We help our clients with their office relocations and fit-outs all the time, but right now we’re working on fitting out a new office for ourselves, and I can tell you now, it’s harder when it’s your own. We’re super excited about moving from Albion to our new digs at Wilston, but there’s so much to think about!
From the initial decision of how large an office you need, and where it should be located, all the way through to how many power points you need on each desk, there is a seemingly endless stream of decisions to make, a lot of which you will feel entirely unqualified to comment on!
Before you sign off on a new lease though, here are five things you may not have thought of that you need to check out first, before it’s too late.
Can you get reliable, high speed internet?
The speed and stability of an internet connection is usually dependant on the distance of your office from the local phone exchange, and the available infrastructure that the telecommunications carriers have available there. If your new office is located in the CBD, then you’ll likely be fine, however for most other locations it’s a good idea to check before you commit to a new lease.
Why all internet connections aren’t created equal
For small offices of up to five or maybe even 10 people, you may be okay with an ADSL2+ internet connection, but only if you don’t have any particularly demanding internet requirements. If your requirements are more demanding, such as a need to run automatic offsite backups, or important cloud apps, then you will likely want to look at a premium internet connection such as Ethernet over Copper (EoC).
Both ADSL2+ and EoC are heavily dependent on access to the telephone exchange, with the connection rapidly degrading in both speed and reliability the further away your office is located.
If your business is reliant on a good quality internet connection (as most of us are these days), finding out the bad news after you’ve signed a new lease could cause big problems.
Is the electricity supply stable and reliable?
Whether your business has an entire data centre or only two computers, you need a good, stable supply of electricity. In fact even if you have no computers in the business you probably do at least have a bar fridge to keep your lunch cool.
The thing about electrical devices is that they generally don’t like having a wildly fluctuating power supply, although some devices will cope better than others. If the electricity is unstable, it may not be show-stopper for your new office, it may be advisable to invest in your own power protection, such as UPS devices, for all of your important electrical equipment. This will help your computers, servers, and other electrical devices last longer and avoid burning out.
One good way to find out if this could be a problem is to talk to your (potential) new neighbours. If they’ve been there for more than a month or two, and the power is a bit flaky, they will know all about it.
Are you above the flood line?
2011 was a very, very big year for a lot of Brisbane businesses, for all the wrong reasons. Numerous business were very directly impacted by the massive flooding that over took the city, many suffering substantial loss, with many more forced to close their doors permanently.
Even as we helped our clients defend their own businesses and engage their disaster recovery plans, we were watching the water rise from the local creek, closer and closer to our own office. The water never made it all the way to our building, but thankfully we had pro-actively engaged our own disaster plan in advance, as due to the proximity of the flooding our building did lose power and internet for a number of days.
Do you have a disaster recovery plan? Listen to learn more.
Before you commit to a new office, make sure you investigate not only how close you will be to the flood levels, but also what other secondary impact flooding may have on your business. In our case even though we weren’t flooded out, our office was effectively shut down without power and internet due to the close proximity of the water. I know of other businesses whose office was fine, but was physically isolated by the flood waters for a long time during and after the flooding.
The risk of flooding may be unique to some areas (such as most of Brisbane, it seems!) but each location has its own potential environment risks that you need to understand.
How good is the mobile phone coverage?
Most of us have come to rely heavily on our mobile phones as a business tool, but unfortunately strong mobile reception can’t be taken for granted everywhere. Before committing to a new office, take a walk around all parts of the building and surrounds with your phone, and check on the signal strength as you go.
If you notice that reception is poor, make a couple of test calls to a friend to see if you can get through. If you can’t it may be worth trying a different phone that’s on a different mobile network. Perhaps Optus coverage is poor, but Telstra is great.
We work with one particular client who relocated about two years ago to a new office about 10km from the CBD. The location is very populous with both residential and commercial operations, with mobile phone towers clearly visible. For some reason though, his actual office is a blackspot for reception. Most of the time his phone will ring, however to hold a conversation he needs to walk out of his office towards the main road about 10 metres away, where reception is solid.
Now this isn’t overly onerous, and we all know we should be getting up from our desks more, but with dozens of calls per day (not to mention what it’s like in rainy weather), you can see how this situation is less than ideal.
Is the existing fit-out suitable?
If you’re lucky you will be moving into a new office that was used for a very similar purpose to what you need it for. Need an office full of people at computers? Then hopefully you’re looking at somewhere that already has plenty of power and data outlets, and maybe even desks or cubicles in place.
If not, that’s fine, just make sure that you understand the potential costs of fitting out the tenancy to suit your needs. Each little power point on its own isn’t necessarily a big thing, but at an estimated cost of $250 per outlet, add them all up, and you may be looking at tens of thousands of dollars just to get the basics in place.
Given that we’re currently going through a full brand new fit-out for our new office, I can say from first-hand experience that there is a LOT to think about. Hopefully this list will help you ask some of the question that you may not otherwise have thought about.
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