There are several important things to think about before choosing an office space to let for your business, your employees and customers. After all, you want a space you can all be proud of – so it’s key not to underestimate the importance of a good office space decision!
To help you in the search – here are a few things that you would also want to keep in mind as you choose your next office space.
While finding an office space to let, a convenient and accessible location for your employees and clients is quite essential.
Your location should be close enough to your clients and customers that you can get good foot traffic – especially if you have a customer-facing business. You might lose customers or great employees if you’re not able to provide a location that is easily accessible.
However, finding a suitable, central and convenient workspace for your members can be quite expensive. If you want to be in a prime location and a grade A building, among other businesses – you will pay a premium for that. Though there are signs of this slowing down.
But here is where coworking spaces like Nairobi Garage come to play. With central locations in Kilimani, Karen, Westlands and now Spring Valley, we provide easy access to office space for your team throughout Nairobi.
The next most important factor in deciding on a new location is the size of your company and how many employees will be present on a regular basis. With the rise of remote work, it’s possible to have an office that’s smaller than your total team, but this isn’t ideal if you’re poised for growth within the next few years.
However, you also dont want to be stuck with a huge amount more office space that you actually need. As most landlord with vacant office spaces want to find tenants taking up large sections or even an entire floor – you could end up with may more than you need. And over time, especially if you decide to pivot or downsize – that can burn a pretty big hole in your pocket.
Again, this is where joining a coworking space is a win for you. As your team grows you can expand and take up space on demand without logistical complications. That way you only ever pay for the space you actually need. Meaning you can keep your office costs neatly in-line with your income and ensure margins don’t get affected by changes in your business size or model.
It might be an obvious one – but you need to think about the price. Not only the Kenya Shilling or US $ cost of the price per square foot – which in itself is going to be more than you probably think (See our article on negotiating a lease in Kenya). But all the costs on top of pure rent really need to be budgeted for.
It’s important to be in a position where the fixed and upfront costs of running an office won’t strain the business operations. The cost of fitting out an office and placing a 3 or 6 month deposit is not insignificant money. What else could your business utilize that money for, and could it be put towards generating more customers or improving your services to retain those you have?
On top of rent and service charge – budget for internet, cleaning, maintenance and repairs, additional human resources, electricity, tea and coffee. As a general rule, you can expect to pay the same again in your running costs as you will on your base rent. Ie. Take your rent and double it to get closer to the actual monthly costs of your office.
If you are not prepared for all this then a coworking space or serviced office is your best bet. Nairobi Garage provides affordable offices, short term contracts and you don’t have to pay exorbitant deposits, fit out costs, furnishing and IT equipment.
We provide you with ready offices that are furnished and all-inclusive. This is a great way to manage your monthly costs and ensure they dont spiral. Not to mention the savings you’ll make on the precious resource that is your time and energy, which won’t be wasted on dealing with landlords and the myriad of office and utility suppliers.
An important factor is your office design and style. Especially in the areas of branding, if you’re a business that hopes to become a “brand” or wants to protect your brand image from the start, then you’ll need to take this into consideration. An office can be a fantastic branding tool.
Office design is more than creating an environment that provides all the furniture and equipment to support the various types of work tasks.
Great office design goes beyond the physical, practical concerns and considers the psychological and emotional well-being of the people who will be using the space. An office is considered as a place of inspiration and motivation. This is why office design and style is equally important as you look for an office space to let in the coming year.
Great design helps support innovation, conversation, collaboration amongst your employees. The office design should also help your employees feel comfortable enough to be creative.
Perhaps the less obvious factor, but one that is become a pressing concern for a lot of companies stuck in rigid leases – Flexibility. In the modern business world – flexibility should be a non-negotiable for businesses. However, the real-estate market has really not caught up with that. When looking for office space to let, you’ll probably find most estate agents and landlords completely unable to offer you anything with significant flexibility.
Given that commercial leases in Kenya are typically a minimum of 5 years and some months; you’ll really need to have some certainty around exactly how your company will grow during that time. If not, you’ll need to plug in a risk factor to your deal where you’ve properly assessed the impact of a scenario where you no longer need the lease.
An alternative to consider is taking on a licence for space via a service provider like Nairobi Garage. Spaces like ours are created for the specific purpose of providing unlimited flexibility in terms of your work space needs. So unless you’re very certain of the future – flexible work space might just be the smarter move over a traditional office space to let.