Each passing year means new trends for office managers to stay on top of. Staying on top of trends ensures your workplace is an environment to foster collaboration and communication. Not to mention that a new fiscal year might dictate the growth or reduction of office space, which means planning an office move just might be inevitable for some companies.
With the start of 2014, it’s time to make sure you have knowledge to achieve greater business agility and innovation within—and even outside—your office space. Keep these three workplace trends in mind as you prepare to revamp or move your office or even renew your lease.
1. Settle in with the Ever-Shrinking Office Space
It used to be that the bigger the job, the bigger the office space, but not so anymore. The standards for square footage per employee have been shrinking gradually over the last couple of decades.
In an interview with Commercial Real Estate Show, Richard Rhodes, Managing Principal for Cresa Washington D.C., mentioned that the old standard for square footage per employee used to be 250 sq. ft., but is now down to a mere 175 sq. ft. per employee. Why the shift? Because the adoption of open floor plans and common workspaces—where teams are huddled together to encourage collaboration.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made headlines when he discarded the office layout of his predecessor for an open, malleable floor plan much similar to his newsroom at Bloomberg News. Dubbed the “bullpen,” employees working in this style have no permanent office space, but would often work wherever they could. Even newly appointed Mayor Bill de Blasio will reportedly maintain this floor plan even after he takes office.
In an interview with the Commercial Real Estate Show, Bob Chodos, Colliers’ Principal in Chicago, mentioned that offices are starting to add more support spaces, too, which include: call rooms, lounges, meeting rooms, etc.
2. Negotiate Flexibility in Lease Terms
As companies desire to foster more collaboration and even hiring agility, their leases should also reflect this needed flexibility. At Corovan, we’ve seen our customers seeking new office spaces, or renewing their leases, with additional options, such as the right to terminate floors (either the whole office floor plan or just one floor at a time). This kind of assurance is needed when Forbes forecasts a 20 percent recession probability for 2014.
According to Chodos, if you’re thinking about office renewal or even crafting an office move project plan, you should give yourself and your company about 12 – 18 months. This lead-time is essential in order to appropriately strategize what the next few years will look like for your business. If you’re planning to relocate in the near future, it’s best to get your office move project plan in order.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with planning an office move, but don’t do the end of lease clean outs by yourself. Some things a business moving expert can help with are:
- Green solutions to decommission and remove obsolete furniture and equipment
- Charitable reuse, recycling and donation
- Surplus furniture storage
3. Be Aware of how “Obamacare” is Affecting Small Business Hiring and Expansion Decisions
Despite a desired flexibility in lease terms, the new Affordable Care Act (ACA) is causing some small businesses to feel restrained with their hiring and expansion decisions.
In the interview with Commercial Real Estate Show, Cresa’s Richard Rhodes also mentioned that the ACA is affecting market in a lot of ways. According to him, many companies have to cut back their office requirements in a lot of government-related companies.
Even a Gallup poll conducted last year backs up Rhodes’ statement and shows that“41% of small-business owners say they have held off on hiring new employees and 38% have pulled back on plans to grow their business [because of Obamacare].”
Needless to say, it’ll be interesting to see how companies adjust their corporate hiring and expansion processes in the coming months, especially with ACA in full effect.
In the meantime, you can make sure one thing doesn’t feel restricting and gives you maximum flexibility: your office!