Unless you’re going to purchase a building, then it’s likely that you’re paying rent for a suite or floor in an office building. One of the biggest expenses for a CEO and a growing company is the office space costs, particularly since as a growing company you’ll have to move to bigger spaces and/or worry about rising rental fees. To keep these costs under control, or even reduce them, here are five best practices to employ when controlling and reducing your office space costs:
Virtual Offices as an Option
An increasingly popular office space option, and one that is significantly cheaper than traditional solutions, is the virtual office. This is an especially attractive option if you have employees who want to work from home, who are based in other parts of the country, or if you’re looking to expand your business into a new market on a dime. With a virtual office, you pay for the amenities and the address without having to worry about furnishing the space or covering the technology costs. Depending on the virtual office provider, you can also have more the one person use a virtual office if you plan to have this option for telecommuting employees. On top of that, if the virtual office thing really works out, you might be able to move to smaller space, increasing your savings.
Office Space with Growth in Mind
If you’re confident that your company’s growth is sustainable and not a one-time spurt, then choose an office space with this growth in mind. For example, if you currently have 15 employees, but project that you’ll have 25 in two years, then choose and set up your office space to fit 25 instead of 15. You might have to spend more initially, but for at least two years you don’t have to worry about finding a bigger space (and making the move) and upgrading your technological capabilities. This forward thinking also ensures that your growth doesn’t end up hurting you by draining time and resources away from client work just to accommodate the growth.
Negotiate with Your Realtor
This is one of the simplest, but one of the most overlooked ways to reduce your office space costs. When it comes time to sign, or to renew, your lease, you can talk to your realtor about getting a deal. If you’re renewing your lease, you can ask a for a free month or two, or even for a reduced rent (which shouldn’t be hard if you’ve been a good tenant). If you’re signing for the first time, try to negotiate the rental price. If you’re serious about the office space at the original cost, then it doesn’t hurt to ask. The realtor isn’t going to throw away your business because you’re just asking a few questions.
Consider an Open Floor Plan
Instead of worrying about every employee having a desk or cubicle, opt for an open floor plan that can seat everyone, but that doesn’t assign seating or space. With an open floor plan, you don’t have to spend as much on furniture and your employees may enjoy not being chained or relegated somewhere. This also means that you can opt for something a little bit smaller for the company, since you now don’t have to ensure that everyone has 25 square feet to themselves, or even that everyone has a place to sit (think of this also as a way to allow employees to work from home or at a nearby coffee shop if they wish). However, this arrangement doesn’t work for everyone, as companies such as Spotify found out. It’s also recommended to provide some private spaces with an open floor plan, since one of the biggest complaints with open floor plan is the inability to have a private conversation.
If your offices are spread out across seven floors in four buildings, then that’s an awful lot of waste and disconnect. It’s not just the office space costs, but also think the time and productivity wasted when employees aren’t working together, or are spending time getting to and from those floors and buildings. You and your company can gain a lot when everyone’s together in one building instead, perhaps on two or three floors instead of seven.