5 things to consider when looking for the perfect workplace location

Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images.

An inspiring workplace environment is a place where ideas develop, businesses build and relationships evolve.

It’s a creative place where you can work, check your email, and meet with clients. A place you can pause to enjoy a really good cup of coffee and where technology just works quickly and efficiently.

Undoubtedly, it’s clear that there is a lot to consider when finding the perfect workplace location, particularly as a freelancer or a small business owner who is looking for space in the heart of our busy and bustling cities.

Affordable office space located in the major cities across the world is indeed a challenge – the struggle is not only financial, but also practical. According to the Global Cities 2016 report, Sydney was ranked seventh as part of the top 21 cities that have the priciest office space on the planet. At $86.50 per square feet per year, Australia’s most famous city has seen the price of high-rise office space grow by 0.7 per cent in 2015 alone, and costs are now by far the highest of any city in the southern hemisphere.

When faced with such high costs, understanding what you or your business’ primary needs are and finding a space that ensures they are met is crucial. Primary needs may vary – for example, picking the perfect location may be paramount, or creating an environment with fluidity might be fundamental, so by prioritising this, you’ll be able to save on costs.

Here are five things for freelancers or small businesses to consider when sourcing the ideal location:

1. Does the location suit your needs and means?

Small businesses often face the issue of finding an affordable and appropriately equipped office space. In recent years, many fledgling businesses have taken to using flexi-work providers as a base to get off the ground, where they can easily take on new desks as the business grows without the overheads and disruption of moving to a new, larger premise. It’s also crucial that the location reflects your brand values and doesn’t detract from your offering. For example, a company that operates within the creative industries – such as a graphic designer or interior stylist – will need to make sure their surroundings impress their clients.

2. Consider your technological needs, does location play a role in you being able to deliver your product or service?

With the NBN slowly but surely rolling out across the country, it could be worth considering the time frame for your business’ location receiving the upgrade. Choosing location based on availability of high-speed internet, the option for conference rooms and photocopying facilities doesn’t go astray. Flexible workspaces provide these facilities as part of the rental, leaving businesses free to focus on the actual business and not the financial requirements of purchasing these services themselves.

3. If not, look at fringe areas outside CBD

While operating within the CBD might seem essential, often businesses do not need to be in the thick of it to operate effectively and efficiently. Many fringe suburbs offer affordable office space with close public transport. Depending on the service or product being offered, and the business’ clients, fringe locations are a viable option for decreasing premises costs and increasing overall productivity and profitability of a small business.

4. If so, think co-working

The uptake of flexible working in Australia has been recognised globally. Co-working is particularly beneficial for freelancers and small business owners as it forms a community that values being entrepreneurial, collaborative and autonomous. In fact, a recent survey by global workplace provider, Regus, found that collaborative workplaces made the ideal breeding ground for innovation (74%) and entrepreneurial spirit (72%), along with being a valuable way of creating connections with partners (79%), providers and suppliers (81%) and even potential clients (80%).

Not to mention the inspiration gained from working in a beautifully designed space with really good coffee available to kindle your entrepreneurial spirit with the enthusiasm of the other workers you will meet and network with.

5. Learn about your potential clients and colleagues – is location going to affect networking?

One of the most important fundamentals of any business is networking. For small businesses especially, it is vital to build relationships with clients and colleagues to encourage collaboration. Choosing the correct location is essential in establishing good bedrock for encouraging this relationship growth. Many co-working locations, like Spaces, have monthly business and social events that are fantastic for members to network, connect and collaborate, or simply enjoy a drink with fellow co-workers.

Jose Druif is the General Manager at Spaces Works, Sydney, and has helped to guide professionals and corporations across Australia and the Netherlands on workplace practices; including flexible and cost-effective solutions for businesses both small and large.

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