Take advantage of your lease break.

Businesses that are growing quickly, contracting, diversifying or moving into new markets can find themselves with a new set of property requirements. For some this will mean exercising the lease break and looking for new premises, for others it might involve renegotiating terms or refurbishing the office space to better suit their needs.

A lease break is a provision in a lease that enables either the landlord or the tenant, or both, to end a lease early. The most significant part of a lease break is that it affords you the opportunity to take stock of your needs and to ask yourself questions about whether it is performing as you’d hope and if it will serve you in line with your future plans.

Businesses who think they may need to revisit workspace needs should aim to review their options as much as 12 months before the notice period for the lease break commences. This will give you ample time to assess and understand your needs comfortably.

This is the time to be consulting with your senior management team about your five to ten year priorities, canvassing the needs of staff and potentially employing the services of professionals to help you ascertain your physical space needs.

One of these scenarios might sum up your current situation:

We’ve been on a steady growth trajectory and it feels like we’re full to the brim but the location of this building works well for us, what do we do?

Lots of businesses believe they don’t have enough space because they’ve forgotten about those spaces they don’t use – the ones that don’t work for them. Perhaps there’s some underutilised meeting rooms that could be repurposed, some storage space that is defunct or it’s time to change your people-to-desk ratios to accommodate more flexible working. In a situation like this it pays to use workplace consultancy to identify your actual rather than perceived space requirements. This will help you establish whether reconfiguring your current space would save you an office move, or, if a move is the only way to serve your needs.

We’ve just had an internal restructure so there are fewer of us and many remotely. We’re not using the space, should we move?

Technology has made it possible for many of us to work anywhere anytime and so many businesses are finding that they don’t have the same need for space. In this instance there’s a clear opportunity to reassess the needs of your remaining team (and your future needs) and to look at renegotiating your lease with the landlord. You may be able to give up some of that space, or sub-let it to another tenant. It may also be time to redesign your remaining space so that it supports the needs of the business as it is, not as it was.

The office just doesn’t seem to work very well for us – there’s never enough meeting space, the acoustics aren’t good and there’s nowhere for us to come together as a team. Should we look elsewhere?

A forthcoming lease break is the perfect opportunity to revisit the market and see what other spaces and deals are available; however don’t be too quick to discount your current location. An office move and new interior design and fit-out is no small undertaking and problems of this ilk could well be accommodated by reconfiguring the existing space.

Solving these challenges requires occupiers to be sure of what they need from the outset and that’s where workplace consultancy and space planning services will put them on the right path.

It may be possible to solve all concerns with a new space plan and without the disruption or cost associated with a move. There may be adequate space for more meeting rooms, a large breakout space for team gatherings and simple improvements to stop noise being a distraction.

The common denominator in all of these scenarios is the importance of occupiers understanding how much space they ACTUALLY need to accommodate their businesses now and in the future.

Information is king when approaching a lease break as it allows decision-making to be better informed and more timely, regardless of whether you choose to stay, refurbish or relocate.

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