24 June, 2024

Moving to a smaller office? Four things to consider

Remote policies have proven to be effective for many businesses, with 82% of company leaders planning to allow staff to work remotely at least part-time, post-Covid. This means that large office spaces aren’t entirely necessary anymore. In fact, 53% of large organisations plan to reduce the size of their office. Decreasing the size of your workspace is an obvious move if your building is no longer at full capacity. There’s little need to keep renting a big space if most of it is going unused everyday. Going down this route is a great way of having better control of your business costs. For example, you’ll likely be able to reduce rent costs, utility bills, and even lower travel allowance for employees (if you offer the benefit).

That said, you do need to factor in the costs of relocating or switching to a permanent remote working situation. We don’t recommend diving straight into it just to save money though  — your employees should also be considered. Will relocating your office disrupt them? Is a full-time remote lifestyle preferable for all? The solution is different for every business. But if you are truly thinking about downsizing your office, we’ve got a few things for you to consider first.

Are you employees correctly set up to work?

Your employees should remain a top priority during this relocation process. If your business is transitioning to a hybrid-working model, you need to ensure your staff are equipped to do their jobs effectively, whether that’s from home or in the new office. This includes providing any equipment they don’t already own, such as additional screens, mouses and, where necessary, high-quality headphones, microphones, and cameras for virtual meetings. You’ll also need to consider how you’re going to transport equipment to your new workplace. An IT relocation courier will be useful in this scenario, ensuring your kit is moved quickly, efficiently, and in a cost-effective and secure manner. Take courier CitySprint, for example, which offers a fast turnaround time of 96 hours from the minute you book to return delivery, as well as custom packaging to help your goods stay safe. Your business may also benefit from this service further down the line as your organisation continues to develop — new technology may be necessary and you’ll need to transport it to those working from home as well as on-site.

Is your office safe?

As lockdown restrictions are lifted and employees begin returning to the office, there’s a lot to consider when decreasing the size of your work space. These circumstances will influence how your office operates and looks. For instance, health and safety planning and risk assessments are now more important than ever to ensure your team can work effectively and feel safe to come back. Conducting a risk assessment will help you identify the areas of your business that might need to be adjusted. Things like how many employees can work in the office at one time, which workers are at risk (pregnant women and disabled staff, for example) and how likely it is for someone to become exposed, should all be considered.

Next, it’s time to pull together safety policies, and outline different procedures including guidance on deep cleaning and sanitization. While it’s likely you’ll hire professional cleaning staff at least weekly, office workers will also need to have access to sanitation products so that they can clean their own desks on a daily basis. Setting up hand sanitizing stations at entrances and exits are essential, too.

And don’t forget ventilation and air conditioning. Research shows that a room with fresh air can reduce the risk of infection by over 70%, so improving airflow in poorly ventilated areas is important — simply keeping windows open will do this. Another procedure you could follow is asking all employees to have a negative lateral-flow test before entering the building.

How do you plan to use the workspace?

If you’re planning to decrease your office size, the first initial step is to think about how much space your team realistically needs. For instance, can you create a staff room area? Is there enough privacy for meetings? You’ll also have to factor in how you plan for your workspace to be used now. If you’re implementing a hybrid-working model, for example, this will influence the size of your office too. Similarly, if you’re only allowing a specific amount of people to work at the same time long-term, you won’t need a large office space to accommodate them.

Consider how you conduct business. What would be the primary reason for staff working in the office? If it’s just for meeting purposes, organise the space to accommodate them better — reduce desks and increase the number of meeting rooms. Identify what the most important processes are for your business and reimagine them completely. It might be the case that you can continue to work effectively over digital channels or, if there is a component of the office you really need, the space can be designed for those elements. This might be meetings or employee training, for example. One of the benefits of the pandemic is that it’s forced businesses to adapt to allow for virtual meetings and collaboration, so you mightn’t even need a physical spot.

Is moving sustainable?

When moving to a smaller office, what you plan to do with your old furniture and equipment becomes a big consideration. If you no longer need all of it, how are you going to manage it? To relocate your office sustainably, (ensuring you don’t contribute to any unnecessary waste) consider donating your electronics (if in good condition) to charities, and recycle devices that no longer work. You could even resell items if you’d like to make a bit of extra cash to support the move. There are also companies available that buy used office furniture and equipment, so if you have no luck selling, have a look for one of these. You may even be able to give old or unneeded equipment to your remote employees, especially if their desk setup isn’t entirely ergonomic. Moving can generate packaging waste as well, so try to use recycled packaging where possible, or hire a green moving company to help make transport more eco-friendly.

You’ll want to consider your sustainability in your new place too, and how staff can work from home sustainably. This is the perfect opportunity to establish new practises, such as better waste management, green cleaning services, and working with environmentally-friendly suppliers.

Claire James


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