By Gary Tasman

December 2021 marks an unpleasant milestone, as the first cases of COVID-19 were reported to the World Health Organization two years ago this month. While we certainly all feel like we have a clearer picture of the pandemic’s influence than we did when it first reached our country, much of the initial uncertainty we were feeling two years ago remains.

This is particularly apparent for business owners, many of whom have struggled to manage the challenges that COVID has created. Keeping customers and employees safe and healthy has required some to realign offices and public areas. Others have transitioned to remote and work-from-home models, either temporarily or long-term. Some of those with less flexibility have installed protective measures like plexiglass barriers, air filtration systems, and even staggered work hours to limit capacity.

Even for those businesses who have largely returned to “normal,” a looming question remains: Do we have the right amount of space to conduct our business? While many assume that businesses have scaled down during the pandemic, increased social distancing measures and rearrangement of public and private areas are forcing businesses to assess whether they have enough space in our new normal.

Does Your Business Have Enough Space?

Are you wondering if your business has outgrown its space? There are a number of signs—beyond the obvious– that may indicate that you are ready to upsize your commercial footprint.

People Don’t Want to Meet at the Office/Worksite

If you—or your managers—have started scheduling your client meetings off-site, there’s a good chance that you no longer have either the space or the privacy you need. If your conference rooms are always booked, or you’ve found yourself scheduling more lunch meetings or client get-togethers at coffee shops, this is a sign that you may need to grow.

Similarly, have you noticed more employees finding reasons they need to work from home instead of reporting to the office? An increase in mid-day doctor’s appointments, car troubles, or “waiting for the cable company” could mean your employees are avoiding a cramped or unpleasant workspace.

Your Workplace is Noisy

By nature, some businesses are loud. For example, auto repair shops, preschools, dentist offices and restaurants produce a lot of noise. However, every business needs to have a quiet space for both productivity as well as comfort. If you’ve begun to outgrow your space, your noise levels will become less accommodating for both your team and your customers. When a business’ space needs increase, the buffer between the loud and quiet areas of your operation begins to fade. But noise levels aren’t just a factor for these types of business. Even a library can become too loud if it doesn’t have enough space for its staff and patrons.

Your Team or Customers are Waiting

Are you noticing long queues for the restrooms, break room, parking spaces or other facilities? Every business has its ebbs and flows—but if lines are occurring consistently, it may be time to begin looking for a new facility. While a remodel can alleviate some of a business’ growing pains, it’s difficult to build a new kitchen, restroom, or parking lot without a major capital investment.

You’re Repurposing Your Space for Storage or Staff

In a sense, many businesses are like goldfish, who will continue growing as long as their fishbowl will allow them to. When your workplace was initially designed, you probably had more storage and working area than you knew what to do with. Over the course of time, however, your space needs change. It’s not unusual for companies to convert small conference rooms and lesser-used hallways to become storage closets or offices—especially when external conditions force us to reassign our working space. While this can be a reasonable temporary accommodation, over the long term it’s a sign that you need to grow into a larger space.

Your Building Doesn’t fit Your Brand

Consider your company’s public image and the value proposition you offer. Are you customer service-oriented? If so, you need to have clean, spacious, and comfortable public areas. If your company’s persona is distinguished and professional, your facility should reflect that same image with generous, well-appointed offices. Does your business market itself as creative and fun? Then your workplace should reflect that attitude with collaborative and engaging spaces for your team to both work and unwind. Unfortunately, as businesses outgrow their space, they tend to dismiss the features that are part of their brand. If this sounds familiar, it’s time to look for a larger facility that will help you get back to your core brand.

Your business cannot truly thrive when you’ve outgrown your space. Whether you own or lease your workplace, the Commercial Property Experts at Cushman & Wakefield | Commercial Property Southwest Florida are ready to help you assess your company’s needs—not just for today, but for the future. Our knowledge of the Southwest Florida commercial real estate market, combined with our actionable research and insights, will prepare your business for 2022 and beyond.

Find out how our team can position you for what’s next by calling 239-489-3600 or by completing the form below.

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