coworkers in a bright office space
Finding an office space for a new or growing business is a task that takes thorough diligence — from optimal lease term length to internal feel. — Getty Images/ Cecilie_Arcurs

Many new startups begin life in a home office. To save on overhead costs, entrepreneurs often operate their business virtually and hire remote employees to avoid paying rent on office space.

However, as your team and business needs grow, you may want to seek out a headquarters for your company. If you already have an office, you may eventually find that your current space doesn't meet your needs.

No matter what your circumstances, the search for a commercial space can be daunting. Here's what you need to know if you're looking for a new office.

Signs you're ready for a new office space

These telltale signs may indicate that you need a new office arrangement:

You're feeling cooped up at home

This is a common problem among solopreneurs. Ugur Kaner, founder and CEO of Hyke, said it's a good idea to separate your home and working environment. Otherwise, you'll "end up working when you are supposed to rest, and resting when you're supposed to work," he said.

[Read: Looking to Be Your Own Boss? 10 Home-Based Business Ideas.]

Your office space no longer meets your company's needs

Jonathan Wasserstrum, founder and CEO of SquareFoot, noted that companies that are growing faster or slower than projected often need to adjust their office size to accommodate their current team.

You don't want to renew your current lease

Your current office space may be perfectly fine, but if your lease is about to expire and you can't or don't wish to renew it, it's time to start looking, said Wasserstrum.

This is where you're going to live Monday to Friday, 9-to-5 for the next five years, so make sure you like it.

Jonathan Wasserstrum, founder and CEO of SquareFoot

Choosing the right space for your business

With the abundance of coworking companies like WeWork and Regus, small businesses have a lot of options when it comes to office space. Small companies of five or less may want a flexible coworking space with lots of other people and various places to set up shop to avoid a "claustrophobic" feeling, said Wasserstrum.

However, if you're approaching 10 or more employees, you may want to find a private office. This will allow you to establish a "home" for your company and start building your unique culture in a meaningful way.

"[You can] set the tone in a way you can't in a shared space," Wasserstrum told CO—.

Similarly, Kaner said your choice of office may depend on what type of business you run.

"For freelancers, a coworking space might be more attractive, since loneliness is a problem, but for a videographer, a dedicated studio might be a must," Kaner said.

No matter what type of office space you want, consider the following factors when narrowing down your options:

  • Budget. This is one of the biggest factors for most small businesses, said Wasserstrum. Your budget may exclude certain locations from your potential list.
  • Location. Aside from the physical location of your office itself, you'll also want to consider the neighborhood and what's nearby. This includes public transportation options (if you're in a major city) and how easy it is to walk or bike around the area, said Kaner.
  • Lease term. Wasserstrum said short-term leases are often more attractive for small but growing companies who may need more space in a few years.
  • Other tenants. Kaner recommended finding out more about the community of tenants within your potential space to see how well you might get along with them.
  • Building amenities. Coworking spaces often come with built-in amenities like free coffee and snacks, office supplies and printing, outdoor common spaces and community activities. Wasserstrum noted that some large commercial buildings are now extending similar perks to their private office tenants.

[Read: The Best Employee Benefits for Keeping Workers Happy.]

Evaluating your options

Once you have a short list of potential office spaces, visit each location and see how you feel in the space.

"Don't forget to ask what's included and what's not," Kaner said. "Ask about cancellations, deposits, guests, meeting rooms. These make a difference."

"This is where you're going to live Monday to Friday, 9-to-5 for the next five years, so make sure you like it," added Wasserstrum.

You should also distinguish your must-haves from your nice-to-haves, because according to Wasserstrum, there's no such thing as a "perfect" office space.

"You can’t get everything you want, the way you want it, the second you want it," he explained. "Prioritize these wants ... and find as close to perfect as possible. There will be a compromise, so go in knowing, 'I'd really like X, Y and Z. I need X and Y, and hope I get Z.' It's a much more pleasant experience."

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

Published August 02, 2019