10 easy steps to set up a new office... or at least how we did it
It was in the middle of April when we gathered to discuss the need of a new office. We were 12 people situated in 3 apartments, yet it was a matter of time till we reached the capacity level that we’ve set – 17.
Fast forward to the middle of October - we were ready to move to a 600m2 floor in a proper office building. If I have to sum up the experience, I would come to these 10 steps:
STEP 0: Set yourself goals and deadlines
It is essential to know when you want to move and what are the important features you are looking for. Needless to say, we were a bit behind schedule, as we needed to move before the end of the calendar year, yet we had a clear idea what we considered as must-haves.
STEP 1: Create a designated task force
It was the second time at best for some of the team to organize such a move. It was the first for all at such magnitude. That is why having several viewpoints is important. First, it makes the decisions more deliberate. Second, you could split the work.
STEP 2: Find a real-estate partner
If you are in a hurry as we were, this is a maker or breaker. A proactive partner that is well aware of what you are looking for will save you precious time. That is why it might be a good idea to meet several agencies in order to ensure the best fit.
STEP 3: Limit your options
You will receive plenty of suggestions. As everywhere else, remember that less is more. Instead of spending inadequate time on lots of properties in the desire to know you have landed the best one, focus your attention on 3-4.
STEP 4: Beware the property management
You are not leasing only space – you are entering a relationship. If you sense that you will not be appreciated as a tenant from the very first meeting, walk away.
STEP 5: Research and take risks
Try to understand as much as possible as fast as possible – who are the current tenants, are they happy, are there other interested parties, etc. That will give you a better idea how to proceed. Don’t be scared to test the other side – the response will show you if there is any point to continue the discussion.
STEP 6: Find an interior design partner
Once you are fairly sure that you are close to striking a deal, it is time to think of what happens next – repairs & design. Again, it is good to meet several studios in order to make sure they will be in their comfort zone with the time frame and the style you would anticipate.
STEP 7: Close the deal within the deadline
Set a period in which you will be negotiating with the property management exclusively. Hopefully, the negotiations will come to a timely end. There is no need to be too greedy here – you will spend years at that place and reasonable is good enough. Time is of the essence and there might be others on the waiting list.
STEP 8: Have clear cost estimates and time frames
Spoiler alert: Buffers, buffers everywhere! Even if the interior designers and their subcontractors have their best intentions, the first estimates will be way off. That is why it is good to stretch your partners from the beginning.
STEP 9: Go on vacation
There is always room for some rest 😊. Most of the work has been done and you cannot speed up the process at this point anyway.
STEP 10: Push for the essentials
When you are back, make sure that the essentials will be in place at the time of the actual move. There are plenty of things that might wait for another week or a month and will not hurt neither comfort, nor productivity.