Whether you’re starting your own business or looking for extra space to accommodate a growing workforce, you need to plan ahead and start your search for office space early. Finding the right office to fit your business needs is not an easy task, especially in New York City, where the competition is fierce and office asking rents are not cheap, to say the least.
There are various important factors to consider before you even start browsing listings or looking at offices. It’s important to tackle these factors early on, and give yourself enough time to carefully weigh all your options and make the best decision for you and your team. Choosing a space that can accommodate the needs of both your employees and your clients can be a daunting task, but there are a few crucial things that can help narrow your search. Read on to see what they are.
1. Find your business fit
More often than not, the industry that you operate in will determine the location and the type of space you need. For instance, if your business operates in the finance or law sectors, that implies your employees will often be conducting one-on-on meetings with clients, and those meetings will tackle confidential matters. In this case, it’s important that your new space has enough private offices or private meeting spaces where such discussions can take place without interference.
On the other hand, if you’re managing a tech startup or a small marketing or communications agency, you will need access to open, flexible spaces where your employees can interact and bounce ideas off of each other. If your business is in design or architecture, then airy, naturally lit loft-style spaces will be the best fit.
2. Find your cultural fit
Choosing the right office layout for your particular needs is crucial, but perhaps even more important is the location. Many of New York City’s neighborhoods have, over time, become associated with a particular vibe or a particular business niche. The Plaza District in Midtown Manhattan has become synonymous with prestige and corporate success, while neighborhoods like Chelsea, the Meatpacking District or SoHo are associated with technology startups and small- to mid-size agencies in creative industries. The neighborhood you pick for your new office will serve to let prospective clients and employees know what kind of vibe your business projects and how they’ll be able to relate to you.
3. Weigh the cost of renting office space
While it is important to make a statement and choose a good neighborhood that suits your business profile, you need to make sure that you will be able to afford it. Many New York City submarkets command sky-high office rents, some of the highest in the world. That’s why business districts like Park Avenue, FiDi or Hudson Yards are home to big-ticket corporations, because leasing an office here is often out of reach for smaller business or startups. In Midtown, for instance, office asking rents have reached a post-recession high in 2019, resting at $87 per square foot, according to CBRE. In Midtown South, rents hover around $83 per square foot, while Downtown asking rents are roughly $60 per square foot. The modern towers of Hudson Yards are even pricier than that, with office asking rents exceeding $100 per square foot. However, even in these pricy, prestigious business districts, there are more affordable options to be found. They might be harder to come by, though, so you might want to get the help of a qualified and experienced tenant broker.
If Hudson Yards or the Insurance District are out of your budget, you can look towards more affordable neighborhoods like the up-and-coming Meatpacking District, which is being called ‘the new Plaza District,’ or you could head Uptown towards the trendy, culturally diverse Harlem, where office rents hover below $50 per square foot. These neighborhoods offer easy access to a plethora of cultural, dining, shopping and entertainment destinations, and office spaces found here are perfectly suited for creative businesses and entrepreneurs.
4. Consider accessibility and commutes
Perhaps one of the most crucial factors to consider when choosing a new office space is whether it’s easily accessible to clients and employees. Commute times in New York City are notoriously long, and traffic is a real hassle, so you want to make it easy for clients and workers to get to your office. If you want to keep your employees happy, especially if you already have a loyal workforce that you want to keep with you, you need to try to find a way to accommodate their transportation needs. You can start planning for this early by running a company-wide survey to find out where your employees live and how they want to travel to work. This way you’ll be able to narrow your search quite a bit to try to meet the needs of your employees. Ideally, you’ll want to find a space in a transit-oriented location or neighborhood, that can be easily accessible by train, subway, bus, bike or on foot. Nearby attractions are also important, as you want you and your employees to be within walking distance of restaurants or food courts, and you want your clients to have hotel options nearby if they fly in from another city.
5. Look at building features and amenities
The amenities that come with your new space can make a huge difference in employee attraction and retention, and can really turn a workspace into a place that people enjoy coming into. Firstly, you need to consider things like the exact amount of space you will need to accommodate your current business plans, and also think about possible expansions. If you’re planning to double your workforce in the near future, and don’t want to keep moving every few years or so, then you might want to look into either a bigger space or a flexible loft-style office that can be arranged in different ways to accommodate a larger number of people.
Next, decide if you want to include different types of spaces, like meeting rooms, quiet workrooms, common lounging areas, or game rooms. This will depend mostly on your budget and the flexibility of the landlord, but also on the industry and the profile of your business. Landlords can offer things like a tenant improvement allowance, and you can discuss build-out options during your lease negotiations. You can also use an office space calculator to get an idea of how much office space you will need, and go from there.
You might also want to look into the building features before you commit to a new office space. Nowadays office buildings are built to meet modern technology and sustainability standards, and they come with fast WiFi, security features, energy saving implementations, and state-of-the-art equipment. Older buildings like the limestone towers found in the Financial District are often retrofitted or renovated to meet these new standards. Such features will matter to both your employees and your clients, and they will also help you cut costs with the help of energy saving solutions onsite.
6. Figure out your long-term business plans
It’s very important to start your office search with a long-term plan in mind, so you won’t find yourself having to move again after a year. There are some factors that you will need to figure out before starting your search, like the current head count in your space, the projected growth of your staff, both short-term and long-term, the clients that you want to attract, and the type of amenities you are going to need. If you plan on taking on interns or organizing events or workshops in your office, you will need to factor that into your decision as well.
If you’re just starting out your own business and are unsure whether it’s going to work out the way you want it to, you also have the option of renting out a coworking space on a shorter-term basis. This is a great option if you don’t really have a long-term business plan yet or you don’t know how fast your business will grow and how many employees you are going to have to accommodate.
7. Get help from a tenant broker
These factors are just some of the things you need to consider when embarking on a search for New York City office space. To make sure you find the best possible option for you and your employees, from every standpoint, your safest bet is to work with a tenant broker who will guide you through the whole process. Brokers know the ins and outs of the market, and they are an invaluable asset that will ease the process and headache of finding the perfect office for your business.
Are you thinking of setting up your business in a convenient location in Manhattan, and are looking to lease space in a modern building offering state-of-the-art amenities? Then reach out to us and we will show you worthwhile space situated right in the heart of New York City. To learn about available office space, call Metro Manhattan Office Space at (212) 444-2241 or email us at [email protected]