What are the signs of the need for an office expansion?
If you are coming to work to a messy office each day, this may be the first sign that you need to create an office expansion project plan. When your employees don’t have enough room to turn their chairs around or when you start to lose important files because you lack shelves to organize them, you should start thinking about how to expand your office. However, office expansion is not only about reorganizing stuffed drawers, finding the surface to place desks, or not having enough spaces in the parking lot. Common indicators that a business is growing are related to having a solid business base, a steady influx of customers and a stable cash flow.
When these initial signs of office expansion show up, your customers may ask you to introduce a new product or a new service, which is an additional proof that the limits of your current business are too small. For a startup, this change typically happens after the first couple of years - cyclical growth that takes place year by year is a much better indicator of an expanded office than a one-off surge of operations and revenue. Once the office is too tight for your team, staff have already reached a tipping point of coherence and collaboration and they are ready to take on new challenges. Finally, when a new technology gets introduced into your niche, you will need to start thinking about a new office expansion project plan.
What are the main considerations of an office expansion?
Before widening your office space, and even as you search for a building to open a new office, you need to think of how will the office space fit within your plans for growth. If you have a long-term business plan or strategy, things can be easy. But even if you are not that organized, it’s always good to have 15 to 20 percent flexibility to incorporate a possible future office expansion.
Technology is a crucial consideration for office expansion since it provides the tools to save space, improve office design, foster team collaboration, and amp up productivity. Modern offices don’t have as many walls as before, and contain open areas with social and work-related purposes. Such office organization is convenient for expanding an office because it allows for repurposing an area into something else when a need arises. For example, a long corridor can be turned into an extra storage or a conference room can turn into an after-work social place. Since workers are more mobile and most of the work is done online, when you need to complete a modern office expansion, you won’t have to worry about breaking walls, moving bulky furniture, and large paper filing cabinets. Smaller devices, wireless connections, and open spaces have made office expansions simple and easy. Therefore, always give priority to setting up appropriate technology as you plan to grow your office.
Naturally, money is another important consideration - when you are working on a budget, you can’t spend so much of it that your expanded business bounces back. An advantage can be if you are located in a facility where you can take up more space as you employ more people, but that’s not always the case. However, if you invest a bit more in an office design with shared desks and enough space to put a few more desks when you sign the lease, you won’t need to spend as much when the time for office expansion comes.
It will be a breeze to complete the expansion if you consider your workspace energy efficiency a priority. Think of finding a green building, installing energy efficient lightning, bring in natural light, choose a proper HVAC system, all in all, make your office an energy-saving, healthy and pleasant environment.
An office expansion project plan (e.g. a to-do checklist)
Now you’ve known the signs that indicate an expansion and have included the considerations in your planning process, it’s time to create an office expansion project plan. Here is what your plan should focus on:
- Write down the information about the business current facilities and equipment, put your business goals next to it, and think about how to bring both together
- Think about your target audience and try to anticipate how its needs will affect the office expansion plan
- Study the competition to see what steps you need to take to expand to a competitor’s level.
- Write down the daily activities, check how will the office expansion impact the daily activities, and vice versa
- Keep your finance and budget plans handy to calculate expansion costs and expected profits in the period when you expand
- Collect all contracts, blueprints, design schemes, and other files that could assist the office expansion project plan.
- Will you get a bank loan to realize the expansion? Compile an error-free business plan to submit to investors.
- Will you employ new people, get a new lease for a larger location or just expand where you are? Consider multiple options.
- Consult with your team to maximize on what you already have
- Be creative - an office space can be used for so many social and work activities so that the office expansion creates additional revenue sources.