What does downsizing office space mean?
Downsizing in business was traditionally associated with companies facing tough times that were forced to cut costs. One way to reduce those expenses is moving to a smaller office or using a shared workspace.
Downsizing needn't be negative though. Moving to a smaller space can be a smart move that benefits the business by improving employee collaboration, communication, morale and productivity. With many businesses now needing less space on a daily basis, cutting back on rent costs can be a shrewd move that allows you to focus funds on other areas.
Why a business might consider downsizing an office
There are various reasons why a business might want to downsize their office space. They include:
- Falling demand for a business's products or services driven by factors such as an economic downturn, declining consumer confidence and increased competition can create a need to reduce costs by company downsizing.
- Hybrid working has accelerated due to the coronavirus pandemic. With millions of employees working from home, the traditional 9-5, five days a week in the same office for entire teams was no longer a necessity. Many businesses have reaped the benefits of hybrid working including increased productivity and improved staff wellbeing.
- Rather than all employees returning full time in a traditional company office, workers have the flexibility to choose where they work. Days are split between working at home and meeting with colleagues or clients in another space. This creates the need for less space as businesses forgo traditional dedicated business premises and instead opt for flexible coworking and innovation hubs where teams can come together to collaborate.
- Businesses are currently experiencing big increases in energy and other costs. According to the Federation of Small Businesses, firms have been hit by a 424% rise in gas costs and 349% increase in electricity since February 2021. Downsizing to a smaller office or shared workspace can significantly reduce those expenses.
- The benefits to the environment is another reason for office downsizing. Fewer people in a smaller officer with less commuting or part time use of a coworking space can reduce your carbon footprint.
- Businesses storing lots of paperwork can reduce their office space requirements by shredding and scanning documents.
The benefits of downsizing office space
Moving your business to a smaller space doesn't need to be a negative and it can actually bring many benefits.
Operating from an innovation hub like Plus X with multiple workspace options means you can move throughout the building according to the needs of your team. For example, you have the flexibility to use your own dedicated office, hot desks in communal spaces and quiet areas for uninterrupted focus.
You also have space to bring teams together for collaboration and coworking, networking opportunities with other business leaders and access to innovation programmes providing expertise to help grow your business.
Other benefits include reduced overheads, impressive locations for meetings with clients, and access to facilities like photography and podcast suites.
Finally, a business owner may want to improve the wellbeing of their staff but lack the finances to invest in health-related initiatives in their own office. Innovation hubs like Plus X provide a healthy working environment with features such as premium ventilation systems, a rooftop terrace and yoga workshops.
How to downsize office space
Decided to downsize your office space? Here are some tips for making a success of your move.
Consider and consult your employees
Before downsizing, you should involve your staff. Getting their input on what they want from an office and what needs to change is important for making a success of the move.
Ask employees what they would like the new office to look like. If they are home workers who will be travelling to meet with colleagues, get them to think about the breakout zones, coworking spaces and meeting rooms they would prefer to use.
Find the most appropriate space
Spend time researching the office or workspace that suits your needs. You'll need to consider features such as the proximity to public transport so your employees don't face long commutes.
Deciding whether you need a private office is important. If coworking is what you're looking for, you need to find a space that's suitable for your staff. Does it also have sufficient meeting rooms and quiet spaces for focused work?
Think about your business's future. Does the building have capacity for your growth? You might start with coworking, but what about a large dedicated office if your team gets bigger?
Consider your clients too. If you no longer have your own premises, you need a place that will impress them at meetings.
Decide what to take to the new office
Before you start packing, conduct an audit of everything your business owns. Consider items such as furniture, technology, machinery, stock, and company records.
Select the items you'll take to the new office and make an inventory. Label everything carefully so it can be easily identified when delivered to the new location.
For items you decide are unnecessary, obsolete, or won't fit in the new office, your options include selling them, donating them to other businesses or charities, and safely disposing of them.
You should destroy any old paperwork or convert it to digital.
Use professional movers
If you don't have much furniture and equipment or the new office isn't too far away, you and your employees could do the move yourselves. However, office moves can be very stressful so it is advisable to use a professional commercial moving service.
Content + Social Media Manager at Plus X Innovation.