How to Choose the Right Office Space: Location, Location, Location

This is the first in a three part series on choosing the right office space for your business.

Whether you are considering expanding out of your home office or just relocating, there are many factors that go into the selection of your new office location even before you start the interior design.

The first rule in real estate is location, location, location. But before anything else, assess your budget. What can you afford to spend on a per square foot basis? How much square footage will that get you in your first, second or third choice neighborhood?

One of my clients was recently faced with an important office decision stay or relocate? Her rent was about to increase 30% one year into her lease. Her number one priority was her office location. She is an investment manager in a small town with a prestigious address. Her clients would expect nothing less. Her office offered her close proximity to home so that she could be home when her children get off the school bus. She could walk to the post office, the train to New York City where she commutes at least once a week to see clients and to downtown for lunch or a cup of coffee.

Getting your office space location right can make or break your business. If you are a retail store, you want to be located with other stores, near lots of foot traffic, restaurants etc. If you are a technology firm, it may be less important to be located down town depending upon the types of employees and clients you want to attract and retain. And then of course there is the precarious balance between budget and your idea of the perfect place.

Here are some thoughts to keep in mind as you start your search.

1. What kind of neighborhood is it? Will your employees feel safe leaving there at any hour? If the cost per square foot is low check to see if the neighborhood has a repuation for safety. Likewise how will your clients feel coming to that neighborhood? Is it easy to get to? What image does the town or city project? Is it hot and trendy? Traditional or family oriented? Urban or suburban?

Source: archinect.com via Avery on Pinterest

Clients will make immediate judgements about your business simply from the address. My client needed her New Canaan, CT business address for that prestige. In Fairfield County, if you are a high end residential interior designer it doesn’t matter if you work from home but you must have a trendy town in your address – think Greenwich or Westport. If you are a corporate interior designer, having the Post Road or Stamford or Norwalk in your address is much better. And you are not nearly as likely to be working from home. Small boutiques fare best in small trendy towns while we expect to see our large corporate offices in our local cities.

2. Is your office readily accessible? What is the transportation like? Can your employees take a bus or a train to work? Is there ample parking for your employees and clients? Keep in mind that if you are interested in green initiatives that these questions take on even greater meaning. Can you provide a bus or van from the train station if you are located too far away? Assess your existing employees daily commute as it is now and compare it to your future location. Consider alternative travel routes for visitors and clients.

3. Which amenities are nearby? Are there local restaurants where your employees can have lunch or you can take a client for a meal? Is there a printer nearby for a last minute brochure? Can your assistant run out for office supplies if needed? Is there a local bank, pharmacy or grocery store, where your employees can run their errands at lunch or cash their paycheck? What about access to day care? Convenience buys lots of employee goodwill.

Next time join us for choosing the right building for your new office in part two of this series.

I am passionate about bringing my client’s brand to bear through the design of their space. Not only do we improve employees’ productivity and the functionality of your space but we ensure that your clients experience your company’s brand through your office environment.

To set up your complimentary consultation call for your new office, please contact us at info@averydesigninteriors.com.

Love to hear from you in the comments – what would be your number one factor in choosing your ideal office location?

(all photos found on Pinterest and attributed and linked as above)

Sixty Days in Real Estate

Sixty Days. Seems like a long time doesn’t it? We sold our house and had 60 days to find a new one. 60 days flew.

So wondering where I have been? Let’s catch up.

We sold our house in Norwalk in late July and had exactly 60 days to clean out, organize, pack, find a mover, find a new home, find an apartment in case we couldn’t find a new home…well you get the idea. Something had to give and it could not be my family or clients.

First task, find a real estate agent. We chose Phoebe Leask, of Emmy & Co. from Higgins Group to help us in the search for a new home. She and her team are incredibly knowledgeable about and connected in Fairfield and I didn’t have a minute to waste. I met Phoebe through my BNI Merritt Madness group and really liked her balance of warmth but ‘get it done’ business sense. Selling a home and then buying a new one is a highly emotional decision. I needed someone who understood what I was going through while simultaneously acknowledging that I had a long list of needs and wants for our new home and had to move fast.

Phoebe insisted that we have a needs list and a wants list. Our top three on the needs list were an open floor plan (something similar to the one above), master bath and back yard. Our daughter still has a playground and we love to entertain outdoors. Oh and it had to be close to our daughter’s school – that was non-negotiable. Ok, so we got down to four absolute musts. On the wants list were a 2 car garage, finished (or finishable) basement and a place to “live” during the renovation.

Phoebe and I looked at 40 different houses in two weeks – not the above 40 – but now I think I want this book. My husband saw only the ones we really liked. I knew what he wanted – a man cave – we are a good team that way.

We went round and round on negotiations for three houses over the course of five weeks. I was just amazed at dealing with sellers who didn’t really want to sell their homes. Really? All of those people tromping in and out. I couldn’t wait to be done! I was ready to throw in the towel and just rent a beautiful Avalon apartment for six months. The process was so stressful that I signed up for an exam prep course for the LEED Green Associate with Bill Janhonen. I plan on taking the exam in the next month. It was wonderful to go to class and think about something other than the move. But that’s another post.

With Hurricane Irene’s imminent arrival, we rushed to batten down instead of heading off to our much-needed vacation. Knowing that we were moving out mid-September, we did not have many groceries and the batteries and flashlights were already packed, but our generator was ready. By candlelight, I continued to organize and pack boxes. We were very fortunate to only have one downed large tree branch. You can imagine how concerned we were with a contract for sale.

Monday dawned bright and sunny. We packed the car and hit the road for Fenwick Island, DE.  While on the road, we received word from a lovely family at our church that we could rent their apartment close to school while we continued to look for our home. I breathed a momentary sigh of relief and then my husband said “I just want to move straight to our new home.” I realized that at that point it no longer mattered what the home was like, my husband was not willing to move twice.

There wasn’t a whole lot I could do – after all we were headed on vacation, so I simply put it out there to the universe “find me a new home that I actually want to live in.” The one we were negotiating on had so many problems – causing us too many sleepless nights before we even moved in.

It was the most relaxing vacation ever. Maybe it was just sheer exhaustion from the move, but I was in full vacation mode by Tuesday morning. We had important decisions to make each morning – beach? pool? boat? mini-golf? Every single day was absolutely glorious – it was hard to imagine that mother nature had just slammed us with a hurricane. I didn’t spend one minute thinking about where we would live when we got back home. I was much too busy having fun!

By Friday morning I had my answer. Phoebe sent me an email about a home that had just come on the market. It was the perfect size, the right price, a lovely little backyard and only a mile and a half from DD’s school. The catch? We wouldn’t see it until the following Wednesday because we were on vacation! We drove home that Tuesday in the after-effects of Hurricane Lee. With all of the rain here in CT, a tree fell across the Merritt Parkway so instead of seeing our new home we were left waiting some of us more patiently than others on the highway…

When we saw it Wednesday, we knew it was a perfect fit for us. From there, the entire process was so easy, we just knew it was right. We had a 10 night stint at a hotel in between closing dates, but it was fun and we had a kitchenette so we did not have to eat every meal out.

This was my view from our front door on the day we moved in. I didn’t ask for a sign, but I believe I received one anyway.

Now, we are negotiating piles of boxes, creating a rudimentary kitchen setup in the second kitchen downstairs (how great is that!) and interviewing contractors for the renovation. We are so happy in our new home. Sometimes, I can’t even believe it is true.

Stay tuned for posts on the renovation process…

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