According to the famous story by Dick Whittington, London’s streets were paved with gold. A truth in part, yet unfortunately it’s the office space that’s now worth a small fortune. CBRE Research’s Global Prime Office Occupancy Costs survey highlighted that London’s office space is the most expensive worldwide with the more desirable areas charging almost $300 per square foot.
Hong Kong and Beijing come up close behind at $251 and $198 psf, respectively. And perhaps more surprisingly you can’t escape exorbitant rents in India either, with prices as high as $159 psf in the capital. If you’re trying to run a “size zero” enterprise there simply isn’t room or reason for these costs.
Modern technology allows business to talk to customers and colleagues from all around the world for a nominal cost, and for the increasingly rare circumstances that face to face is a must, then you can grab a low-cost flight to anywhere on the planet for less than a train fare.
Even in moderately priced office spaces the hidden cost per square foot often becomes prohibitive with insurance fees, regular maintenance and security costs all ramping up.
With that in mind here are a few ways in which “size zero” aspirants can knock a few dollars off their property costs.
- It may sound blindingly obvious but move to a less expensive area. At blur Group, we were able to save $240,000 by migrating from the London to Exeter, a city with great transport links and and a thriving economy, a mere 150 miles away. You may find that your wages will stretch much further in your new surroundings too.
Fear not if your country’s property market is renowned for its expensive office space, there’s usually enough variation to the point where you can end up paying a quarter of what you would in the most desireable areas.
- If you can’t relocate entirely then send your staff home and occupy less space. Space saved is cost saved. Modern tech allows for your employees to work from home with just as much efficiency as if they were at the office.
Although this is nothing revolutionary, working from home has managed to save telecoms giant BT around $960 million a year through sending just 10% of their staff home to work.
- Another obvious one is take advantage of the outsourcing options available to you. The work still gets done but not under your roof meaning you don’t pay any property costs – a big plus point if you’re stuck in a high rent area.
- If you can’t save space by sending people home you can save space by implementing new technology. If you have a huge amount of data that requires huge old-fashioned server rooms to store it, just move it all to the cloud. Digitize your documentation and media too and there’s a few dollars more shaved off the property cost.
- Looking into serviced offices can often be very beneficial as the flexibility it allows for expanding and shrinking is extremely useful, with specific space being available to match your requirements, thereby further reducing empty wasted square footage. Although serviced spaces are often considered premium, thanks to increased competition the market has got every price point covered so you can usually find a suitable place for the right price.
- Sub-let your unused office space. You may find that this can even lead to new collaborative innovations and a more rewarding work environment as well as helping your bottom line.
- If you must stay in the exclusive areas look for property that others won’t consider. Loft spaces were once considered undesirable and for a while were great value for money (not so much any more). As long as it can cater to your needs, the building itself shouldn’t be an issue.
- You may get told it’s all about ‘location, location location’, but in reality timing is a huge factor. Think pop-up store and take advantage of short term and transient opportunities to make your money go further.
The best thing about this list? Do any or all of the above whenever it suits. If you’re going to be “size zero”, then you play by your own rules, remember?
Just follow the mantra of doing whatever it takes to increase the value of your business.