The office relocation game

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An increase in new-build activity by developers and major refurbishment projects by property owners in the office sector, is giving rise to greater movements within the leasing market around the country as businesses seek out premises that best suit their game plan.

The reasons behind a move to new office premises are broad and may include any of the following:

• End of lease with no renewals
• Initiative to reduce costs
• To spearhead growth or a consolidation
• Underpin an organisational shakeup
• Rebrand and a new image to better support a business culture
• Means to recruit new team members
• Retention tool for current staff
• Desire to improve productivity
• Need to be better positioned to service client base

If your business is looking to move premises, then – like most things – planning is the key to a streamlined transition for everyone in the staff chain and as a consequence, for your clients, too.

Bayleys research shows that, for example, in Auckland, white collar employment growth within the CBD and surrounds remains very strong and vacancy rates are low at around five percent so implementing a move can sometimes take quite some time to come to fruition.

It’s an interesting game and we’re noting many existing CBD businesses – along with a growing number of new players entering the market – reassessing their business needs and scoping out office space.

Researchers say there has been a definite flight to quality by a growing number of occupiers driven by changes in workspace strategy and increased competition to attract/retain staff.

Green credentials for new builds in Auckland, particularly, are becoming increasingly important with most projects seeking at least a five-star green star rating for both build and interiors.

There has also been a noticeable trend of IT and utility companies moving away from the CBD to the amenity-rich city fringes.

Impact on staff

While office relocation may help businesses reach their goals, how does it affect their employees?

Shifting house is known to be one of the biggest stressors in life. And an office relocation can stir up the same emotions right across the workforce, from business owner to the newest team member, so it’s important to manage expectation and anticipate hurdles.

A recent US survey (by analyst firm Clutch) of around 500 employees who had recently moved office spaces with their current employer, revealed that the move had been a positive one for 68 percent of respondents.

The businesses had relocated to more comfortable, more stylish and better-conceived office premises which improved the working conditions.

Interestingly, despite trends for more compact, flexible workspaces, the employees surveyed said the main benefits to them from an office relocation were a more comfortable space (67 percent) and more space to accomplish tasks (61 percent).

More natural light, better furniture, better technology and a higher level of amenity were all noted as contributing to employee satisfaction.

However, the respondents also mentioned challenges such as distractions leading up to, during and once installed, in their new space. These included a less convenient location adding to the daily commute and for some, the perception that the overall location was less desirable..

Those businesses that include employees across different levels in the search for new premises seem most likely to make the transition more smoothly.

Further, regular and positive communication about the impending move should be conveyed to staff so any surprises are good ones.


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