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Finding a Home for Your Company: Four Questions to Ask During Your Office Search

By: JD Jeske, Head of Atlanta, WiredScore

Finding and leasing a professional office space that meets your needs, your desires and your budget is both exciting and stressful. Whether you’re a tech startup that just hit a growth spurt or you’re a FinTech firm looking for a fresh space to call your own, the search for the perfect home for your company can be complicated.

The site-selection phase is a critical first step in this journey, and it’s important to ask the right questions. Taking the time to understand exactly what your company wants and needs is essential to getting the rest of the process right. More importantly, understanding exactly what an office building offers will ensure you make the best final decision for your organization.

We all know to ask about surface level factors the factors like submarket consideration, access to public transportation, and parking ratios. How do you ensure your next space goes beyond the basics and becomes an environment that helps your team thrive?

Once you have narrowed down your search to a short list of a final few office buildings, here are four questions to consider to ensure your new home is perfect.

Are your employees inspired by their work space?

For decades, office leasing decisions were driven by a C-suite looking for features like executive boardrooms, flashy corner offices, and locations tailored to their own commutes (but not those of their employees). That top-down mentality is now considered outdated, and large companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon build entire teams dedicated to creating experiential offices that attract and retain talent. But this trend isn’t just for the tech titans of the world. Across the board, businesses are looking for office space that delivers new community-based amenities like the access to green spaces at Piedmont Center or a rooftop terrace that’s part of the new improvements at Resurgens Plaza. Other factors, including proximity to restaurants, retail, and lifestyle destinations, will set your workplace apart in the eyes of your employees.

Modern office design is about efficiency, flexibility, and shared spaces. These design choices help to facilitate social interaction and foster workplace satisfaction. Adobe’s Future of Work Study reports that over 80% of office workers say that state-of-the-art technology was more important to them than an office’s design or on-site amenities. Adobe’s study also found that those U.S. workers who said their company’s technology is “ahead of the curve” feel roughly twice as creative, motivated, and valued and love their work about twice as much compared to those at companies whose technology is “behind the times.”

Is the building truly tech-friendly?

Imagine signing a lease at what you consider to be the perfect home for your company, then finding out you have spotty internet service. Your employees can’t make video calls, access data from cloud platforms, or download large data packages. A reliable, high-speed internet connection is the backbone of every company. It’s critical to assess the connectivity of buildings before signing a lease so you don’t run into unexpected roadblocks down the line.

Poor connectivity translates into lost revenue and plummeting productivity. Proactively asking the right questions at the outset of the process is imperative in ensuring this doesn’t happen to you. A building that has multiple fiber internet options ensures your company will have access to the fastest possible speeds at a competitive rate. Although not every building is already equipped with the adequate internet service offerings that a business needs, a tech-friendly building should support bringing in additional carriers and have the capacity to meet such demand.

Not a telecommunications expert? Ask your broker if the building you’re touring is Wired Certified. This global rating system guarantees that the building has been evaluated by digital connectivity experts to confirm that your company is supported by reliable and resilient connectivity.

How reliable is the in-building mobile phone coverage?

Nothing ruins an important sales call or client meeting like a dropped call. Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) can eliminate “dead zones” in buildings with poor cellular phone coverage. This is an especially important feature for LEED certified buildings because energy efficient Low-E windows block cell phone signals. Additionally, cell towers are designed to service users at ground level in their homes or cars. If your office building is taller than 20 stories or over 500,000 square feet, cell service will be impacted unless the building owner has installed the correct technology to boost cell service.

Do your employees use desk phones to make calls, or do they prefer to use their mobile phones for business so that they are always accessible? Whether traveling to a conference, stuck in traffic, or working from home, more and more companies are adopting BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies to stay aligned with these new working preferences. This means there are more smart phones, tablets, and even Apple Watches tapping into data service inside the building and collectively putting a strain on networks. If the building has not properly planned for adequate or even redundant data service, this can be devastating to a company’s productivity and very expensive to fix.

Is there a co-working company operating in the building?

Coworking companies can offer great flexibility to your company over the life of your lease term. If your company hits a growth spurt or you take on a new temporary project, coworking options are great overflow solutions. Keeping your team in the building but operating from a coworking location on another floor will keep them engaged with the appropriate elbow room to remain productive. The coworking advantages of space flexibility and month-to-month financial commitment is a terrific amenity when choosing a building.

 Asking the right questions upfront can save you time, money and stress down the line, and ensure you find the perfect home for your company.

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