What should you consider when choosing an office space?
I've had a bit of experience in coordinating office / work spaces. I've worked in traditional corporate offices, I helped run a successful 'coworking' space in melbourne for a few years, and now - I'm experimenting with setting up an 'office' in my garden!
There are LOADS of different types of office space available for lease:
- Desk space in a traditional office
- Coworking spaces where there is more of a shared 'community' feel, and are often more relaxed and 'quirky' in appearance.
- Serviced offices where you rent a portion of a space amongst other small businesses.
- Home offices.
- Finding a piece of real estate and leasing it yourself privately (can be anything from warehouse space, to an existing office space, or a retail space that you convert, and so on).
- Working from places like public libraries, cafes, or business resource centres.
And probably more options depending on what type of work you do.
There are a couple of obvious questions you need to look at:
- How many people need to fit in the space / how many employees or colleagues will need to be there?
- What utilities do you need? Internet? Power? Water? Phone access? Bathrooms? Meeting rooms? Desks? More relaxed areas like lunch tables, or couches?
- Do you need to be close to facilities like public transport, or bicycle paths, or cafes, shopping centres, etc?
- What is your budget? What type of place can you afford, and what sacrifices or compromises are you willing to make on the basis of price?
- But most importantly - what type of space do you work best in? Where do you feel comfortable and productive?
~ Do you like sitting at a desk, or does a more casual seating arrangement work for you?
~ Do you like having music play while you work?
~ Do you value things like taking breaks for exercise, or coffee, or food, or creative/entertainment breaks?
~ Do you like to chat while you work, or do you like your own quiet time?
~ What kind of space 'look' do you feel comfortable and productive being in? (For example, I work best with lots of natural light, some plants, colourful decorations, places to scribble ideas on like whiteboards and blackboards etc).
~ Have you tried different types of seating, like beanbags or stand up desks, that you can alternate between throughout your workday?
~ Is the space child or pet friendly?
... And so on and so forth.
In my experience, I'd say looking for what works personally for you in terms of comfort and enjoyment will be far more important than technicalities in the long run. Like - choosing somewhere with natural light, that's easy to get to, and has good food close by, might end up making you and your colleagues more happy and therefore more productive in the long run compared to, say - An office that looks really sleek and professional and has a shiny meeting room, that might be more expensive, filled with artificial light, and might only be accessible by car (or any other comparative example you might come up with).
I believe that experience and enjoyment in a work space is more important than actual facilities, because you can always add facilities based on your needs... if you need more light or faster internet or whatever, you can easily add those, but they might not contribute to how happy you are at work, and therefore how motivated and productive you are.
Check out sites like:
Or experiment with free spaces, like libraries or cafes to find out what does/doesn't work for you in a work environment.