Are you an office manager or business owner struggling to find an affordable office space that meets your needs without having a nightmare?
During a recent conversation with an office manager, I gained valuable insights into finding an affordable office space that fulfills various requirements. The manager emphasized the importance of location, highlighting the need for easy accessibility for staff and clients. Ideally, the office should have seamless connectivity to the MRT station, with most Singaporeans preferring a five-minute walk. While some may consider this expectation demanding, any MRT station generally suffices, especially in the post-COVID-19 pandemic era.
Regarding size and layout, the office space should accommodate the current workforce and allow for potential growth over the next 2-3 years. The manager mentioned that due to the predominantly hybrid work arrangement, only a portion of the team is present at any given time. Individual desks remain essential, but smaller cubicles can be designed to create more open spaces for collaboration. Additional desired facilities include:
Considering these factors, a space ranging from 3,000 to 3,500 square feet would be sufficient to accommodate around 35 staff members. Regarding office layout, a rectangular or square structure is often the easiest to plan and offers excellent efficiency. However, in today’s hybrid work mode, where video calls are standard, incorporating phone booths can be more useful than ever. A flexible space configuration would provide an advantage for current and future scaling needs.
The manager also emphasized the importance of amenities in creating a conducive work environment and promoting the mental well-being of the staff. An office building with facilities such as a gym or fitness center, or located within a 5-minute walk to such facilities, would be attractive. While parking spaces may not be necessary, provisions for a bicycle parking lot and shower facilities would benefit those who commute by bike. Meeting rooms, training rooms, swimming pools, or barbecue pits can enhance team bonding and are desirable but optional. Additionally, a garden terrace or open area for impromptu meetings or enjoyable lunch breaks could be appealing. Having a small café in the building lobby would also provide convenience for staff to grab quick bites or coffee before starting work. Having nearby designated facilities and services such as restaurants, banks, fitness centers, childcare services, clinics, and supermarkets is advantageous for business operations and staff convenience.
Typical Lease terms in Singapore range from 24 to 36 months, with renewal rates determined by mutual agreement based on prevailing market rates. Tenants are generally obligated to fulfill the lease until its expiration.
As the office manager, reporting costs is always in her mind. The overall monthly expenses of the office space include rent, utilities, and maintenance fees. Before signing the lease agreement, costs such as stamp duty, legal or administration fees, renovation or utility deposits, and renovation costs (including fees for interior designers and legal permits or authority) should be considered.
Regarding security, most buildings either come with a 24/7 security guard or are equipped with CCTV. The manager prefers free access with CCTV, as it is hassle-free. Often, staff members must remember to bring their access cards, causing a lot of inconvenience. She highly recommends using face recognition for door access, as it allows her to track the staff’s time in and time out.
Lastly, she shared a great tip with me on how she renovated the new office without compromising her workload to meet the timeline. First, negotiate a good rental. Second, find an owner willing to manage the renovation for tenants. How? Building management and interior designers can collaborate to create a customized space that aligns with the company’s requirements, promoting a productive renovation project. This has saved her a lot of time. Having to manage the office renovation from scratch is a nightmare for her. The unknown cost and ongoing work have made her mentally stressed. Now, it’s like bliss for her.
It’s important to note that an office manager shared these insights and may only sometimes apply. When searching for an affordable office space that meets specific needs, it’s advisable to consider individual circumstances, preferences, and budgetary constraints.
Thank you for reading!