Finding the right space for your future office

Posted by Dieter Wood on 06/09/2016

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Selecting an office building to create the perfect workplace isn't always an easy process.

It can mean consideration of many variables, uncertainties and long-term liabilities. Our Managing Director, Dieter Wood, addresses some of the questions that are most integral to making a well-informed decision. 

1. How much space do we really need?

Most people find it difficult to envision the square footage they need for their office, particularly if they are signing a pre-let on a development site. Many businesses do not utilise their workspaces very efficiently and therefore over-estimate the size of the premises that they require. It is critical to calculate how much space is needed by your organisation prior to shortlisting new premises, or potentially realising an existing office could accommodate your needs. Here at Interaction we can examine the requirements of a company and turn that into a spatial organisational structure to help determine the requirements in terms of net internal area.

2. Will different buildings require a different amount of space for the same brief?

Yes, every building is unique and factors such as the shape, structural configuration, defined access walkways, mullion widths etc all have a vital effect on the way a space is utilised. The amount of space your business may need will differ from one building to another - and the bigger the demise the more effect this will have. Factoring in an efficiency rate alongside the rental rate can prove it is ultimately more cost-effective to select a space that, at face value, appears more expensive. In addition, we would always do a detailed appraisal of a building to ensure your occupancy is not limited by neither the base build services provision nor fire strategy. These can be key factors, particularly for high density or significant cellular layouts.

3. How vital is the building to creating a great workplace? 

There are a number of factors that can make a great building and that will contribute to the well-being of employees. They include access to natural light, connection with nature, facilities to encourage exercise and effective building systems. Here at Interaction we think any space can be turned into great a workplace with great design and fit-out. You shouldn’t be discouraged by a space that isn’t immediately inspiring until you have the opportunity to explore its full potential. 

4. At what stage should we engage with a workplace specialist? 

Always give yourself enough time to understand the opportunity, the options and the costs before you need to commit yourself. Often thinking about the space you occupy will reveal lots of questions about how you best leverage a workplace to maximise your biggest asset – your employees. The opportunity of a cultural shift could be missed if you do not allow time to consider engaging the business in the change process well ahead of the move. 

Interaction’s 15 year relationship with UK law firm TLT proved highly beneficial when advising on the firm’s options to relocate or refurbish their 90,000 sqft Bristol headquarters.

Steve Willson, Practice Director at TLT, comments, 
“Interaction’s input in providing a thorough analysis of existing spaces and working practices, detailed test- fits of shortlisted properties and making useful comparables, was a key element in our decision to stay in One Redcliff Street. The workplace design and installation by Interaction that has now started will provide a top class working environment and client facility for TLT’s continuing long term commitment to Bristol.”