This dynamic world doesn't have much patience for wasted time and random dilly-dallying. Aside from a hectic work schedule, many of you have soccer practices to watch, dinners to prepare, television shows to binge, and an endless river of life's curveballs to attend to. In other words, efficiency is an incredibly important component to your life and must be catered to wherever and whenever possible.
Thankfully, for startups, small business owners, or anyone else looking for new office space, we’ve created a quick but insightful Office Tour Space Checklist to streamline your efforts, save you some time and frustration and, most importantly, help you find office space that is well-suited to your particular needs.
Preparation for an Office Tour
First and foremost, immediately eliminate properties that you already know won't be a good fit. Assuming the time-space continuum will not be bending anytime soon, properties that don't suit your needs today will continue to be a poor choice tomorrow. You likely have more than your fair share of responsibilities waiting for you back at the office so taking unnecessary tours is needlessly robbing you of much-needed productive time.
Likewise, since you will probably be touring a number of different spaces, be sure to establish a set of desired criteria so that you can easily and directly compare the attributes and features of the individual spaces for comparison's sake in order to take an "apples to apples" approach.
In terms of the desired criteria, every organization has a unique set of demands that must be fulfilled by any new office space. Otherwise, you will likely be searching for new space once again in the very near future. However, there are certain criteria that are applicable to nearly all organizations and should be added to an office space tour checklist.
- Geographical location: be certain to factor in employee commute times and proximity to public transportation. The surrounding neighborhoods, restaurants and entertainment choices can also be helpful for recruiting purposes.
- Office type: traditional, industrial, medical, etc.
- Layout: should have sufficient office spaces, common areas, private offices, and any needed conference rooms for staff training, client meetings, and team calls.
- Amenities: Kitchen and break rooms, gym area for exercise equipment, deli/convenience store, and dry-cleaning services are also popular amenities demanded in office space.
- Accessibility: needs to be located in a section of the building that best serves your needs. Some organizations need to be on the first floor or immediately accessible from the elevator.
- Parking: should be sufficient for both employees and visiting clients, making certain to factor in future growth. Employee parking typically requires a ratio of three or four spaces per 1000 ft.² of office space.
- Technical needs: Internet connectivity, IT infrastructure, phone system framework including ISDN, CAT5 and standard phone jacks
- Security needs
Aside from these more general line items, some timeline and budget related factors should also be included in your criteria.
- Timeline for move-in: needed time to plan the move, the ending date for your current lease and targeted move-in date will all impact your ability to customize the space. Your timeline could either limit or increase your office space options.
- Price: what monthly lease will fit into your budget? This data point should be all-inclusive and take into account other costs like parking, membership, furniture and other additional fees.
- Lease term: what is your projected organizational growth? Determine if you are likely to outgrow the office space in the near future to help decide your length of lease.
- Financials: be prepared to provide your P&L, tax returns, and available cash for security deposits and prepaid rent. A lease agreement will typically not be offered until these are figured out and prepared to provide.
What to bring on your tour?
Besides this extremely convenient checklist, be certain to bring a space plan to get a perspective on the space as well as a camera and your organization's decision-makers.
Additional checklist items
- Does the layout match the space plan? Draw out the space as you go, labeling different office areas like individual work spaces, the kitchen, breakroom and conference rooms.
- Count up the different office areas (office, kitchen, break room, etc.)
- Label the rooms on the plan (office, conference, kitchen etc.)
- Does the ceiling, lighting, flooring, paint and walls all appear to be in sufficient shape? Remember to take into account a client or visitors perspective as the impression your office space gives could very well impact your business.
- Is the lobby nice and inviting or rundown and foreboding?
- Is the space easy to find and adequately accessible from the elevator, parking lot, etc.?
- Building access: physical key? keycard?
- Parking: nice and secure or an apocalyptic wasteland? Again, use the perspectives of both employees and visitors to properly gauge.
- On-site security?
- Bathroom condition?
- Are there enough electrical outlets or will installation be necessary?
- Cabling for phone, internet and infrastructure for IT expansion
- Thermostat control? Multiple controlled thermostats? Additional thermostats could be costly in the future.
- Are there blinds in the windows for sun exposure? This will also impact energy consumption.
- Leave room for additional notes (conveniently provided in our Office Space Tour Checklist!)
Searching for new office space can be a hectic experience. However, we’re excited to provide you this concise but comprehensive Office Space Tour Checklist to make sure your upcoming office space tours are as efficient as possible to get you most out of your time.