By Hannah Dickins

Choosing and creating a functional office space isn’t as easy as it seems. Some things may look great at the moment — like decent floor space for a price that matches your budget -– but you need to consider the long term when selecting an office space. Treat this as your checklist for major considerations as you begin choosing an office space, and find a place that meets all of the right criteria.

1. Location is key.

People need to be able to find this office. Not just people who are going to come in and do business with you, but also the people you employ there. Remote office space may be a lot cheaper, but what does that mean for your business? No one is going to want to work for you if you’re located hours away from where they live. A good location is close enough to a central location that people can find you, but far enough out of the city that people won’t get lost looking.

2. Will you have enough room?

You probably intend on your business expanding in the future. Leases run a long time, and if you see a lot of positive results from the beginning, this can quickly lead to new growth. You need to factor growth into your size estimate. Not only will the employees you plan to have need enough room to work, but the employees you bring in will also require just as much space.

3. How are you handling your Internet?

If you plan on sticking to in-house Internet solutions, this is going to require a server room. Server rooms are fairly large, and require a lot of energy to cool. If you’re going the server route, you need to choose an office that has a place to set up a server room. If you want to save space, you can always move into cloud computing, which won’t take up any room at all.

4. Think about your lease.

It’s usually cheaper to lease a building for a longer term. The rent drops drastically, allowing you to keep more cash on hand. If you know you’re going to be able to use the building long term, it might be worth it to sign a long lease. You won’t have to worry about renewing, increases, or jeopardizing the permanence of your office. If you’re only looking for a starter office and you don’t intend to stay very long, make sure your lease is short enough. Lease termination fees can be exorbitant.

5. Are there enough windows?

Who wants to work in a cave? You should always consider the amount of natural light you’ll receive in your office space. While fluorescent track lights are inexpensive enough, they’re not exactly easy on everyone’s eyes. Sunlight is free, and you should be able to provide as much of that to your employees as possible. People will be able to get things done faster if they don’t have to squint at everything.

6. Envision your floorplan.

You want a smooth flow in your office space. Generally, this means working with a lot of open areas, separating them with furniture, and creating enough foot space for people to navigate. Offices with a lot of separate rooms may not be conducive to your desired flow. You’ll also want to think about exposed pipes or rafters that will make your office setup difficult. If the owner of the property doesn’t plan on handling them, it may be wise to pass up those spaces altogether.

You want the right office space to last you as long as possible. Taking all the precautions you can and keeping your future in mind will have a positive impact on the future of your business. It’s okay to be choosy and take a while to make up your mind – you’re going to be spending a lot of time at this office, so it’s okay to treat your search similarly to the way you’d search for a home.

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