first office space

10 Things to Consider When Searching for Your First Office Space

By Jonathan Wasserstrum

You’ve probably by now had to tour apartment buildings or houses for your next place to live. It can be a daunting task, full of research and many questions, but representative of you and your family reaching a personal milestone. 

Searching for office space on behalf of your growing company can be treated the same way. You want to select the space that accommodate your team best, and also at the right price. But the process of searching can feel a bit challenging. Here are 10 factors to have at the top of your checklist when looking for your first office space.

1. Natural Light

Office lighting is typically at the top of people’s lists, especially in more urban city settings. It’s not a hard thing to come by if you get an office with large windows around the periphery of the building, but it’s worth considering what the office will feel like as the sun sets each afternoon, especially in the winter. If you like a specific space, ask to come back at a different hour to see how the office feels with the lights they have installed.

2. Wall Color

Wall color is something easily solvable with a buildout of the space before you move in. Most companies go for a safe color like a white or a light gray, which pair well with any artwork you hope to hang. Other companies want to inject some color onto one or more walls to give the space a little more life. It’s up to you, ultimately, and be sure to find out what available options there are.

3. Reception Area

Some spaces lend themselves more to areas for front desks than others do. It depends on the vibe you’re looking for when guests arrive. You’ll want to consider from the moment you walk into the space what you’d expect visitors to do, and where they’re expected to go. Putting in a couch near the front entrance makes sense, but be sure to lay it out in your mind and measure the space before committing.

4. Conference Rooms

Even if you go for an open office, you’ll want to invest in a few rooms with doors so that people can hold meetings as necessary. Think about the size and layout of the rooms you need as you envision the space being used by your employees. For instance, sometimes you will be better off splitting a big conference room into two, which the building should agree to take care of as part of the buildout. Figure out what’s most important to your employees when it comes to conference rooms.

5. A Place to Eat

It might sound less significant, but small business owners should be thinking about where their team will look to have lunch in their office. Even if people step away from the work itself, you’ll want them to continue to share time together over lunch. If you give them a dedicated area or island in the kitchen to pull up stools and enjoy each other’s company, it’ll keep them engaged and happy. Making them have to find places to sit with their lunch outside of the office or at their desks can feel a little impersonal and less comfortable.

6. A Place to Cozy Up

We all experience mid-afternoon slowdowns when we need a change of environment. It’s worth warding off a corner of the office with some chairs, a couch, and a small table for people to move to on their own or to huddle with team members. You can anticipate how people will want to use your space, and giving them a spot to go to when they need a change of pace goes a long toward building healthy company culture and wellness.

7. Columns

Most older office buildings will have columns and beams running through the office in some spots. That’s to be expected and there’s usually nothing you can do about it. But you want to notice where they’re situated in your office and to decide whether they’re too imposing and obstructive for your liking. If you like the space otherwise, you can work around these types of obstructions by dressing them up with a fun paint color or have them display other forms of artwork. Make them useful.

8. Doors You Like

All office have doors on the front of them, but how often have you stopped to consider the impression that they can give off? It might not matter much to you whether you have a glass door or a wood one, but it can have an impact on people’s first thoughts about your company when they arrive at your office for a meeting. Usually you can’t replace these for other ones, so you should be sure that the office space you choose has doors to your liking.

9. An IT Closet

Likewise, all offices will come furnished with an area for the servers and wires that you will rarely see and never touch. But the placement of that closet can vary. And even if it’s not your area of expertise, you want to make sure that the IT area is closed off and tucked away somewhere. It can sometimes get hot in there, and at other times, depending on what your company’s needs are, be rather noisy. It’s hard to move an IT closet because of the air pumped into the room so you best be happy with its placement from Day One.

10. Doorman on Duty

Some buildings you look at will have doormen on duty downstairs in the lobby at certain hours, while others will lack this amenity. Some of the nicer buildings you look at should come with this service built in, but it’s not always a guarantee. If this is something you require, for security’s sake or otherwise, it’s worth mentioning it to your broker ahead of time so that you only see spaces that suit your interests. 

Whatever factors and features are on your list, especially at the top of it, the more you share with the broker, the better an experience you’ll have in touring various office spaces. They’re there to serve you and what you tell them. They’ll show you only spaces that match what you envision.

Featured photo credit: Depositphotos
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Jonathan Wasserstrum
SquareFoot Founder and CEO Jonathan Wasserstrum has worked for over a decade in commercial real estate. SquareFoot is a new kind of commercial real estate company that helps companies win at finding their next (and next) office, providing transparent access to inventory, brokerage services, and a flexible space offering. SquareFoot brings together technological innovation and human expertise to solve clients’ needs.

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