Setting Up An Office

Setting up an office is an undoubtedly exciting but challenging prospect for companies of all shapes and sizes. Whether it's a recently founded start up looking at moving in to their first office space, or an established business looking to grow in larger and better facilities, setting up an office requires careful planning and consideration of a few key factors.

The basic elements involved in office set-up can be divided into two categories: legal aspects, and issues related to location and equipment.

Legal considerations

The lease agreement made between tenant and landlord is the first key legal aspect to be noted. Both the length of the lease and any restrictions on the use of the premises should be clearly established to ensure transparency. Whilst leases vary from premises to premises, it is not rare for commercial leases to have lengthy terms, however, it should be noted that leases of seven years or longer must be registered via the Land Registry. It is also vital to pay attention to clauses that refer to things such as: restrictions on hours of use, whether alterations, refurbishment, or redecoration are allowed or not, which aspects of buildings insurance the tenant is responsible for, and whether annual rent increases are capped or not.

Office space and equipment

When working from home or investing in commercial real estate are not a viable option, business owners are left with three types of office space:

Leased offices

These are a good option for offices that employ 10 people or more. Although overall costs might be attractive, business owners need to consider additional expenses that will be required in these cases, such as office furniture, technological infrastructure, utility bills, and basic office equipment.

Virtual offices

A convenient option for those who only require services like telephone answering, post handling, and occasional meeting room use. Rental costs are much lower and office equipment is included in the fee. This arrangement also benefits individuals or businesses not looking to commute daily.

Serviced offices

New entrepreneurs might want to opt for this arrangement, as it minimises some of the typical inconveniences that affect start-ups, such as investing in furniture, committing to a lease, buying equipment, and budgeting accurately for monthly expenses. Fees are often all-inclusive of bills, maintenance, and building services

Space saving tips

It is estimated that British companies are wasting millions of pounds per year on unnecessary office space. With the average cost of A-Grade office space in London's CBD standing at £2,900 per square meter in 2018, business owners will need to think of ways to save space without compromising the functionality of an office. This is especially true for people looking to set up an office in cities like London or Manchester, where costs are significantly higher.

One option is to share a handful of facilities with another company. Common areas such as reception, the staff kitchen, bathrooms, and the copy room, can easily be shared with another company in the same building or on the same floor. Another option to save space would be to maximise the vertical space within your office, ensuring that you get the most out of every square meter of the space you currently have.

Archives and filing systems take up a considerable amount of space. Alternative document storage systems, such as scanning, can help to reduce the footprint taken by these archaic methods. When it comes to furniture, it is better to choose items that have multiple functions, like bookshelves that double as room dividers, stools that incorporate storage or bins, and multi-use copy machines.

While setting up an office is never an easy task, a careful consideration of the points mentioned in this guide can lead to a less stressful experience for business owners and renewed focus on the positive aspects of establishing a new workspace.