Is Now the Right Time to Move Offices? 6 Big Factors to Consider

The Hubble Team
The Hubble Team|

Is your office lease coming up? Break clause looming? Deciding whether to stick or twist on your current workspace is a big decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. 

Before you make a call either way, here are the six core areas that you should explore to make an informed decision about whether to hand in your notice and look for a new office.

1) Office attendance – is your team using your current space?

In our experience, one of the biggest causes of office discontent for leaders of hybrid businesses is what we call ‘empty desk syndrome’. This describes the bubbling sense of resentment that you’re paying for desks that your team simply isn’t using (and we all know that desks don’t come cheap – office space is usually number two on the list of business expenses after salaries).

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What proportion of desks are being used on any given day?
  • Are some days more popular than others?
  • What percentage of your team is using the office – is it a dedicated group, or spread across everyone?

A lot boils down to your company’s tolerance for wasted spend – but if your office usage is on the low side and your finance team or CEO isn’t happy about it, there are more cost-efficient alternatives out there, including:

  • Taking a smaller office to try and cut down empty desk problem and ensuring your team can rotate through the space 
  • Taking a part-time office for 1-3 days a week to concentrate office attendance on certain days of the week and cut the wasted spend on the days you’re not using it.

2) Employee sentiment – does your current workspace meet your team’s expectations?

In a world where companies are giving their employees greater freedom of choice about office attendance, gauging team sentiment towards your current workspace is an important piece of the ‘should I move office?’ equation. This is especially true if you’d like to encourage more in-person working in your team – something we know a lot of businesses are keen to do.

Team surveys are the fastest route to establishing this. We’ve written a comprehensive survey checklist, but some key questions to ask are:

  • What reasons do you like coming to the office?
  • What would make you come to the office more?
  • What do you dislike about our current office?

Download your copy of our Employee Survey Checklist here.

3) Facilities – does your current workspace meet your team’s needs?

The role of the office has shifted post-pandemic – and at Hubble we’re seeing that many teams have dramatically different needs in terms of the facilities they need in their office space. 

For example, many businesses find themselves needing:

  • More private space like phone booths to individually dial into video conference calls
  • More communal space to socialise and foster team interaction
  • More meeting room space to host clients and in-person meetings
  • To cater to employee requests like pet-friendly spaces, workspaces with bike storage and showers or in-house gym facilities.

As with the previous point, a lot of this information can be gleaned from surveying both employees and managers about what their workspace needs are.

4) Current location – is your office in the right spot for your team and external stakeholders?

As with facilities and amenities, it’s also important to scrutinise whether the location of your office still works for you – especially if you chose your current office pre-pandemic. There are a number of factors to consider when it comes to location:

  • Team – does the location of your office still make sense from the perspective of where your team is based? The pandemic gave rise to many employees ‘escaping the city’ as well as remote hiring practices, and at Hubble we’re seeing a lot of businesses wanting to move to workspace that’s close to transport hubs like Kings Cross, Waterloo, London Bridge and Paddington
  • External stakeholders – does your office location support your ways of doing business? Whether you’re hosting or travelling – if in-person meetings with external stakeholders are an important part of your day-to-day, ensuring that your office is best-placed to serve this need is important.  

5) Rent prices in your favoured locations – could you save money by moving?

If cost reduction and spend efficiency are high on your list of priorities, it’s vital to understand the likelihood of you actually being able to save money in an office move (especially if it’s in a new neighbourhood). As a result, it’s important to factor into your research:

  • Rent prices in your chosen area – you can get an idea of these by checking out Hubble’s 2024 Q1 Rent Guides
  • The number of days you want to take an office for – companies often find they can save money and move to a more premium area if they consider a part-time office.

Remember – if you choose Hubble to help with your office search, our expert advisors can typically negotiate up to a 15% discount on your behalf.

6) Current market trends – is the office market favourable to an office move?

If you’ve been tasked with researching a potential office move, it’s unlikely that this is the main part of your day-job; keeping up with the ups and downs of the commercial real estate market probably isn’t part of your job description. 

As a result, it’s important to consult a trusted source of expert information to figure out whether it makes sense to move, given the broader market landscape – being in-the-know about factors such as occupancy rates and whether providers are opening new buildings or closing existing ones down are key to getting the best office at the best price.

Here’s a video of Hubble’s VP of Commercial, Henry, talking through some of the current trends in the market in early 2024. 

Next steps

If you’ve weighed up these considerations and decided an office move is on the cards, you can find out what you should do next by visiting our Office Move Resource Hub.

You can also reach out to a friendly Hubble Workspace Advisor, who can give you recommendations and help guide you through the process, free of charge.

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Prefer to chat? Get in touch with our team of expert advisors:

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+44 20 3966 6804