Lease End or Break in Lease … move office or stay put?
Many UK occupiers are facing the same dilemma as The Clash did in their 1981 hit song … ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go?’ … but this time it’s about what to do about their offices.
Thousands of UK companies rent office premises on leases that are due to end in the coming months and they are evaluating their options. The decision making process is further heightened by the current COVID situation as everyone is still working out what the future holds for the workplace (for the short, medium and long terms).
Key Issues to consider
If you decide to stay put and negotiate a new lease … your current offices will almost certainly need to be reconfigured and refurbished to incorporate the new social-distancing requirements and future working practices.
If you decide to move office … will you be better served by starting with a blank canvass? Moving to new offices might well serve your operational needs better. Is it an opportunity to move to better, cheaper, smaller/bigger office space that can provide you with the flexibility you need for the coming years?
Productivity … which option is going to be better for productivity? Current issues include change in staff numbers, more flexible working, working from home, different communication requirements, staff engagement and well-being.
Costs … how much is each option going to cost? You’re going to need accurate costs for both options ... staying put in your current office (reconfiguring & refurbishing) and also for any potential new office.
Implementation … who is going to help you arrive at the best decision? Have you got the required level of expertise internally or are you going to need external specialists to assist you? The best solution is to combine your own knowledge of your business requirements with external specialists to ensure that (1) your company ends up making the right decision and then (2) costs don’t get out of control and (3) avoidable mistakes aren't made.
It’s a big decision … and whether you move office or renegotiate a new lease … best practice dictates that you undertake a marketplace analysis before making any decision. Start this now ... don’t wait until the eleventh hour. It will provide you with clarity and could well reveal better options for you. Furthermore, should you decide to renew your lease, you will be armed with the latest facts and figures on your local market for any discussions on lease renewal with your existing landlord.
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