Five questions to ask before moving premises

Is your company evolving, growing, changing? Are you looking to move into more suitable premises? Cédric Béchard, Director of SG Real Estate Advisory, accompanies numerous business bosses who are looking for new offices. He gives you five top tips to make sure you don’t make any mistakes when undertaking this key project for your company’s future.

Why move?

There are a number of reasons that may justify a move: premises that have become too small because your team is growing rapidly, expenses that are too high, a location that is unsuitable or too far from public transport, your subsidiaries or your clients, offices that are not practical enough or too compartmentalised, or maybe your current premises simply don’t match the image you wish to give of your company. Maybe you want to move so you can own your premises rather than rent: purchasing your own premises can, for example, help you build up personal assets that you then rent to your own company. Lastly, your move can be a part of your Employer Brand approach making it easier to hire talented staff.

What are your requirements?

It is essential to properly define your requirements beforehand, in order to increase your chances of quickly finding suitable premises. Look ahead five years and think about how your work methods and the way the company operates will change. List, rationalise and prioritise your criteria in terms of location, public transport, quality of the building and overall surface area, but also the number and density of your workstations, layout (open space or closed offices, co-working areas, recreational areas, meeting rooms, etc.), catering (cafeteria, staff restaurant, etc.), immediate environment or energy efficiency.

What is your budget and timeframe?

Beyond your future monthly rental or mortgage payments, undertake a detailed assessment of all the costs associated with this project: operating expenses, taxes, moving costs, renovation or redesign work, acquisition of new office furniture, telecom and IT installations, costs associated with announcing your change of address, etc. In terms of timing, think ahead! Don’t wait until a few weeks before your lease expires to launch this project, because finding suitable offices isn’t always easy, plus the fact that lease or acquisition price negotiations, paperwork and any work that needs to be carried out before staff move in all take time.

What will the consequences be in terms of human resources and management?

Just like a personal move, a professional move can be very stressful. Staff need to be informed and brought onboard well before the actual moving date, as this is a project that directly affects them. In other words, you need to bring staff together and manage the move as a genuine corporate project. It would be a real shame if talented staff were to leave the company as a result of the move, as this would affect your company’s execution ability. For example, think about mapping where your employees live so that your new premises are somewhere that won’t significantly increase their daily travel time, and discuss such aspects as the layout of the cafeteria or informal areas with them.

How can this be made into a real growth and development opportunity?

Changing your premises can give your company a fresh impetus and help increase team cohesion. Use the opportunity to draw up a communication strategy and tools to inform your ecosystem (clients, suppliers, partners, etc.), organise an inauguration, to create a virtuous circle around this change of address! Your move should be the sign of a serious and mature thought process that illustrates your company’s dynamism.