Lease expiry: refurbish or relocate?
Finding your ideal: to refurbish or relocate your office space.
As business owners review their office space needs, the approach of a lease expiry is the perfect chance to find a future-ready arrangement. Of all the choices presented though, it ultimately comes down to just two: do you stay or go? Refurbish your existing office or relocate to something new? Both options have pros and cons, and below you’ll find some practical advice on the main factors to keep in mind.
A buyer’s market
It wasn’t that long ago that the office space sector was facing predictions of armaggeddon. An example here being the forecast that 18 million square foot of office space set to become ‘redundant’ by 2025, alongside expectations that in the wake of Covid-19 45% of companies were planning to downsize.
Fast forward to 2022 though, and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors reported a “bounce back” in demand for UK office space, up 30% from the end of last year. That said, we’re still seeing a buyer’s market, with a lot of empty commercial buildings – including an estimated 20 million square feet in London alone.
Refurbish or relocate – key factors to consider
It’s therefore safe to say that there’s a lot of property to select from should you choose to move. A decision that will ideally be reviewed around 18-24 months out from any lease expiry date. That’s because you’ll need plenty of time to negotiate new terms and possibly a refurbishment with your current landlord – or to find and secure a new home.
But what key factors should impact this decision? Based on our experiences helping a wide array of customers deliver their ideal office space, Form Workplace Solutions would suggest the following 5 points:
Price is always going to be a factor, with the challenge being to calculate ALL costs prior to any decision. That means reviewing your current lease – as well as options for new properties – to understand rental costs, service charges, and business rates. To this is added the cost of any refurbishment or office fit-out, as well as the potential costs of moving locations (surveyor/legal fees etc.). It’s also worth knowing if your current lease is covered by the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954, which provides the right to renew a lease on similar terms.
With flexible working fast becoming the norm, alongside a more hybrid mix of working from home and the office, many organisations are now free to move away from traditional office design. The emphasis today is increasingly on open spaces, collaboration areas with soundproofed spaces, hot-desking zones, and employee quiet areas. A new office could present the ideal blank canvas to imagine this environment and inspire a new culture, but could a refurbishment also do the trick?
There’s a distinct flow to activities inside most offices. Shaped by the way work is passed between individuals and teams, the interactions, and relationships. This impacts the space provided, not just in where you ‘sit’ employees. But also factors like partitioning and where collaboration hubs are positioned versus ‘quiet zones’ for conference calls and/or ‘thinking space’. Generally, any change to office space is best done with workflow in mind. Can your existing building offer the layout required, or would a new arrangement support a more dynamic environment?
One of the biggest drawbacks to relocation is the inevitable disruption involved. That’s why it’s always advisable to put in place a dedicated project team to handle the main activities. The move itself can lead to unplanned downtime, but even this can be minimised by effective planning. Especially if work on the relocation can begin before the big move to reduce the time your staff are inconvenienced. In terms of people, moving a significant distance away can risk losing staff whilst also opening you up to fresh pool of local talent.
As for the disruption involved in a refurbishment, this can also be especially significant if temporary offices need to be found. However, with the rise of hybrid working in recent years, staff are already set up and comfortable working from home. So the transition is now typically far less impactful than it would have been a few years ago.
Which apparently is as good as a rest. But idioms aside, there can be many positive advantages to making the move to a new location. This may be because you want to re-position your brand or to simply refresh it. Certainly, the physical building that is an office offers a very visual opportunity to impress staff and clients alike. Equally, a move can also inspire a change culture, boost productivity, and help attract and retain new employees. That said, a well-conceived redesign of the existing premise can also help achieve many of these goals.
“We couldn’t have made such an informed commercial decision for our new UK HQ without their feasibility study. Form evaluated three separate buildings including refitting our existing one. Their knowledge and expertise in this area was invaluable in helping us choose the right office building to accommodate our growing business needs. Thank you very much!”
Paul Walsh, CEO, Trend Networks.
The decision to stay or go can often be a hard one to take. To help, Form Workplace Solutions offers our clients a complementary feasibility study which considers:
- Your current and projected space occupancy and head count.
- The facilities required, number of meeting rooms, kitchen/break out areas, IT requirements etc.
- How you work, your culture and workflow in your office.
- An assessment of new possible premises, including site visits, pros and cons of a space, possible design options, and approximate costs.
- Evaluation of the study with costs of a relocation versus a refurbishment project within your existing site.
This is a comprehensive study that considers all elements and possible fit-out costs, including HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), soundproofing, flooring and furniture.
If you’d like to find out more, please contact Alex Ryan on 01494 464686 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Form Workplace Solutions has a highly experienced design team with a long track record of bringing innovative concepts to office environments. Moreover, we offer feasibility studies to assist customer decision-making for : ‘Lease expiry: refurbish or relocate’.
As a registered supplier with the Low Carbon Workspaces initiative, we can deliver in the most cost effective way possible.
We’re bursting with ideas on how to bring future learning space designs to life. If you’re looking for expert know-how and practical support, contact Alex Ryan on 01494 464686 or email us at email@example.com.