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Over the decades there has been a great deal of research investigating the importance of office spaces and how it has a direct impact on employees, your clients, and the image of the business.

Choosing the ideal office space for your business may be a complex and tedious process especially when there are ample good quality office spaces to choose from in Malaysia.

There are several factors that need to be considered in order to pick an ideal office space which will deliver commercial benefits for your business. Here are some points to ponder upon when deciding on an office space.


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Taking Note of Future Needs

When choosing an office space, it is crucial to consider the future growth graph of the business. Business owners must have a futuristic or long-term perspective of the needs of their business characterised by the business type and the trend in the particular business industry.

In recent years, the business industry has seen the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI). In reality, mobile devices, video conferencing, and even virtual reality are becoming commonplace in the office as an increasingly mobile workforce demands an agile, hyper-connected environment which supports a flexible approach to work.

In the near future, AI will impact the number of occupiers in an office space and how work tasks are carried out. Video conferencing will replace the need of having a physical meeting room and employees will be able to participate in meetings without having to physically be in the office.

There should be provisions for future expansions, but not to forget options for downsizing or relocating too as the business world is always changing. You do not want to get stuck with long-term lease agreements that do not offer flexibility to expand or downsize.

However, business owners must bear in mind not to overestimate or underestimate the required space. Depending on how bad it gets, you might end up needing to lease a second office or move out soon after settling, which is not usually a cost-effective way to do business or you might be paying more for space that you may not actually need.


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Location and Accessibility

There are three things that matter in choosing an office space; Location, Location, Location! This phrase is probably the first thing that people tell you and it is more than just a catchphrase.

Location is an important aspect of a successful business. A business’s address is an important factor in the way that a business is perceived.

Good accessibility is a huge advantage for a business. When deciding on an office space, business owners need to consider how convenient it is for clients to visit and also gain access to hiring the best individuals for your business; as well as whether there is public transport connectivity such as MRT, LRT and feeder buses within the immediate vicinity.

Although good location is pertinent, you have to be mindful of zeroing in on the location for your business by taking into account the affordability factor.

There is no point in choosing an expensive location, which will eventually lead to financial problems for your business in the future. Start your business within your affordability and slowly grow upwards as your business expands.


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Sole Consideration of Price Factor

Every business owner wants the best possible office deal they can find regardless of leasing or buying, especially in a tenant-led market with the oversupply of office spaces in the Klang Valley.

However, price should not be the sole deciding factor when making a decision and certainly not at the cost of sacrificing the company’s agility. If a selected office space is not right for your business, it will only prohibit you from moving forward, causing even more troubles down the line.


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Signing an Inflexible Agreement

One of the most common mistakes that business owners make when deciding on office space is signing a rigid lease. A part of your business will always remain susceptible to changes and cannot be planned ahead.

Hence, the terms and conditions of leases and other associated particulars of your chosen office space should reflect that. You do not want to get stuck in one space within one building at a fixed price for a predetermined time frame. For start-up companies, business owners can opt for co-working spaces. According to Zerin Properties’ research, there are more than 62 co-working centres in the Klang Valley.

It is anticipated that the rapid growth of co-working spaces will benefit tenants, especially for start-ups and foreign companies which are tenanting just for a few months to study the market before setting up a branch. This way an organisation would not be locked into a long-term contract with rigid conditions.

Business owners must participate in negotiating the leases for an office space and only sign an office tenancy which can adapt to the ever-changing needs of their businesses. Also, always be prepared with knowledge of the local office market when entering a negotiation. Appoint an experienced, well-versed real estate agent to do the negotiation for you if needed.


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Taking Note of the Office Condition 

Before signing a commercial lease, thorough inspection needs to be carried out. This is to prevent the hefty amount of repairing costs for business owners when moving into the new office. Consider engaging a professional service to carry out an assessment on the condition of an office before deciding on the leasing or purchasing of an office.


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Collaborative Working Spaces

Over the decades there has been a great deal of research investigating the importance of physical space within an office and how it affects employee motivation. Very few businesses these days keep their employees tied to their desks all day.

While desk space is important, there are other open areas that your business will probably need for meetings, collaboration, and inspiration – collaborative working spaces. Studies show that productivity increases by 15% in workplaces that encourage collaborative working.

Employees spend most of their time in the office thus, it is important to have spaces for leisure activities away from desks for them to relax.


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Green and Flexible Design

Driven by changing work styles, mobile technology, and the growing presence of millennials, today’s workplaces are transforming, mostly for the better. The trend towards creative office spaces is growing and traditional office spaces with permanent layouts dedicated to focused productivity tasks is no longer an option.

The new generation of employees prefers a more flexible workplace with informal settings that allow them to collaborate and socialize, such as lounges and break-out areas. 

It is critical that business owners look for offices that are designed to engage modern workers. Ultimately, the ideal workplace will be the one that focuses on the culture and needs of the organization.

Not to mention, the demand for buildings equipped with green technology is rising with heightened environmental awareness wherein more companies embrace corporate social responsibility (CSR). Multinational Companies (MNCs) are the strong driving force of this trend as they are committed to leasing green office space wherever possible.

Choosing a green office building to house your organization would be a good idea to reflect the commitment of your business towards a sustainable environment.


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Overlooking Parking Needs

Many business owners tend to overlook this factor when deciding on office space. Parking space is one of the factors concerning accessibility as private vehicles continue to be the main mode of transportation for Malaysians to commute to their workplaces.

If the office building you choose does not have enough parking space, it would cause inconvenience not only to the employees but also to your clients.

Businesses residing in office buildings with insufficient parking bays and with poor connectivity to public transportation must consider alternative methods to resolve accessibility woes for their employees and clients.

A popular method commonly practised is to collaborate with e-hailing companies, to ensure hassle-free travel for employees and clients to get to your office.


Conclusion

It is a known fact that office spaces are available in abundance thus, there are various options for one to choose from when deciding on an option that is ideal especially in the current buyers market, however, it is best to take the aforementioned points into account when deciding an office space to house your fresh or established business to avoid unwanted inconveniences to take place due to prematurely made decisions. All the best in choosing the ideal office space to accommodate your business!


This article is contributed by Zerin Properties head of research & consultancy Roja Rani

Roja Rani is a graduate from the University of Malaya with a Bachelors of Estate Management (BEstMgt) in 2010. She joined Zerin Properties in September 2010 as a research analyst.

She is involved in conducting research and market studies pertaining to the property sector as well as actively participating in feasibility studies for high profile clients comprised of the Malaysian Government as well as private entities.

Roja is a Registered Probationary Valuer with the Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents and Property Managers (BOVEAP), Malaysia.


(By Roja Rani, 4th July 2019)

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Thank you for your write up and article. Enjoy reading it and much of insights into for a marketer and estate agent.

Jonathan de ho half body small

I think one more thing also very important which is not mention in the article... which is the most fundamental... cost of renting haha

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thanks for the article. Great!