Opening a new office: is your approach best-in-class (or just best-effort)?
As an ambitious, fast growing company, you want the best. The best engineers. The best sales and support teams. The best ideas. So why do so many businesses not follow suit when opening a new office?
The reality is, there are 117 things that need to happen between deciding to open a new office and moving in. Each step requires different research, different vendors, and timelines. The number of decisions that need to be made can be overwhelming, especially if your team hasn’t been through the process before. And it’s expensive! Opening an office isn’t part of your daily operations, so how can you be sure you’re applying best practices?
Many companies approach a move with a mindset similar to the one they use to develop products: execute fast, make mistakes, learn from them, iterate, repeat. Unfortunately, some things can’t be fixed without significant financial repercussions — like choosing the wrong location or space, or getting stuck with bad lease terms. But some things can be fixed. The office can be remodelled or the business could move again, but that means spending even more time and money, and constantly disrupting your employees’ work lives, impacting productivity. Testing and iterating works for business, but when it comes to an office expansion or move, it eats into your company’s precious resources.
Planning Expansion: Always Too Late (But Doesn’t Have To Be)
More often than not, companies put off expansion until it is critical. As you keep hiring and squeezing more people into your already cramped office, the need for more space becomes a ticking time bomb!
But opening an office the right way takes time. When the process is rushed, you throw money at the problem to get it done. This puts you at risk of long-term financial obligations that can derail your business, like overpriced rent or vendors who take advantage of your situation. Between deciding where to open your new office, negotiating the lease, choosing vendors, designing, building and moving in, there are so many details that need to be carefully considered and navigated to deliver a space that you’ll love without breaking the bank.
So many steps, so many (possible) mistakes
Many companies task ownership of the expansion project to someone internally who is already overburdened with their own full time job, and for whom this isn’t their core competence. We’ve interviewed over 30 companies in the past few months who did just that for their last build-out (and had cautionary tales to tell). Even if your employees are exceptional (and we bet they are), without expertise, they’ll spend long hours stumbling over the unknown unknowns and continually requiring time from the C-suite as the project explodes in complexity. Their normal day-to-day duties are often either neglected or spread across the team, and that’s not a good use of your people.
The incredible attention to detail required to open your next office takes expertise. In partnership with a great broker, someone who lacks experience may be able to find the right square-footage and a decent office layout, but do they know how to evaluate an architect’s proposal? Have they considered more cost-effective furniture solutions? Or insist on better sound-proofing in the conference rooms (to reduce distractions and keep confidential calls confidential)? And that cool, rustic office kitchen with the unfinished wood counter that the architect thought would be a beautiful touch? It can’t be effectively cleaned (salmonella!), and annoying splinters abound. If the security system doesn’t meet your industry specific compliance standards, the business could be at risk for intruders or theft, and even lose customers. Mistakes like these add up fast and could be fatal for your company.
An expert saves you time, money (AND stress)
Since details are what make or break this process, it pays to have someone who knows the ins and outs, from start to finish. An expert can properly evaluate cities, sites, and potential tax breaks, ensure you’re getting the right design and operational parameters met, manage the buildout and move, and ensure your business won’t suffer during the transition. You come out of the journey with an amazing new space, on-time and on-budget, while your employees continue to focus on their core responsibilities — creating your best-in-class product.
BeyondHQ is your turnkey solution to opening a new office. We’re passionate about helping companies open the best remote offices that work for their company and culture, and bring over two decades of experience scaling remote teams and building offices at companies like Palantir, Rally Health (part of UnitedHealthcare NYSE: UNH), and New Relic (NYSE: NEWR). We are experts at workplace expansion strategy and execution; helping find the right location and space, managing the design and build out, enabling local resources, and more.