Forbes: Finding Office Space: 12 Strategies To Leverage and Maximize Employee Input

We all know that the success of a business depends heavily on its location. When it comes to the office space of a business, customers factor in location consideration, and their input usually carries the most amount of weight. Getting feedback from consumers about office location can help companies decide what spot is most convenient for their clients.

However, an untapped resource for determining the most efficient methodology for office location is your employees. They also have to deal with the placement of the office—whether in terms of their daily commute or access to amenities. Below, 12 experts from Forbes Real Estate Council offer advice on how businesses can leverage employee needs and input to find the right office space location for the company.

1. Involve Staff Early In The Process

Business owners may not always understand the details of workflow between and within all departments. I have seen many tenants move due to inefficiencies with the way their current space is laid out. If you want good synergy within the office along with happy and efficient employees, communicate with department and team leaders to get them involved in the space planning process. – Catherine Kuo, Elite Homes | Christie’s International Real Estate

2. Survey Employees

Our company just moved offices to a new 10,000-square-foot space on 37th and 5th Avenue. We surveyed our employees and got a lot of fantastic feedback on items they found important and what they wanted in the new space. Phone booths, natural light and close proximity to transportation were some of the main requests. – Adam Mahfouda, Oxford Property Group

3. Understand Where They Want To Live

Understand where your employees live and want to live. Commute times are key—some use that time to listen to their favorite podcast while others loathe the fact they may have to deal with city traffic. Commuting is common, but if the commute is located near a local grocery store, a convenient downtown gym or their favorite coffee shop or craft beer bar, your workforce will thank you. – Jason Duff, Small Nation

4. Ask What They Like About The Current Office

Communication is key. Business owners should talk to their employees to find out what they like and dislike about the current space. They should do their best to make sure that what employees like most about the current space remains. Ideally, the new space will also address their dislikes. Employers should also find out what concerns employees most about a move and try to address those concerns. – Kristine Gentry, US Probate Leads

5. Have A Visioning Session

A company’s location is a direct reflection of their culture, good or bad, and is one of the most important considerations when finding office space. Most companies have offices that are misaligned with the cultures they claim to embody. Having a visioning session with your key employees on the front end can help determine critical cultural impacts of a new space, leading to a successful new site. – Jonathan Keyser, Keyser

6. Create A Productive Environment

When selecting office space, business owners should take into consideration criteria that will encourage enhanced productivity for themselves and their employees. The buildout and layout of the space should also be consistent with the importance being on a productive workday. This strategy will improve employee performance, increase accountability and boost morale. – Adrian Provost, LEVEL

7. Put Functionality First

One criteria to consider is use and functionality of the office space. A current trend is the open office concept, meaning companies are creating more shared spaces and fewer private offices. To accommodate employees instead, they include private phones and nursing rooms for mothers. An open office space prompts consideration of noise absorption and lighting to create the best environment for a group in a larger space. – Elizabeth Scarano, LaunchPM

8. Prioritize The Entire Experience

When selecting office space, it’s crucial to consider the entire building experience. Quality building operations optimize the total office experience for employees. Rather than prioritizing a trendy amenity, evaluate how quickly and effectively the management team responds to requests. By creating the right workplace experience, you’ll be best positioned to meet or exceed employees’ office needs. – Tim Curran, Building Engines

9. Consider Their Lifestyle Needs

Everything from public transportation to grocery stores and walking trails are amenities that factor into the lifestyle needs of employees. Having access to these can help positively affect the degree of happiness within the workplace. Employers can seek to understand the unique needs of their employees through surveys, team meetings or one-on-one conversations. – Michelle Risi, Royal LePage Connect Realty

10. Look At Demographics

Uncover specifics around who will be using the space. If young, working parents make up a significant portion of the employee base, it might make sense to find a building with or near a daycare center. If a majority of employees commute long distances, ensure office space offers amenities like fully functioning kitchens so people can tackle things at work that they have little time to do at home. – Nathaniel Kunes, AppFolio Inc.

11. Assess Their Commute Requirements

Consider office location in comparison to employee commutes. Are you located near highways and public transportation? Are amenities available nearby such as restaurants or supermarkets? Encourage employees to voice their opinions on needs that matter to them. The structure and aesthetic of the office matters, too. A modern, light-filled and open layout goes a long way with employee morale. – Don Wenner, DLP Real Estate Capital

12. Consider Their Parking Needs

Employers looking to move their offices should consider underground or covered parking at their next location. Nothing is more frustrating after a long day of work than having to brush the snow or ice off of a windshield or on the other extreme, an employee trying to cool down their car after the sun beat down on it all day long. – Nancy Wallace- Laabs, KBN Homes, LLC

Original article contributed by: Forbes

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