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A guide to finding your first work space

You’ve either been working from home or have just kicked off your own startup, business is booming and its finally time to spread your wings and fly into your very own headquarters.


Although setting up a new office, retail store or workshop is an exciting step in the life of your business, there are a few things to take into consideration before completely grounding your roots.


Firstly, the average person spends one-third of their life at work. That’s 13 years and two months of a typical 50-year period of employment. So, considering an average of 4,821 days of your life is spent working (excluding overtime), you’d want your office space to be more than just a place of business and productivity.


It’s important to create a comfortable area to collaborate and brainstorm, and ultimately develop an oasis of wholesome work culture and happiness for you and your team. This can be achieved by following the route of an unconventional office space. Instead of cubicles and meeting rooms consider shared spaces, standing desks and privacy booths. Studies have shown a dynamic work environment makes employees feel comfortable and increases job satisfaction and productivity.


When it comes to securing your first office, one of the primary matters to tackle is location. The whereabouts of your hustling space is a key consideration for a number of reasons. An ideal work space needs to be close to public transport and parking so it’s easy for employees to travel to and from work. 


You also need to consider which amenities you would like to access on a regular basis. Do you need to be near cafes, restaurants and banks? Do you want to be located in a precinct that is known for specific types of businesses? And beyond the needs of your own, what are the needs of your clients? Will they be visiting often? When they do visit, where will you work together?


Once you have narrowed down the specifics of your criteria, it’s time to start searching for an area. The general rule is that you will need 10 to 12 square metres per person.


Keep a budget in mind when you start looking and also be aware that there’s often a bit of wiggle room in quoted prices. Don’t be afraid to expand your search to include premises slightly above your limit and negotiate prices.


When you’re dealing with real estate agents, ask about incentives such as rent-free periods and find out whether the quoted price is gross or net. Gross rent includes all expenses associated with the property, whereas a net price doesn’t take into account additional costs such as building management fees.


Shared offices spaces are trending, with many startups and ambitious entrepreneurs opting for joint spaces. Research suggests coworking office space in Australia will triple by 2030, so if you don’t want to commit to a long-term lease it’s worth considering sub-letting, sharing a space, or trialling a coworking space on a month-to-month basis.


When you’re inspecting spaces, make sure you take into account things like bathrooms, kitchens, disabled access, parking, bike storage, safety doors, fire exits, and lighting.It has been proven that exposure to natural light improves productivity, so finding a well-lit office will have a positive impact on your employees and their work.


Introduce yourself to other tenants and make discreet enquiries about the landlord. You want to be sure that the landlord isprofessional, makes repairs in a timely fashion, and is reasonable to deal with. 


If you want to breathe life into your vision and are planning on modifying the space, you’ll need to discuss it before settling in or signing any contracts. Some landlords are open to letting tenants renovate and paint the premises provided it’s done at the tenant’s own cost. You’ll need written consent before making any alterations to the premises. Once you’re happy with the terms, you will need to pay a deposit and sign a lease. 


Be sure to acquire any important contact details (building manager or landlord) because you may need to arrange out-of-hours access for tradespeople and technicians who need to either deliver furniture or set up your phones and IT systems.


Once you’ve moved in, remember to change your business address with all your customers, suppliers and utility providers so the location of your new space is well known.


One other important factor to consider is protecting your business with adequate insurance. CGU offers a range of cover for businesses, both big and small. Find all-in-one protection with CGU’s Office Insurance Pack. The customisable coverage provides a range of different insurance types all under one policy – making it easy to insure your entire business.


Finding the perfect office doesn’t have to be an intimidating experience – you just have to do your research, ask questions and find the right space that moulds to your business needs.