Renewing vs. Moving Offices: Which is Best for You?

How to decide if you should stay or go once your office lease expires.

high rise office spaces viewed from outside

To renew or not to renew? That is the question. My answer to this one question is four more.

As the end of your lease approaches, your answers to the following questions will help you decide whether you should stay put or pick up and move.

1. How well does the space work for your needs today?

Have your business needs and headcount changed since you signed your lease? For businesses that have too little or too much space, first check with your landlord to see if you’re able to expand your current space or sublease part of it.

A change in headcount is not the only reason to switch things up though. How modern businesses utilize office space has evolved. 8×8 cubicles with tall partitions are no longer the (modern) norm. More people are working remotely, and open offices are more popular than ever. As a result, square footage requirements have been shrinking. It may be cost effective to move to a smaller space — without compromising the comfort of your team.

What if your office feels ancient and outdated? Talk to your landlord and see if you can agree on terms and costs to renew with an office refresh. Bringing in new furniture and fixtures, removing built-in desks to open up the floor plan and painting the walls can completely transform the space. This is one of the best options to keep costs low and modernize your office. There is a downside; This option entails temporarily moving while your workspace is updated, which can be disruptive and inefficient.

2. Can you afford to move?

Break down the numbers before you break ties with your landlord. Moving can be an expensive process, especially with setup and construction costs. The costs incurred from buying new furniture and installing an IT/phone system could reach $10 – $20 per square foot. Once you find a few spaces that suit your needs, you can consult with a few general contractors to create a construction budget.

Tally up these extra costs to see if leaving your space makes financial sense. If it’s cost-prohibitive to move, you may be better off renewing your lease and exploring a few budget-friendly options to improve your existing space.

3. What does your space say about your business?

Your office portrays a certain image to employees, clients and vendors. As you plan for the future of your business, consider how well your brand is being represented through your office space. Moving could be a smart decision to boost the first impression people have when visiting your office. Your office is a powerful tool in the race for talent and clients.

4. Does your location attract or deter talent?

Sometimes you need to move to meet your employees’ criteria and demands. As you’re deciding whether to renew or to move, make sure you’re in tune with what your current and potential employees are looking for. The neighborhoods that attract best-in-class talent may be more expensive, but that may be the price you have to pay to capture the talent you want.

Even if you’re dead-set on moving, it’s always a good idea to keep conversations open with your current landlord. You can continue to look at different options while keeping your existing space on the table. If you can’t find the ideal office or a contract negotiation falls through, you’ll still have a solid option.