals. This brief should contain information about;
1. your preferred location
2. specific building amenities – showers, bike racks etc
3. an indication of the amount of space you require, how many staff you employ and look to employ
4. minimum floor plate size – in order to keep departmental relationships as tight as possible
5. the style of fit out you intend to occupy – is it predominantly open plan, high volume of offices, lots of meeting rooms etc
6. any specific organisational prerequisites – a data centre, high volumes of storage [weight], call centre etc
By having a clear overview of what type of space you are looking to occupy you can quickly eliminate premises that do not fit your specific requirements. There may be numerous options available for you to lease, however when you look carefully at your organisations unique requirements, you will generally find, that there may only be a handful of true possibilities
5. Bring in the professionals
Engaging the services of professionals to guide you through this extremely important process can make a significant difference to the return you can achieve on this investment.
A workplace strategist can guide you through these preliminary phases of establishing your prescriptive brief, in order to establish exactly what it is that your organisation needs to support its daily operations. By engaging with a workplace strategist as early as possible you increase your rate of success in getting it right. Your strategist can then aid you in briefing your tenancy advocates/leasing agent along with your design and project management teams down line, ensuring that the critical success factors that you have identified through this preliminary phase are executed. The value that a workplace strategist can bring you can be quite significant, saving you on the amount of space you lease will not only save you on rent, but also on fit out costs, operational and maintenance costs. At the very minimum they will be able to save you their fee.
A Tenant Advocate can not only assist you with finding the space, but they can provide valuable assistance in negotiating lease terms that can save you a huge amount of money. Each lease has a number of negotiable items that can be adjusted in your favour, with the right information and persuasion; $/sqm, annual increases, incentives, lease terms, options etc. All of this is money saved that you can then retain in your business.
Spending time now to forecast what your future will look like will ensure that you have given your organisation the best chance of getting its property requirements right. It’s important to remember that in these early phases of planning, whilst you may only be 5% of the way through the process of relocating to a new office, you have already made decisions that have committed over 65% of your capital costs.