Are you comfortable or should you move?

by Dana Bice

Recently, we began working – for the 4th time – with a client who was comfortable and simply looking to renew their lease. We suggested, as we always do, that they take a look at the market and see what other options are available. Their response? “We’ve been comfortable in our space for years. Why should we move to a different location?”

And, while I try not to be too pushy, that word “comfortable” gets me every time. For me, the word comfortable has multiple implications. For example, getting comfortable is great, when you’re talking about coming home from work, lighting a fire and making a pot of tea (or hot chocolate!). 

On the other hand, being “comfortable” is not necessarily associated with high levels of productivity, creativity or energy – especially in a workplace setting. The comfortable space that worked for you in the past, may no longer meet the business and staffing needs of the present. It’s much easier to change culture or implement new and different policies and procedures when it’s part of a larger change – and moving from one building to another is indeed a larger change, even if you’re right-sizing to smaller space to accommodate that hybrid workforce. We’ve had clients use their move as an opportunity to make all types of changes. For example:

  • going to an open, more collaborative layout
  • reviewing and digitalizing paper files to get documents on the cloud
  • using shared conference space instead of paying for integral conference rooms
  • acknowledging that hybrid work is here to stay and building space around that new reality
  • making sure that the amenities in and around their office space appeal to the employees they’re trying to recruit, hire and retain

In the case of this particular client, moving could be a simple way to get rid of 10 years of coffee stains all over their carpet – better yet, getting rid of the carpet altogether so that spills don’t matter! Because we all know they’re never getting rid of the coffee!

Whenever this question comes up – and it’s not unique to the client I’ve been referring, it’s my job to walk clients through the entire thought process. Why do they want to stay? Why consider a move? Are they able to recruit and retain talent in their current location? What are their growth projections? What is their ideal work model? Do they intend to mandate a return to the office 100% or will hybrid be the norm? What habits and office norms should stay, and which are less than ideal now and going forward? How many file cabinets are really necessary?

And it may very well be ok for them to stay put, but the decision isn’t one to make lightly – there’s too much at stake to not consider all your options particularly when an office move can become an impetus for change and growth.

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