Moving a business is not easy, there are so many things to think about, so much to do, along with minimising the disruption to your organisation, so its little wonder that moving or refurbishing offices is often low on the agenda until the last minute. That brings about its pressures as you realise too late that you may have to make a rushed decision.
Refurbishing an existing office is almost harder. Although there is less to arrange, in one sense, there is the added complication of trying to maintain the services and revenue of your company yet expect it to bear with the disruption which potentially can run from weeks to months.
Even when you have made the decision of whether to move or refurbish, where do you start? Where did that decision come from? Was it rushed or an informed, logical decision based on robust consideration and challenged against the strategic growth plans of the company?
This is clearly outside your comfort zone. You want the best for your company – minimal disruption and continuity for your customer but along with it you need to deliver on company goals and maintain value to shareholders.
Let’s explore this scenario. Your lease is up for renewal - you obviously have two options - do you stay or do you move? And, as we all know, there are pros and cons to moving or refurbishing offices. The question is, how can I make an informed decision?
One way to do it
Who should you ask? Or is it my decision? Should I know what to do?
Yes, there are consultants out there that would advise and give well informed advice but it doesn’t end there. They are often from a big, even global company and before you know it you are in the maze of consultancy that is both expensive and protracted as you engage with just about every consultant under the sun.
Don’t get me wrong, you will end up with first class advice but I have two arguments - it will be both expensive, and quite frankly, take months which as I started with, it is time you often don’t have.
But is there really another way?
Actually, there is, it’s based on trust and comes from a sector of the market you least expect.
Before I start, though, let’s talk about trust as it’s one of the most valuable and effective attributes in business. In scenarios such as this it’s pretty crucial. For this to work we need to engage with someone who is wanting to help you and trust is a two-way street.
This sector is quite unique, often labelled as office furniture suppliers or fit out companies but actually quite different.
And, yes, just like any other company, they are looking to create revenue and grow profits but you are talking to the right person one time here!
Okay, that sounds hackneyed and I apologise but it’s true, just please let me explain.
So, let’s briefly (if I can) expand this scenario out a little further.
Your lease is expiring and you need to make a decision on what to do. You realise this is not a decision you can make without being informed so you go to a reputable consultancy firm who, for a fee, help you evaluate the space you have, the growth plans of the company, the vision and strategic plan and come back with a suggestion of what they feel is what you need to do. But that’s it, they suggest for you to move, they have suggested how much space you need to achieve your growth plans and now… now what?
From here you are often now on a journey with this consultancy as they offer to find you space. They even offer to manage the whole project for you (what a relief!) and go down a merry passage of contracting interior designers, electrical engineers, mechanical and ventilation consultants, quantity surveyors and project managers as they create the perfect solution for you (oh and they take a cut of everything that happens).
But there’s just a few points they missed.
You are now pretty alienated from the process; all these consultants are designing something that they want to be proud of (and rightly so) but that tends to drift away from any budget you may have had. You end up with a Rolls Royce design and, although you have fallen in love with it, you just can’t really justify the expenditure, and more than this to get this far the process has cost you a lot of money!
So here you are with a project over-budget, with a re-look only going to cost more money and time and this is the point that if you hadn’t already been disillusioned by this whole process you are now.
I could go on. Say you even get on site, you have a consultancy pulling together different trades to realise the project, they have ever so cleverly gone to tender to get you the `best price’ but the disconnection carries on site. The electricians fit the floor boxes, the furniture company fit the desking, and, lo and behold, they weren’t communicating with each other during the final design and half of it doesn’t match up creating more delays and potential cost.
The other way
As I said, it’s a different approach and it’s a single, unified one to all of the above. These companies come in and work with CEO’s and MD’s to evaluate the needs of the business. They have no ulterior motive as to whether you move or stay, they aren’t looking for a cut on any third party consultancy, they just have a great understanding of what is important to business.
So you go through the same process of answering the questions about moving or refurbishing offices, but in a completely different way. Yes you will need to engage with a property agent to find a property but you are looking for one based on a decision made by someone who has no interest in property letting. Going on from that they are not just trying to provide a solution, they are working to a budget, have in-house capabilities that do not require expensive third party input and, most importantly, are keeping you engaged and close to the decision whilst co-ordinating all the different phases of the project.
On site, being the client, connection is much closer, things happen so much quicker, changes you may need to make don’t need to through a long process, (and believe me it is long) it goes direct, costs a lot less and contractors are working to a common goal rather than just focusing on their own scope of works.
So where is the catch?
There is none, but as I said it’s based on trust. These companies invest a lot of time up-front helping companies make informed decisions and often it’s not until a lease is signed, when they have done months of work, that they get a return. For them it’s a worthwhile investment, for the client it is good value as they get what they need, when they need, with direct input whenever they like and a partner that is only interested in delivering something fit for purpose.
The hard bit is when corporate say `we need to go to tender’ as often they say that at the point when these companies have invested heavily in the project, especially as they don’t say that when they are using a paid consultancy as they know they are getting competitive comparative quotes from them . It feels good value but all you are actually getting is a protracted, expensive solution that can be scarily detached from the original CEO’s vision. Please everyone let us understand and embrace the speed of trust.
I know blogs are meant to be informative, unbiased (not long – please forgive me) and not `selling’ but sorry, I can’t say all this and not tell you where to go, I’m too obsessed, too passionate and believe in ourselves to this extent (and I’m only writing this as it was an in-house competition) but you need to talk to Amos Beech.
This was a blog by Roy James
Amos Beech ran an internal blog competition. The above article, written by Roy James, won the category for being ‘website worthy’. Roy is the Operations Director here and he is known for being a man of few words. Consequentially, we were all very impressed with his 1300 word blog! He has made his point very well.
Read more here from the same category on our sister company website Incognito Underfloor Heating.