How Much Office Space Square Footage Do You Need?

Before you start looking at potential office spaces, you should have an idea of how much space you need and what factors you should consider.

When you begin your search for office space, one of the first questions you’ll consider is “How much space do we need?”

If you rent an office that’s too small, you’ll end up right back where you started: Struggling to complete work in a cramped space, climbing over each other and equipment, and embarrassed to bring clients or family into your work environment.

Then again, you are trying to grow a business. You need to protect your cash flow. You don’t want to pay for more space than you need. Every foot of unused space is wasted money that could be used elsewhere every month.

So how much space should you rent? Well, we have to consider a few things…

Free download: Factors That May Increase Your Space Needs in the Future

Your company will change

First, let’s acknowledge that you’ll never have the right amount of space. Your business will change often. You’ll hire and lose team members. You might buy or sell a piece of equipment. Jenny needs her big potted plant beside her, which takes up space in the aisle. It will never be perfect.

Your business will change often, but you’ll sign a rental agreement for at least a year. There will always be moments of discomfort, whether that means everyone is cramped, or you routinely get frustrated every time you look at that empty office.

In most cases, you can’t shave off a few feet without moving a wall. That isn’t practical, anyway. In some turnkey office spaces, however, you can adjust the amount of space you rent if the property allows. For instance, you can expand your agreement from two offices to three without construction or too much negotiating.

Our advice is to consider your company beyond the first year. Consider your future growth as well. If you expect to have 50% more people working for you before you expect to change locations, you’ll need an office with room for newcomers. If things go as planned, what will your company look like in three, five or ten years?

How much space people need to work

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How much space you need will depend on your business and team. If, for example, you need large pieces of equipment like an architect’s printer or a copier, your numbers will deviate from the averages, but these will get you started. (Source)

  • Typical desk worker (with computer): 125 to 200 square feet per work station.
  • Owner/leader/manager workstations: 175 to 225 square feet per work station.
  • Conference space: 25 square feet per chair + 50 square feet.
  • Reception area: 10 square feet per chair + 100 square feet.
  • Lunch/break room: 25 square feet per chair + 75 square feet.

For more specific information regarding your needs, check out this office space calculator.

Usable vs. rented space

Keep in mind that spaces of equal sizes aren’t equally usable. “Look for spaces that are more efficient, like rectangular spaces versus angled corners of a building,” recommends real estate advisor Denis Mehigan. “No two spaces with the same square footage are the same. Floor plan and layout matter.”

Coworking spaces and executive office suites provide a lot of flexibility to businesses in terms of space. In these arrangements, shared spaces and amenities can be scaled up or down to save you money. You can actually have access to more space than you rent.

For instance, let’s say you want access to a conference room, but you only intend to use it once each month when a client visits. It would be wasteful to rent an office with a conference room for such little use. Then again, you want to impress that client.

It’s possible to rent offices in a building that allows you to share amenities with other tenants. You could rent a few offices on a floor with a conference room. Even though you only rent a small portion of the building, you still get the conference room. It’s possible to share reception areas, bathrooms, and lunch/break rooms as well.

Bringing clients around

office-space-for-clients

If one of the reasons you need an office is because you expect to entertain clients, it’s smarter to opt for office space that’s slightly bigger than you need.

“The spaces we inhabit influence how we act and how we feel,” says architect Barbara Holzer. Your office space will affect the feelings of your clients when they visit.

The size of your office can affect the perception of your company in several ways, so be careful. A roomy office where everyone is comfortable exhibits success and financial security, both traits that might make someone want to do business with you.

An office that’s too large for your company (and has lots of unused space) exhibits wasteful spending and poor planning. Your clients and customers won’t like to see that.

Then again, cramped offices might indicate that you didn’t plan for the future, can’t afford to grow, or aren’t interested in treating your employees well. Your job is to find a comfortable balance so that your clients are quietly impressed.

Don’t forget about your employees

Finally, it’s important to put economics aside for a minute and consider your employees’ happiness and the culture of the work environment.

“Your company’s office plays a big role in shaping its culture,” says Jerry Jao, CEO of Retention Science. “Equipment and décor can influence productivity and mood, and the floor plan can facilitate the flow of energy and ideas.”

If you want your team to be productive, you have to make them comfortable. You have to make them enjoy the time they spend at work. A survey by the American Society for Interior Designers found that “employees cited their physical environment to be one of the most important factors influencing their decisions to accept or leave jobs, tying for second with benefits.”

41% of that survey’s respondents said the workplace impacted their decision to accept a job. 51% said it would impact their decision to leave a job. So if you want to hire great talent and retain your employees, you need to create an environment they like.

Often, that means renting more space than you need. Here are some examples where culture and employee preferences might affect how much space you need.

  • The nature of your work means a nontraditional furniture layout keeps your team more productive, but it doesn’t use space efficiently.
  • You sell yourself as a confidential vendor, so rather than host your client’s data on the cloud, you need space for a server rack in the offices.
  • Even though you keep retail products in a warehouse, you need table space for examining and photographing samples.
  • Everyone likes to work in an environment with lots of plants.

Final thoughts: Give yourself context

We’ve given you a few things to consider along with some hard numbers, but they won’t mean much until you have some context. If you don’t work in real estate, it’s hard to picture in your head what a 2,000 square foot office looks like unless you’re standing in it.

When you start searching for office space, it’s important that you view multiple units before making a decision. When we help people find office space, we always setup multiple viewings.

The love-at-first-sight syndrome is real, especially for business owners moving into their first office. They picture watercooler chats, busy crunch days, and office pranks, but they fail to evaluate potential spaces objectively.

Plan adequately for the future with this list of factors that may increase your office space needs.

Even if you fall in love with the first unit you see, you need to have an idea of what else is available. 2,000 square feet in a rectangular room is very different than 2,000 square feet in a rectangular room with a central pillar. Arm yourself with numbers, but make your decisions based on what you see.

Let us set you up with some no-obligation viewings. Start your search today.

Look for These Warning Signs Before You Rent an Office

You don’t want to end up in a frustrating or toxic office environment. Protect yourself by looking out for these warning signs during your viewings.

As a business owner, there’s nothing more stressful than a poor relationship with your landlord. You can fire bad employees and clients whenever you want, but you can’t separate yourself as easily from the person who owns your workspace.

It’s critical, therefore, that you take every precaution you can to avoid getting into toxic rental situations. While you can’t see the future and some problems are inevitable, you can mitigate the risk by looking out for these warning signs. If any of these become apparent during your viewings or conversations with property owners/managers, you should find a new work environment.

(Related: 4 Things to Look for When Viewing Potential Office Space)

Free download: Critical Questions to Ask the Property Owner Before Renting Office Space

The exterior and common areas look neglected

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Even if the interior of your unit looks immaculate, you should look at the exterior of the building and any common areas, such as hallways, break rooms, bathrooms, lobbies, stairwells, etc.

A property manager or building owner may spruce up the interior because that’s what most people care about. But maintaining the exterior of the building is often costly and time consuming.

Even if your unit looks fine, you have to assume the lowest form of maintenance is what you’ll end up with. So if the lawn is unkempt, the parking lot is littered, and the lobby is a mess, assume your unit will end up in that condition one day and the owner won’t do anything about it.

This is a bigger problem if your business intends to bring clients to the office. Your clients will judge everything they see, even if it’s not technically your problem. A dirty bathroom will make your clients wonder what else you aren’t managing, even if that bathroom is community space.

“I’ll show you a similar unit”

Sometimes less-than-honest landlords will offer to show you a unit that “looks exactly like the one you’ll be renting.” They offer all types of excuses. They might say that it’s occupied and the tenant doesn’t give him permission to enter (which is nonsense because every landlord writes a walkthrough provision into the lease) or it’s under construction (again this is nonsense because it doesn’t prevent you from seeing it).

Never sign a rental agreement unless you have physically stood in the unit mentioned on the lease. We always tell our clients to arrange a full viewing of the unit and property they’ll be renting. If the landlord says he/she can’t show you something that you’ll be paying for, run away.

The owner doesn’t want to sign an agreement

People make a lot of mistakes regarding rental agreements. The biggest one you could make is not having one.

Property owners sometimes want to avoid leases for different reasons. Some want to avoid paying taxes on the income. In some cases, the space isn’t zoned for commercial use or the owner doesn’t have the right paperwork/licenses/certifications in place. In the worst cases, the owner is actively looking to take advantage of you.

Truthfully, this happens more often in residential renting than commercial office space, but it does happen. Even if the property owner offers you an attractive arrangement in exchange for untraceable cash payments, it’s still in your best interest to have an agreement.

Here are a few problems you could experience if you don’t have a rental agreement.

1. You could be evicted early.

Since there’s no official agreement, the property owner can have you removed at any time. In some states you can prove occupancy without a lease, but that takes time, stress, and money to fight. Experts at Real Estate Lawyers agree. They also suggest a common way un-leased renters can be evicted:

“It is better to rent commercial property with a lease agreement, given the possible liability associated with renting. For example, if someone does not have a lease and their property owner decides to sell the property where the business is located, there is no lease to prevent the new owners from giving notice that they would like you to vacate the property. Without a lease, the new owners would be able to tell you to find a new location for your business.”

2. You could lose any money you put into the unit.

Small businesses don’t usually incur a lot of expenses when moving into a unit, but there are some. For instance, you might buy office furniture that fits the space or maybe a yearly parking pass in a nearby garage. If you are suddenly evicted, you could lose those investments.

3. Your rent could suddenly increase.

If you don’t have a lease, there’s technically no legal rental price. The property owner can demand a bigger rent at any time and your only recourse is to move. Sometimes unscrupulous landlords will bait-and-switch you by letting you in without a lease and then requiring you to sign one at a higher rent.

4. The owner might not perform maintenance or repairs.

Lack of a rental agreement means the landlord isn’t legally liable for basic repairs (excluding repairs relating to health and safety, which they would have to handle even if the unit was empty). You’ll have to pay out of your pocket even for the simplest things, like new lightbulbs or worn carpeting.

Remember: A rental agreement should be in place as much to protect you as the property owner. If the landlord refuses, so should you.

The owner won’t answer questions

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Naturally, you’ll have questions for the property owner or manager. Who will handle repairs? Who do you call if the building is locked? Who do you call if someone is parked in your spot? How are conflicts resolved between tenants?

In turnkey spaces, the tenant relies on the property owner for more services than they would in a traditional lease. The owner might pay for high-speed Internet, phone lines, a shared receptionist, or a hundred other things. As a potential tenant, you would have questions about all of this.

But if the landlord doesn’t have answers to your questions, they either aren’t taking the arrangement seriously, don’t know what they’re doing, or don’t intend to abide by any of the promises they’re making. Either scenario is bad for you.

A good landlord that wants to provide a quality space and build a long term relationship with you should be happy to answer your questions. It’s in their best interest. If you get vague responses or “don’t worry about it,” look elsewhere.

The owner is difficult to deal with

Even if there’s nothing wrong with the unit, you can get an impression of what renting will be like by having a simple conversation with the property owner (or whomever is your point-of-contact). Assess this person carefully. Are they pleased to have a new tenant? Are they proud of their building and business? Are they protective of their other tenants?

People are usually on their best behavior when they’re on first dates and job interviews. If the property owner is distant, distracted, dismissive, or doesn’t seem to have time for you, chances are that won’t change once you’ve signed an agreement. Don’t waste your time trying to work with someone who isn’t willing to invest into the relationship.

Download this free list of questions you should ask at any office space viewing.

Whatever you do, don’t settle

There are likely more available office units available than you know. Most are off the main road without signage. You don’t have to settle on the first property you see. The property owner/manager might try to influence your decision with something like “There isn’t much else available in the area,” but that probably isn’t true.

Make sure you find the right space for your business. The success of your business and your team depends on it. We insist that our customers schedule multiple viewings so they can get a feel for what’s available and what they need. Find your next office today.

Coworking Spaces: The Way of the Future

Coworking is becoming a popular office environment all over the country. What is it, and is it right for you?

If you’re a remote worker, working out of your spare bedroom or basement can be isolating. Even small teams who meet in someone’s dining room or at the coffee shop can feel separated from the rest of the workforce. Over time, isolation can lead to fatigue and poor productivity.

Furthermore, working in environments that aren’t made for work can be distracting. You’re exposed to stimuli that isn’t conducive to productivity. People in the coffee shop are loud. There aren’t any seats at the library. Or maybe your spouse wonders why you couldn’t do a load of laundry since “you’re home all day.”

If you’re one of those people who struggle working from home or in public places, you aren’t alone. Lifestyles are changing, and many people are now capable of working away from the traditional office setting (especially the millennial generation).

Make sure your coworking space has everything you need with this checklist!

What is coworking?

Image: Zona Coworking / Flickr
Image: Zona Coworking / Flickr

Coworking is based on the idea that working alone doesn’t mean you have to be alone. You can still work in an environment designed for work. “Coworking is still an emerging industry and, while many people are now familiar with the term, it’s sometimes hard to explain,” says Diana McLaren of New Worker Magazine.

A coworking space is an office environment with all of the basic work amenities. There are desks, chairs, proper lighting, and access to Wi-Fi and power. In the best coworking spaces, you’ll find tables for small and large groups, quiet spaces for concentration, free snacks and coffee, and a clean, trendy design that clients can respect.

The most luxurious coworking spaces (and the most expensive) offer some incredible features that might be worth the money. Green Desk offers bike storage and a mail service. CoCo has a room filled with game consoles, dart boards and a foosball table. Hera Hub gives you access to paid staff who will work for you.

You’ll find all sorts of people using coworking spaces. Freelancers and solopreneurs are the most common type, but there are plenty of teams who enjoy the simplicity and flexibility. It’s common for solo workers to meet one another, collaborate, and even do business together in a coworking space. For some people, it’s a fantastic networking tactic.

Typically, coworking spaces charge by the seat. You can buy access on a daily, monthly and yearly basis. Permanent desk spaces (where you have an assigned spot and can leave your stuff each day) cost about $387/month on average. Flexible spaces (where you find your own seat wherever you can) cost about $195/month on average. If a coworking space has a large conference room for use, there may be a reservation fee. Most spaces offer special rates for teams.

While there’s nothing preventing large teams from using coworking space, at a certain point (usually around six or seven full time team members), it may be smarter to rent a dedicated office space. In some coworking spaces, seats and desks are first-come-first-serve. If a large team is using a popular coworking space, finding enough adjacent seating can be difficult, which makes collaboration tough.

You can rent adjacent desks in a permanent-desk coworking space, but those cost more. Fortunately, bigger teams can get the same flexibility in a turnkey office space.

What’s the future of coworking?

Deskmag’s 2016 Coworking Forecast found the coworking trend will continue. They discovered that 62% of coworking space owners want to expand their spaces, and one out of three are looking to open another. 80% of coworking space members plan to stay where they are for another year and that overall satisfaction with the model is rising.

According to the Small Business Administration, there are 28 million small businesses in the United States, which account for 54% of all sales. A majority of people work for small businesses. Even though “corporate America” has been downsizing and outsourcing outside the country for years, the small business market has been growing. The number of startups have increased and their failure rate has declined.

This type of environment is perfect for the shared work model, which is why it’s becoming a permanent part of the American workstyle. Coworking spaces are popping up everywhere. Some are big players, like WeWork, which is valued at $16 billion.

“Coworking represents less than 1 percent of the world’s office space. But that tiny percentage, which represents nearly 11,000 shared workspaces exist around the globe, is certain to grow, according to many experts,” says Patrick Sisson on Curbed.

As workers divide into smaller, more flexible companies, they’ll need amenities that allow them to enjoy the benefits of a large business (having a trendy, comfortable work environment) without the cost.

Why work in a coworking space?

benefits-coworking

The benefits of coworking spaces extend beyond costs. There’s a good chance a coworking environment is right for you and your team.

1. Coworking exposes you to more people

Unlike traditional offices, coworkers work for a range of companies in different industries. There’s no direct competition between them. There are no internal office politics to deal with. Don’t like someone? Stop talking to them. There’s no pressure to behave a certain way.

You’ll also work near people with varying skillsets. There’s likely a programmer, a writer, and an executive somewhere in the room. Over time, you’ll learn about how your “coworkers” are adding value to the world, and you’ll be able to lean on each other for help.

2. Coworkers have more autonomy

Coworking spaces are usually available outside normal businesses hours. Early birds and night owls can work in a professional setting at their preferred time. They can choose to work in quiet spaces for focus, or communal spaces for collaboration and interaction. Coworkers are the type of people who prefer autonomous lifestyles, so a working environment that supports that is useful.

3. Coworking adds structure to liquid schedules

Autonomy is beneficial to the modern worker, but so is a little bit of structure. Coworking puts you in an environment where work is expected. Even though comforts are available, it’s still a working space that keeps you motivated.

A coworking office is a far more productive environment than a living room couch or a coffee shop. Plus there’s a community of people to silently judge you if you decide to blow off the day and play video games at your desk.

4. Coworking creates a community

Even though the members of a coworking space aren’t employed together, there is still a sense of community. For the most part, coworkers have a lot in common: They work for small or solo businesses, they are successful enough to afford rent, and they’re driven to work in a professional environment that limits distractions and spurs productivity. Socializing isn’t forced, but it’s available.

Furthermore, each coworking space has its own vibe and feel. Some are trendy, designed for young, tech-savvy and creative people. Some are modern and stark, designed for corporate folk. Others are prim and classic, designed for lawyers and other professionals. They come in all shapes and sizes.

Download this free checklist: Does Coworking Space Have Everything You Need?

So is coworking right for you?

Unfortunately, I can’t answer that for you. If you have a large team, then probably not. You need a dedicated space so everyone can be together. But if you’re alone or working with two or three other people, coworking might be a good arrangement.

If you’d like to look into coworking spaces for yourself and/or your team, contact us.

What Do Millennials Want in Office Space?

Now that millennials have entered the workforce, we should understand their preferences to create productive office environments that attract talent.

A millennial is anyone born between 1982 and 2000. When people read those dates, they are always shocked. There’s usually someone who says “I didn’t realize I was a millennial.”

Millennials account for 25% of the American population. They are the largest generation in the workforce, bigger than the Baby Boomers by almost 10 million. Even though millennials are one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse generations, they’ll be pushing some broad trends into their work environments.

It’s no surprise that companies go out of their way to seduce talented people. If you’re smart, you’ll find out what your ideal employee wants and build an office environment that suits them.

That’s a critical strategy for hiring millennial employees, who change jobs every one to four years. According to State Street Global Advisors, 44% of millennials plan to leave their current position in the next two years, which means keeping them around is harder than previous generations.

You don’t need orange slides that wind between floors or treehouse offices to attract and retain millennials, but you should make these concessions.

Before you hire millennials, make sure you understand these common myths.

The end of the 9 to 5

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A Bentley University study found that most millennials prefer a flexible work schedule. 77% say that open-ended work hours would make them more productive. They prioritize work/life balance over work itself, and want to be available for life experiences.

The same study found that 80% of millennials are willing to check work messages and contribute to company goals well after work hours. Interestingly, they integrate their job functions into their life, so that responding to a work email at a restaurant or taking a quick phone call on Sunday doesn’t feel like an interruption, so long as personal interruptions are permitted during work hours.

How does this preference affect your office space? To court millennials, you should provide an accessible office. Give them access during nontraditional work hours, even if it means giving everyone a key. Let them use their own tools (laptops and phones) so work is always available. Most importantly, stop thinking of an empty chair as poor work ethic. Instead, measure results.

Your tech should be cutting edge

Millennials were born into technology. The oldest millennials have been using cell phones since they were in high school. The youngest had smart phones in elementary school. They work, socialize, and live their lives through technology.

Art Papas, CEO of Bullhorn, Inc., says it perfectly: “Millennials don’t look at technology as an extra. They expect to be able to use it in all aspects of their lives, including at home, in the community, and on the job.”

Millennials look for ways to make their jobs easier and faster. They want the flexibility that can only be achieved with modern technology. Don’t burden them with ancient computers. Be prepared to pay for that premium software tool. That said, many millennials are comfortable with “bring your own device” policies because it gives them freedom to work wherever and whenever they please (which could save you money).

Furthermore, give your younger, computer literate team members the freedom to implement and design their own tools. If you give them the tools you need, they will reward you with productivity.

Open office layouts aren’t what they seem

Image source: K2 Space / Flickr
Image source: K2 Space / Flickr

For years now, there has been a push for giant, open floor plans where everyone works in the same room. The idea is that millennials value communication and collaboration, so companies have literally attempted to break down barriers between employees. In fact, research shows that newer offices have been deliberately designed to represent the open spaces of college work/study environments. Fewer walls mean more talking, right?

Sure, but that’s not always a good thing. Open spaces create a pressure to look busy. When a CEO walks into the room, everyone wants to be at their desk, seemingly at work, even if collaboration (which is good work in the context of an open space) is better performed at the water cooler.

Furthermore, open offices are distracting. An employee’s productivity and creativity are squashed when everyone nearby can hear their conversations. This is especially important for salesmen or customer service representatives who spend a majority of their day on the phone.

Laura Munoz, saleswomen at Groupon, told Monster, “I loved feeling part of that community but as an inside sales rep I hated having people listen to all of my conversations. It was to an extent nice to pick up sales tips from listening to others, but it really made me act differently—either carefree or totally nervous. And of course, there was the occasional private conversation that you wish you didn’t hear.”

Nevertheless, open offices do create a sense of community that translates into job satisfaction. So how do you foster that community without damaging productivity? For small companies, the solution is to find out what your employees want and provide that layout.

Larger companies see success by offering a concept called “hoteling.” The idea is to provide different types of work environments to staff and let them work wherever they please. This means having an open workspace for collaboration and impromptu meetings, as well as quiet, reserved space for concentration. Technology being what it is means people can easily relocate workspace depending on their needs.

Sprinkle in some amenities

office-amenities

Happy employees are productive employees. (There’s really no need to back that up with science, but here it is anyway.) If you smooth out their frustrations, ease their fears, and solve their problems, you’ll create a workforce that gets more done and stays with your company for the long haul.

Some of the biggest companies have made tremendous investments into employee incentives, like personal concierge services, free catered food at all hours, free childcare, on-site gyms, and free laundry service. But those are likely out of your budget.

Still, you can easily improve your employee’s happiness and job satisfaction without giving them raises. Figure out what would make their lives easier that can be solved within your budget.

Does your team of five drink coffee throughout the day? Free coffee for a small team would only cost a few hundred dollars per year, but it would make your team grateful and productive. No late arrivals because the coffee line was long. No mid-day jaunts to the convenience store.

Does your staff like to educate themselves continually? You could reimburse a portion of their tuition or send them to industry conferences. Do they take fitness seriously? Pay for nearby gym memberships (you could probably get a group rate!).

Most importantly, a little perk for your employees makes your company known. You can be the business that lets employees bring their dogs to work, or the office with bagels every morning. Word will spread that will help you attract larger pools of job applicants.

Download our guide: Myths You Need to Stop Believing About Millennial Employees

A final word

I’ve done a lot of generalizing in this article about a large group of people, but at the end of the day, you should create an office environment (and a business, for that matter) that makes your company the most successful.

Maybe your millennials need beer kegs, a ping pong table, and Spotify subscriptions. Maybe they want traditional cubicles and taupe-colored walls. The only way to find out what makes them productive is to ask. Use that data to create a work environment that maximizes your chance for success.

Ready to find a new office? Find your next office environment today.

How Physical Office Space Can Grow Your Business

Physical office space isn’t just a sign that your business is growing. It can actually help you grow in several ways.

The mark of a business owner and entrepreneur is hours spent every day obsessing over the growth of your business.

There are plenty of ways to do that. More sales, obviously. Reduce costs, for sure. You might change your marketing message to attract new customers, move into a new vertical to capture a certain type of business, or develop a strategic partnership with another company. Hey, you might even pivot to a completely new industry! Those are all great, measurable tactics.

But it’s important to consider the unmeasurables: the little improvements to your business that can’t be quantified, but have an undeniable effect on your productivity and success.

Many businesses categorize office space as an expense. Well, as far as your accountant is concerned, an office is an expense, but you shouldn’t look at it that way from a strategic point of view.

Consider office space an investment. It’s not just a sign of growth. It can also be a cause.

Download our free resource: Why You Need a Physical Place for Your Clients and Customers to Visit

Interaction and Collaboration are Easier in Person

office-space-collaboration

We live in a world where communication is easy. You probably rely on tools like email, Slack, Skype or Trello to work with your team. There’s no doubt they give businesses plenty of flexibility. You can hire talent in another country and stay productive during travel or inclement weather.

But online tools aren’t perfect. There’s always something missing: The human element.
Collaborating with your team is far easier when everyone is in the same room. A majority of information is lost when we are forced to communicate through text or voice-only.

In 1971, psychologist Albert Mehrabian concluded that a significant component of all communication is nonverbal – especially pertaining to emotions. Mehrabian estimated that verbal communication only accounts for 7% of the information we’re trying to share when we communicate our feelings. Trying to pass emotion through your Slack channel is virtually impossible, no matter how adept you are with emojis. 🙂

“The beauty of communication is found in the nuance that’s only felt in face-to-face conversations,” says Mina Chang, CEO of humanitarian group Linking the World International. A lack of in-person communication can be damaging, she says, as team members “miss out on the reasoning behind decisions, making them less likely to engage. What’s more, it’s easier for them to feel less accountable. When making any kind of request, the probability of getting your desired answer is greater when you have a face-to-face meeting.”

According to a Cisco report, business leaders believe that in-person collaboration resolves conflicts (work and personal) and generates relationships for long-term success. Executives say that face-to-face meetings are important for project kick-offs, strategy sessions, coaching, crisis management, and contract agreements. (Check out this information for more on the study: The Power of In-Person.)

There’s no argument that the most effective teams are made of people who know each other well; people who spend a lot of time with one another. You and your team need to be emotionally invested in your company’s mission. That type of dedication requires solid relationships that just won’t form on Skype or Google Hangouts.

Plus, in-person communication is faster. Email and chat isn’t truly instant, and they’re both easy to ignore. A question across the table or check-in at the watercooler will keep your business moving.

Office Space Makes You Seem “Bigger”

office-makes-company-bigger

Perception is everything, right? Your clients and customers want to partner with a business, not one guy working out of his spare bedroom or a remote team that only meets monthly at a Starbucks.

Every business tells a few white lies to make the company seem bigger than it really is. You probably referred to your company as “we” and “the team” when you were still a solo founder. Or maybe you excused yourself for “a big meeting” when there was no such item on your schedule. A lot of small companies even pay for a post office box just so mail isn’t sent to someone’s home address.

There is a percentage of customers who are comforted by the perception of size. Their anxiety is alleviated by the success of their partners. They want somewhere to visit. They want to see your name on something – a sign, a door, anything!

B2B strategy and marketing consultant Lisa Shepherd says, “Risk-averse buyers regard size and an established market presence as bywords for credibility and reliability.”

An office makes your clients feel stable, like they have put their trust in the right place. A business who has gone through the trouble of setting up their own place in the world is less likely to run away with their money. You could have millions of dollars in the bank and a library of intellectual property, but some people just won’t do business with you unless you have an office.

Furthermore, office space improves your employees’ perception of the company. An office is grounded. It makes the business tangible. They can say “Here is where I work.” When they step into their new office space for the first time, they’ll have a real understanding of how well the business is growing and a desire to keep themselves a part of it.

If you’re looking for more ways to make your small business seem bigger, check out Secret Entourage’s list: 50 Tips To Make Your Small Business Look Bigger.

Networking is No Joke

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Have you ever wondered why similar businesses group together? Why is Silicon Valley a tech haven? Why do financial firms clamor for space on Wall Street?

It’s because we prefer to do business with people we know. We’ll even pay a premium to give business to our friends or someone proven.

John Swanciger, CEO of Manta (a small business advocate organization), says “New and aspiring business owners need to network to gather as much information about prospects, competitors and the industries they are targeting in order to make the strategic decisions that will set them up for success.”

Conferences and trade shows only take you so far. If you want to really meet the right people, you need to plant yourself in the midst of complementary businesses.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying you should move to the hotspot in your industry. That might be many states away and unfeasible. However, many parts of the country have business districts where you’ll find like-minded entrepreneurs who also want to grow their business.

You may not be within driving distance of your industry’s titans, but maybe the accountant down the hall will trade advice for lunch. Maybe you’ll hire the marketing agency upstairs, or merge with the development firm across the street. Introduce yourself in the area, make friends, and always steer the conversation towards what you do.

The possibilities are endless, you just need to meet people. You can’t do that from your home office.

Oh, but make sure you investigate the area well when you view potential office environments. Find out who works nearby and how they might help you in the future.

Download our free resource to learn why you need a physical location for your clients and customers.

Over to You

Like I said before, office space boosts the unmeasurables. You can’t drop them into an equation, but an office makes your business credible, reliable and successful. Those feelings will resonate with other people (even subconsciously) to empower your business.

So what’s holding you back? Start your office space search today.

12 Common Office Leasing Mistakes You Should Avoid

Renting office space doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are the most common office renting mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Renting office space is an exciting time for your business, but it’s also one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make. After payroll, it’s likely to be your largest expense. You owe it to yourself to be as educated as possible to avoid a bad deal.

If this is your first time renting office space, you’re bound to make some type of error. That’s part of the learning process. But it’s best to insulate yourself from costly mistakes as much as possible so you don’t handicap your company’s growth.

Below you’ll find the most common mistakes businesses make when they rent office space and how you can avoid them.

Is this your first time renting office space? Download our free guide that explains the process step by step.

1. Rushing in Without a Plan

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Before you make the jump to your own office you need to have a plan. Sit down with your key employees and figure out what your business needs in terms of office space. Ask yourself some questions.

  • How much room do you need?
  • What amenities do you need?
  • Do you require a specific layout (like open space or separate offices)?
  • Does it need to accommodate clients, customers or equipment?
  • Will you be bringing in your own furniture or do you require furnishings?
  • Do you know what you can afford to spend?
  • Which areas do you prefer?
  • Does parking or security matter?

Companies who rush through the process and don’t take the time to consider their needs objectively regret it later on.

2. Failing to Read the Rental Agreement

It’s amazing how many people don’t read the things they sign. They usually figure they don’t need to because they’ve already spoken with the landlord/property manager/realtor. Sometimes they assume they don’t wouldn’t understand the terms anyway.

“While a lease allows tenants to stake their claim on a particular space, it can also end up trapping them in an environment that doesn’t live up to expectations,” says Ron Bockstahler of Amata Office Solutions, a real estate provider of massive corporate offices. It’s important to read the lease so you don’t get trapped in something unsuitable. If something is incorrect, you could be obligated to honor what you signed.

We recommend turnkey office spaces to our clients because they come with short, easy to understand agreements without hundreds of clauses.

3. Renting an Unseen Unit

Busy people are often tempted to agree to rent a unit without seeing it first. This is always a mistake. Even if you are given pictures, you can’t be sure what you’re renting until you actually stand in the space.

Clever photography and well-crafted ad copy can be deceiving and won’t give you an idea of the area or any odors or noise. Plus, can you visualize what 1000, 1500 or 2000 square feet of space looks like?

If a property owner isn’t willing to let you into a unit before signing an agreement or taking some money, the opportunity is most definitely a scam. Immediately stop speaking to the scammer.

4. Not Consulting Your Employees

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It’s best to have a discussion with your employees before you rent a particular space. Find out if anyone has any problems with the unit, the commute, the parking, or the neighborhood. You can’t please everyone, but it’s smart to ask their opinions in case there’s a problem you didn’t foresee.

5. Not Documenting the Unit’s Condition

At the end of your lease, you’ll be billed for any damages or alterations you caused. Sometimes tenants get accidentally charged for things that were already there.

It’s a smart idea to take photos or video of the unit during your walkthrough or just before you sign your agreement. Even if the landlord has photos, there’s no telling if they’re accurate or unaltered, so obtain your own. Look for dents or chips in the wall, carpet stains, window cracks, or anything that doesn’t work properly.

Send your photos to the landlord immediately so you have dated communication. Explain that you don’t mind the imperfections, but you’re speaking up so you don’t get charged at the end of the term.

6. Forgetting Renters Insurance

The owner of the building will have insurance on the property, but not your belongings. If you have any property or equipment you wouldn’t want to lose (like computers or electronic devices), I strongly recommend buying renters insurance. It only costs a few hundred dollars for the year, yet (shockingly) only 37% of renters buy it, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

7. Only Viewing One Property

If you rent the first property you see, you’re setting yourself up for a bad experience. This is especially true if you’ve never rented office space before. You need to see multiple units to get a grasp of what you like and don’t like. For instance, you may not know you want lots of natural light until you see a unit with big windows.

Furthermore, viewing multiple properties gives you leverage with the property owners. You get to say something like “I’m seeing five spaces today. I’ll let you know what I decide.” Language like that tells the property owner that he has to compete with other units.

8. Failing to Benchmark Similar Properties

Before you buy anything, you should make sure you’re paying a fair price. Office space is no exception.

The best way to do this is to arrange appointments to view multiple properties and spend a few minutes glancing through ads. Compare units with similar square footage and amenities to the one you like. Is the price reasonable? Does it feel like a value?

9. Failing to Negotiate

Just because you’re renting a small unit with a simple lease doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate. In fact, property owners expect it. In the case of a turnkey space, you be able to negotiate alterations to the space, but you can haggle over your overall rent and which amenities you have access to (like common areas and shared receptionists).

10. Falling in Love

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Sometimes a renter will fall in love with a particular location. They’ll love the lighting, the layout, the furniture (if provided), or maybe the neighborhood. It’s good to enjoy your space, but make sure it serves your business’ purposes. Is it worth cramming into a small room just to have a coffee shop nearby? Are you willing to spend extra to be right on the main road?

“You have to go into negotiations knowing that if you don’t get a fair deal, you can move on and your business will thrive elsewhere,” says serial entrepreneur Melody Stevens. Don’t let your emotions cloud your judgement.

11. Miscalculating Growth

When you rent space, it’s important to consider your company’s future size. How many people will you have? Will you be buying new equipment that requires spaces? Will the growth be steady and predictable, or sudden and urgent?

If you miscalculate growth, you might end up in a space that’s too small for your company, or a space that’s too large and waste of money. Take some time to figure out what your company will look like by the end of the rental term.

Career and Workplace Expert Heather R. Huhman recommends anticipating product launches, expansions, employee turnover, industry changes, new business investment, and your goals.

12. Being Picky with Location

Yes, it’s important to find a great location, but there are probably lots of suitable areas within a reasonable commuting distance. Instead of limiting your search to an area you like, figure out what you like about it. You may like the closeness to public transportation or the nearby healthy lunch options. Measure new areas against your requirements.

Don’t begin the rental process without an idea of how it works. Subscribe to receive our free step by step guide on renting office space.

As you view properties and move through the renting process, keep these mistakes at the forefront of your mind. If you can avoid making common errors, you’ll land a quality unit that supports your business’ growth without cumbersome expenses and hassles.

Big Pharma Leaves New Jersey and Vacant Office Space Awaits Impatiently

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The pharmaceutical industry used to be a dominating force in New Jersey commerce.

However, over the last twenty years times have certainly changed. Today we see the offices these international, billion dollar pharmaceutical producers now sitting vacant. There are a few factors responsible for big pharma’s disappearance from New Jersey. The billowing tech industry is partially responsible for the evaporation of old school biotech. Companies choosing to cut costs and outsource to India and Asia is another reason. Yet, figuring out what to do with these vast, empty New Jersey office campuses is another predicament.

New Jersey is in search of a new nickname. “The Nation’s Medicine Chest” was the former home to several pharmaceutical companies including Novo Nordisk and Roche. Several pharma companies have merged, downsized, and relocated. In 2009, New York-based Pfizer bought Wisconsin-based Wyeth. Merck reduced its workforce by 15% when it purchased Schering-Plough formerly based in Summit, New Jersey. Many displaced workers have been forced to change careers. Kim Haas, a former drug designer for Wyeth and Sanofi called the transition “a bloodbath” when the drug giant abandoned its Malven, PA campus (located on the Jersey border) in 2010.

According to James W. Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, the dissipation of New Jersey’s pharmaceutical industry is due to the fact that biotech is attempting to reformat its environment to be more academically reflective. They’re moving their campuses to places like the Bay Area, Cambridge, and Manhattan where science technology is thriving in nearby universities.

So, the question remains – – what’s to become of these massive, deserted buildings? In December, Roche, the Swiss mega drug manufacturer and creator of Valium, shut down its 2 million square foot campus in Nutley, NJ. When Genentech acquired Roche in 2009 it moved to San Francisco and gradually decreased its New Jersey presence.

“Our mission for Roche is to sell the entire site at one time. So, while we have a lot of various interest in portions of the site, those that are looking at the site to purchase as a single entity are large, financially capable, integrated, multidisciplinary development-type companies.” Said Thomas Stanton, managing director of JLL, the real estate firm marketing Roche’s campus for NorthJersey.com. Stanton has toured the property to over 35 prospective buyers, but hasn’t received any bids. In the meantime, JLL is leasing a couple of the 13 buildings to small businesses. The space is perfect for biotech start-ups that need minimal lab space, but unfortunately due to financial reasons, JLL must hold out for a big spender.

Turnkey Office Space Releases Statement: Brooklyn in Need of Executive Office Suites

Turnkey Office Space has witnessed an increase in demand for executive office suites in the Brooklyn area.

Turnkey Office Space, a leading NYC online search service for businesses in need of office space, has experienced an increased interest in executive office suite facilities, most often found in Manhattan, Westchester, Long Island and other major cities within the United States.

Co-founder Jonathan Bachrach claims Brooklyn is a popular place for startups and as the demand increases businesses will continue to seek business space in the up-and-coming borough. While Brooklyn offers a variety of co-working locations, a style of work that involves a shared working environment for workers who are usually not employed by the same organization, businesses are looking to establish roots in Brooklyn with executive office suites.

“Startups in Brooklyn are often young, forward-thinking companies and organizations that would be great tenants for some of the modern office build-outs we are seeing from executive suite providers in Manhattan and other major cities in the country,” says Bachrach. “The problem is these companies do not want to be in Manhattan; they want to be in Brooklyn. With the trends we are experiencing, Brooklyn may become something like the next Silicon Valley in the near future.”

Writer Tucker Reed, of Business Insider, agrees in his recent January 26, 2014 article titled “Why Brooklyn is the New Mecca for Fledgling Tech Startups.” According to the article, an influx of startup businesses has opened in Brooklyn allowing neighborhoods within the borough to flourish. Companies located in Brooklyn can maintain a “live-work lifestyle,” which encourages “collaborative, creative environments.”

Due to the popularity of Brooklyn for businesses, the Brooklyn Tech Triangle has developed. Home to already more than 500 companies, the initiative is spearheaded by local economic development organizations in Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass (DUMBO), Downtown Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Navy Yard and a taskforce of public and private stakeholders and tech firms which have already made Brooklyn their home. According to the Brooklyn Tech Triangle website, over the next two years, business in Brooklyn is expected to grow to support nearly 18,000 direct jobs and 43,000 indirect jobs.

“Between the success of the Brooklyn Tech Triangle and the surplus of enquiries we are receiving from business owners, we strongly believe Brooklyn would be a great place for executive suite providers to build out spaces,” said Bachrach.

Executive Office Suites are furnished offices with flexible lease terms that are turnkey and ready-to-move into. They can also be called serviced offices, shared office space, flexible office space, etc. Executive Suites are office centers that rent out private offices and have shared amenities on the floor such as conference rooms, a receptionist, lounge/break area, TVs and more.

About Turnkey Office Space: Turnkey Office Space is a countrywide search and consulting services for companies seeking office space. They specialize in office suites, virtual offices, and co-working spaces. Turnkey can be reached via their websitehttps://www.turnkeyofficespace.com and by phone at 1-888-282-8555.

Turnkey Office Space Brings a Personal Touch to the Workspace Industry

An NYC-based online search service that helps companies find great office space solutions for their business is now open.

Co-founder Jonathan Bachrach explains how Turnkey’s service will offer customized searches and dedicated consulting.

Looking for office space online leads to an assortment of search and consulting websites. Typically, these websites let people browse through properties by region, and then (depending on which properties the clients choose) put them in touch with the building managers.

“It’s all about user experience,” says Turnkey Office Space co-founder, Jonathan Bachrach. Jon knows the insides of this system because he worked for one of the largest office search and consulting companies in the world. “We wanted to start a company that offers something more personal and provides individuals and companies with workspace solutions that they would not have found otherwise. Starting a business is difficult enough, and every aspect matters. Our personalized approach allows people to focus on their businesses while we focus on their office search.

Bachrach also mentions that his company will provide you with everything the major search and consulting companies offer plus:

-A tailored, pre-qualified list of recommendations

-Price negotiation to help companies find the best values on the market

-Alerts for special deals

-In-depth knowledge of the industry

-Non-traditional office solutions

Turnkey Office Space works with all of the major workspace management companies in major cities throughout the US, but they are also focused on giving attention to the smaller markets and providers as well. “By having a solid understanding of the many different styles and types of office suite providers in each market, our personalized approach allows us to provide options that are tailored to a company’s specific needs. Our goal is to provide our clients with the right space, not the most popular one,” says Bachrach.

Turnkey Office Space is a countrywide search and consulting company for workspace. They specialize in office suites, virtual offices, and coworking spaces. Turnkey can be reached via their website https://www.turnkeyofficespace.com and by phone at 1-888-282-8555.

Best Underdog Cities For Your New Office

Is the high cost of living getting you or your business down?

Dreaming about relocating but not sure of where to? The US is abundant with cities and towns that’ll welcome your blossoming business with open arms. We at Turnkey Office Space have the low-down on what under-dog cities will serve your venture best, check ‘em out!

Austin is a fun, eclectic gem of a city. Rent is cheap, and office space is even cheaper. In a city whose former mascot was a middle-aged cross-dresser, options for entrepreneurship are endless. The annual South by Southwest Festival brings every corner of the media industry together, and it’s the perfect place to promote your budding startup. From 2008 to 2013, employment grew a whopping 13.7%. Since Austin is relatively small and land-locked, competition isn’t crazy either. All inclusive, single person office suites in Austin start around $450 per month.

San Diego. Recently Forbes declared San Diego the top city to start a small business. San Diego is home to only 2 Fortune 500 companies and its small business population makes up most of its total business. San Diego isn’t the place to climb the corporate ladder to launch a global venture capital firm, hence this is why small to medium-sized cities thrive in The City of Motion. All inclusive, single person office suites start in San Diego around $650 per month.

Denver. The most popular industries in Denver are aviation, broadcasting, health care and energy, and each contain realms of possibilities for your new business to thrive and connect. According to Adam Sloss, executive director of the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center, Denver is always excited to welcome new business, “When you show up here, there’s always open arms with the new folks. So when a young entrepreneur comes here, we give them a support network and say, ‘we really want you to be successful,’ and that’s something that’s really rare.” All inclusive, single person office suites in Denver start around $650 per month.

Oklahoma City. CNN calls Oklahoma City “a haven for entrepreneurial risk takers”. The Cinderella City has the second lowest median rent in the country! Many local entrepreneurs were former oil and gas workers who are very eager to bring new industry into the city. Today, Oklahoma City is one of the top destinations for biomedical research and science startups. All inclusive, single person office suites in Oklahoma City start around $550 per month. Virtual offices start around $150.