The process of finding the right office can be challenging. Little details can make a big difference in your occupancy, after all. Once you've figured out your budget, here are nine must-haves for commercial office space.
LEED, Energy Star or Other Green Certiﬁcation
Green building isn't a trend. Well-designed
environmentally friendly oﬃces cost less to operate
and occupy and tend to have happier occupants with
fewer sick days. Furthermore, the environmental
sensibilities of the Millennial generation make occupying
eco-friendly commercial real estate a necessity for
Consider designing a corporate real estate campaign, through using
professional tools like Energy Star and utility reports to track behavior changes.
Deﬁne successful actions and identify the traceable metrics. Find the best
holistic and integrated approach to allow for the highest level of eﬃciency,
transparency and simplicity. Monitor and document development strategies that
will more likely produce desirable outcomes. Measure progress at each
development stage for the new energy eﬃciency and building resource program.
Our Top 5 Green Commercial Real Estate Predictions
Good Parking Ratio
An increasingly mobile workforce means that your
employees probably need to have cars with them. As
such, ﬁnding space with a generous parking ratio is key
to maximizing productivity. Bear in mind, though, that
the types of tenants in a building can impact just how much parking it has
available at a given ratio.
There is more to an oﬃce lease than your actual space, as deﬁned by its
demising walls. Your space is only as good as the building common areas that
lead to it. After all, it's hard to get to a suite on the 14th ﬂoor if you don't have a
lobby to walk into and hallways to walk down. Possibly even more important
than the common areas is the parking garage, ramp or lot that the building
oﬀers. Paying careful attention to the parking area -- and your rights within it --
can help to ensure that the oﬃce lease you sign is the right one for your
When you move into a new
piece of commercial real
estate, the hope is that your
occupancy will be a success. As such, sourcing spaces that have adjacent
vacancies or that have them scheduled for the future will make it easier for you
to grow your oﬃce.
Expanding can be challenging if you want to grow while your existing lease is in
place. You might be able to simply negotiate a separate lease on a diﬀerent
space. For convenience, you can tie that lease's expiration date to your existing
lease so that you can renegotiate both at the same time. If your landlord is
sitting on vacancy, your negotiating position improves. He may be willing to
negotiate a new lease on your new, larger space, letting you get out of your
existing lease and into a set price for the entire space. This could get you lower
rent or long-term stability.
Keep this all in mind when you move into new oﬃce space and be aware of
what vacancies are available, or will be in the future.
Reasonable Commute Options
Every minute that your employees spend commuting is a
minute that they aren't spending working or refreshing
themselves to be more productive at work. Finding a space
that is easy to get to -- however your
geography deﬁnes that -- will give you happier workers.
Employees might commute on their own
time, but they bring their commute's eﬀects
to work with them. Finding a space that your team can get to
without spending hours in their cars will give you employees
that are happier, more alert and more productive. Access to
public transportation and to convenient and aﬀordable parking
can be as important as an easily reached street address.
Whether it be close proximity to major highways or near public transportation
hubs, giving your employees reasonable commute options is key.
Proximity to Amenities
The closer your oﬃce is to amenities
like restaurants, espresso shops, health
clubs and dry cleaners, the easier it will
be for your workers to do what they
need to on their own time instead of
during work time. Those amenities can
also make it easier for your team to meet and socialize outside of the oﬃce.
Having your site selection team focus on locations that have a high amenity load
brings multiple beneﬁts:
1. Your workers are more productive since they know that they can run errands
and take care of personal business before or after work or on lunch breaks.
2. Teams are more likely to be cohesive if they are able to socialize outside of
the workplace, especially at local watering holes or restaurants.
3. The more amenities in the immediate area, the fewer you will need to oﬀer
(and pay rent on) in your oﬃce space. For instance, a Starbucks or Caribou
on the ground ﬂoor of your building can serve as an informal employee
meeting space, letting you potentially get away with one fewer conference
room. Eliminating a 300 square foot conference room can save you $9,000
per year at $30 rent.
Simplifying Site Selection with Technology
Nearby Vendors / Supportive Services
Along with amenities, the ideal oﬃce is also located close to the services that
you need to do business. Before signing a lease, ﬁnd the nearest oﬃce supply
store, post oﬃce, airport and the location of your vendors and clients.
If your team spends time in the
ﬁeld working with clients,
prospects and vendors, ensure
that your site selection process
maps their locations so that
you can choose an oﬃce that is central to them. The less time that your
employees spend in their cars getting to the places that they need to do
business, the more time they're spending working on their jobs and being
For example, if your primary clients are in the industrial part of Long Island City,
a location in lower Manhattan makes little sense. If you don't choose to locate in
Queens, oﬃce space in Midtown will get your employees miles closer to their
clients. As another example, oﬃces in downtown LA make little sense if you're
doing business with the entertainment industry, which is concentrated in
Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley. In Minneapolis, many consumer
product companies maintain downtown oﬃces so that they can walk to Target's
world headquarters through the indoor skyway system in the winter.
Tenant improvement allowances frequently don't
cover the entire cost of building out a space, so
the more that you can ﬁnd already in place, the
more you'll save. Even seemingly unimportant
items like a ceiling grid can save you thousands
Build-out costs, also referred to as "tenant improvements" (TIs) are the one-time
costs that tenants and landlords incur in conﬁguring space. TI costs can vary
wildly from market to market depending on material and construction costs. In
addition, TI costs change depending on what a tenant needs done. Simply
painting and re-carpeting an existing space can be done for around $10 per
square foot in many parts of the country. On the other hand, a lavish build out
for a law oﬃce can cost well over $100 per square foot.
Having pre-existing buildouts already in place can potentially save your
One of the biggest determinants of whether a commercial real estate property is
Class A or Class C is the number of windows it oﬀers. An ample glassline makes
your oﬃce feel bigger and more open while also allowing you to use more
natural light and less artiﬁcial light, reducing energy costs. Sunlight also leads to
more productive and healthier employees.
Site Selection: What Class of Building Should I Lease?
Fiber Connection & Sensors
In 2015, there is no
excuse for not having a
ﬁber optic connection to
Even if you don't need
that much bandwidth, realize that as every other business in the property installs
servers, video conferencing systems and other bandwidth hogs, you will want
there to be ample connectivity for everyone.
Modern oﬃce space can be chaotic, especially from a management point of
view. The sensor technology that is revolutionizing building energy eﬃciency is
also ﬁnding its way into other areas of building operation. At the most basic
level, motion sensors turn lights on when an oﬃce is in use and oﬀ when it gets
vacated. With an elaborate multi-zone HVAC system, the building can also use
sensors to only heat and cool areas that are being used, further saving energy.
These are technologies that are readily available today.