How to manage your office move

The end of your lease may seem like a long way off but even with the most meticulous planning, identifying and securing the right space always takes longer than you would expect. If your lease expires in or before Summer 2021 – now is exactly the right time to put your planning process into gear, to avoid a last-minute rush (and missing out on the office of choice).

If you’ve been assigned the task of managing the move, here’s what should be on your radar right now…

Define your operational goals

What do you want to achieve from the move? First and foremost, you need to secure the correct amount of space for your team. Whether you’re upsizing, downsizing or consolidating, an accurate assessment of near-future staffing levels is essential. Key lease events and the need for more (or less) space tend to be the most common triggers for relocation, but there could be other benefits to moving. Other than ‘more desks’, points to consider may include the following:

Enhancing your brand – how well does your current premises align with the image you want your company to portray? What would you change to make it a better fit? What do your clients think of your current space and is it easily accessible to them?

A catalyst for new ways of working – perhaps you’d like to be more dynamic in terms of open, collaborative workspaces and hot-desking. Creating a modern environment will also help you secure the best employees and retain the ones you have.

Join a hub or cluster – would your finance company benefit from a move closer to Glasgow’s ISFD? Or do you want to be closer to Edinburgh’s Fintech cluster? Your next move could be the opportunity for your firm to move into your location of choice, where all the action is.

Short-list your options

You’ve set-out what your business wants to achieve from a move. It’s now time to focus on bricks and mortar. Rather than trawling the market for hours on end, identify a benchmark to work against: a hypothetical picture of your ‘ideal’ office space.

Ask your colleagues for their opinion on what features a new office should have. You’ll probably get lots of different views and opinions, but it will help you make an informed choice. Listening to the needs of others means you’ve covered all the bases and nothing slips through the net.

Features to focus on include:

Budget (including rates and service charges)

Capacity

Location (don’t just consider yourself, also think about your clients and staff)

Bespoke needs (office layout, executive offices, reception area, number of meeting rooms, presentation suites, mail room, secure storage. etc.)

IT & Services (power and data points, cabling, comms/server rooms, telephony, backup power, on-site support)

Staff amenities (kitchen, toilets, break out spaces, showers)

Building facilities (secure 24-hour access, disabled access, lifts, concierge, gym, parking)

Local facilities (nearest tube, bars, shops, sandwich shops)

Get expert advice

To make sense of the market, expert input from an agent is necessary. But be cautious – many agents act for both landlords and tenants which can cause a conflict of interest. You can address the issue by instructing an agent that acts solely for occupiers.

Preparing for moving day

Fast forward to 2019 – you’ve acted early, and with the help of your agent, you’ve been able to secure your preferred option that fits perfectly with the needs of your business.

It also means that your date of entry corresponds exactly with the expiry date of your current lease, meaning that you haven’t had to implement any awkward stop-gap arrangements. Your removal company is primed ready to go and your IT team have their plan worked out to ensure business continuity. Leave unwanted items in storage to keep the new office tidy.

Most importantly of all, your team are delighted with their new space and you’ve done a great job.

For expert, unbiased advice on the market and help on all aspects of moving office in Glasgow or Edinburgh, contact North Property Advisors for an initial meeting on 0141 354 8962, or email us at [email protected]

Top legal tips for leasing an office

Let’s face it. For most occupiers, negotiating the legal clauses in a commercial lease can be a bit daunting. It’s probably not familiar territory and you’d rather spend the time focusing on your business. We’ve pulled together some top tips to help you avoid the legal pitfalls in commercial real estate:

Read the small print

The demands and expectations of occupiers are often very different from those of their landlords, who are more often property savvy.  From the outset, it’s important to be very clear about the liabilities and obligations contained within your lease.

In all the excitement and buzz of finding new premises, it’s easy to forget about specific lease clauses and how they impact on your occupation of the space. Do you need landlord consent for structural changes? When do I need to serve my break notice? Do I need to maintain the premises externally? Paying careful attention to your obligations in the lease can save you a fortune further down the line.

Avoid ambiguity

Some landlords prefer to leave the language in their lease agreement vague so that there is a chance that they will win an argument based on the uncertainty of the wording in the future. Are you prepared to take that gamble, or would you rather know about the outcome before it happens?

Whilst you can’t account for every eventuality in a lease, it’s important to avoid loose clauses which could be open to interpretation. It might cost you more time now, but at least you know where you stand further down the line.

Just ask

It is easy to agree terms because they are what everyone else agrees to and what is considered “industry standard”. Obviously, there are clauses which are designed to be standard, such as service charges in multi-let buildings. Most occupiers would understand why these need to be fixed. But most of the other clauses are up for grabs.

Quarterly rents are old hat. Who wants to tie up cash three months in advance in this day and age? Try asking for monthly rents. That is just one example. The point is, do not be deterred by the argument put forward by the landlord’s lawyer that the clause you don’t like is “standard”.

Build in flexibility

Business can move fast and even though an occupier might know what they want at the start of the lease, it is quite common for requirements to change within a very small timeframe. Company mergers or acquisitions, new contract wins or even changes in legislation can all have an impact on the space you occupy.  It is useful to try to have as much flexibility as possible, so you can adjust your space requirements to suit the needs of your business.

A break clause is a good example of how a tenant may have flexibility for the future, allowing the tenant the comfort of knowing he can leave earlier if he wishes. But be careful, break clauses in leases are littered with traps designed to deny the tenant the break they’ve asked for – falling foul of these can be catastrophic for your business.

End of lease obligations

Occupiers usually don’t think too much about their end of lease obligations and liabilities before they sign a contract. Unfortunately, dilapidation disputes are very common in commercial property and can ultimately end up in court.  You should familiarise yourself with the lease terms and their implications and take steps to minimise your exposure to dilapidation claims by the landlord.

It is important that tenants consider their potential future dilapidations liability in good time, and budget for that future obligation. Provision made in advance, may be allowable against future taxes. If you undertake alteration works to the premises then it is likely that your landlord may require you to reinstate those alterations shortly before the end of the lease (regardless of whether you see them as a benefit). A Licence for Alterations (or Licence to Alter) can be agreed which sets out the obligation.

Leases are complex documents with many hidden traps but, with some good advice and careful planning, you can limit your exposure and liabilities. To learn more about anything discussed in this article, email [email protected] or call us on 0141 354 8962

Edinburgh’s hottest co-working spaces

Edinburgh has established itself as a major player in the UK tech start-up scene. It’s home to mega-tech unicorns like Skyscanner and FanDuel and it’s not difficult to see why companies thrive here. It’s a stunningly beautiful city, it has world class education & research programmes, a global financial services centre and an impressive array of tourist attractions. To top it all off, there’s an abundance of great eateries and bars to play in. And, did we mention the rather big castle from the 12th Century? Check out our top co-working picks below and get in touch if you have any questions…..we’d love to try and help.

City Centre 

The ground floor of this spectacular Georgian Terrace is dedicated to co-working with serviced office accommodation above. The office is perfectly situated in Edinburgh’s vibrant city centre. It is five minutes walk from the shops and restaurants in George Street and just a couple more from Edinburgh’s main station at Waverley. The tram linking the city with the airport stops just moments away at St Andrews Square.

Simply turn up, plug in and get productive – all the hassles of furnishing, cleaning and maintenance are taken care of. With a range of flexible plans to choose from, you can enjoy the freedom to scale as your business grows.

Space available from £125/Month

For more information or to arrange a viewing contact 0141 354 8962 or email [email protected]

 

 City Centre 

This premises has been pioneering quality coworking in Edinburgh since 2007 and claims to be one of the UK’s first coworking spaces. With a central, easily accessible Edinburgh city centre location, a bright coworking studio, workshop and events space, and an inspiring and diverse network of over 170 members, it’s is ideal for those needing a productive space to work from in Edinburgh.

Space available from £57/Month

For more information or to arrange a viewing contact 0141 354 8962 or email [email protected]hprop.co.uk

 

 The Meadows 

This space offers flexible shared space for freelancers, entrepreneurs, businesses or individuals looking for a social and inspiring workspace with easy access from all over the city via bus or train. It overlooks a large lush park that is a favourite area to grab some fresh air. There is super fast Wi-Fi and Ethernet to plug into, daily cleaning and a fully equipped kitchen is available for when you get an attack of the hunger pangs, as well as a bar and cafe. There are personal lockers to stash your goodies in plus under desk storage. Printing facilities are included in your membership fees, as well as a business address if you need it.

Space available from £240/Month

For more information or to arrange a viewing contact 0141 354 8962 or email [email protected]

 

 St Andrews Square 

This business centre is perfectly located, positioned centrally in the heart of Edinburgh’s Georgian New Town. A beautiful roof garden on the top floor provides stunning views to Edinburgh Castle and the Firth of Forth beyond. St Andrew Square is a prestigious and established commercial area making it an ideal base for your business. Facilities include refreshments, projectors, TV screens and disabled access. It is extremely well connected with Edinburgh Bus Station situated to the east of the square. The office can also be accessed by car via the M8’s junction 1 and the M9’s junction 1A. Trams operate from St Andrew Square to Edinburgh Airport, and Waverly train station is within walking distance.

Space available from £164/Month

For more information or to arrange a viewing contact 0141 354 8962 or email [email protected]

 

Princes Street 

Situated on Edinburgh’s world-famous Princes Street, the location of this space is second to none. The premises cover six floors with beautiful views over Princes Street Gardens, the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle. The centre has air conditioning, disabled access and shower facilities as well as 4 meeting rooms. The office is fantastically well connected with Princes Street tram stops, Waverley train station and many bus routes all a few minutes’ walk away.

Space available from £164/Month

For more information or to arrange a viewing contact 0141 354 8962 or email [email protected]

 

 South Gyle

Located in a striking new office complex, this is the ideal solution if you’re a start-up, freelancer or work alone and only require space for a few days each week or month. This competitively priced option provides an address for your business and allows you to take advantage of hot desking and a dedicated business lounge. Close to the famous Forth Road Bridge, the South Gyle business centre is located in a contemporary office building on one of Edinburgh’s leading business parks. The centre offers everything the busy business professional needs, including 24/7 secure access, staffed reception with call answering service, high-speed, state-of-the-art telecoms system, a well-equipped kitchen area and onsite parking.

Space available from £164/Month

For more information or to arrange a viewing contact 0141 354 8962 or email [email protected]