WordPress CEO Matt Mullenweg recently announced his company would be getting rid of its commercial space because it largely went unused due to the fact the majority of his staff worked remotely. While WordPress is an extreme example of the remote worker trend, many companies are moving in a similar direction by letting employees work from home more often or transitioning some onsite workers to full-time remote ones. If you're a startup planning to have more offsite workers than onsite ones or an established company looking to transition to a majority offsite staff, here are three tips for purchasing commercial real estate to fit your needs.
Determine the Number of People Who Will Use the Site
The first step is to determine the amount of people who will actually use the site. This means counting those who will be permanent onsite employees (e.g. human resources staff, receptionists) and getting an average number of remote workers who may need to come to the office to complete projects or participate in meetings.
For instance, you may have 100 employees, but only 20 of them are core staff who must always be at the office and only an average of 25 remote workers will actually be in the building at any one time. Therefore, you only need space to house around 50 people, not the entire 100.
You'll probably need to go through your employee roster to determine who to keep onsite and survey your work-at-home employees to see how often many of them actually come into the office to get an accurate idea of your needs. Once you get a number, it's a good idea to pad it a little bit to ensure you have enough space for high-production days when you may have more people onsite than normal or for potential future expansion of onsite workers.
Look for Convertible Spaces
Another thing you want to look for is spaces that can be easily converted to different uses. For instance, you may have on large room that can be used as a general working area for remote employees when they come into the office that can be broken down into smaller rooms for meetings with clients. This can minimize wasted space and let you reconfigure areas based on your needs in the moment.
Of course, this does also require you to purchase furniture that can easily be moved around. An oak meeting table may look impressive, but it can significantly hinder the flexibility of your space if it's too heavy to transport. You may want to invest in desks and tables with wheels so you can roll them from place to place as necessary.
Choose an Area Close to Other Commercial Spaces
When it comes to real estate, location is always an important consideration, and this is just as true for companies who employ mostly remote workers. It is a good idea to look for a building that is close to other commercial spaces. First, commercial areas are typically accessible via public transportation, which can reduce your need to get a building with a large parking lot to house employee vehicles.
Second, it'll be easier to obtain additional commercial real estate without having to relocate to a completely different area. You can simply rent more space in the area, temporarily or permanently, to accommodate any surges in the number of employees you have that need places to work and still keep your workers fairly close to each other.
Choosing a commercial space when some of your staff works offsite can be challenging. It's is best to contact a commercial real estate agent for assistance with finding buildings that may suit your needs.