Which London location is right for your business? What hidden costs should you look out for? Is your current building the best option? Or would a whole new location be more cost-effective? There are a lot of questions to ask when you’re selecting somewhere in the big city to base your company.

Using this guide, you can decide what your priorities are, then compare buildings you’re looking at with them in mind. Whether you decide to move or stay right where you are, you’ll know you’ve had the advice with you to make the best decision.

bruno-martins-CeQjMqnRh64-unsplash-(1).jpg

In The Big City

You’ve chosen London as the perfect place to start or grow your business, but London’s a big place and there are a few things to consider:

  • Where are your clients and target prospects based?
  • What kind of commute do you want you and your staff to have?
  • Is the public transport close-by and or frequent enough?
  • Who will your neighbours be?

Narrowing down your search area will help you to focus when it comes to forming a list of properties. Perhaps no specific area will have everything you’re looking for, but London is a well-connected city in terms of transport – so you’re never that far from the action. Use Workspace’s Find Your Workspace tool to help you find a location.

Conduct as much research as you can into areas. Ask other business owners, friends and people local to the area for their opinions, and search news outlets that will tell you about the everyday goings-on in certain places.

You’ve chosen London as the perfect place to start or grow your business, but London’s a big place and there are a few things to consider:

  • Where are your clients and target prospects based?
  • What kind of commute do you want you and your staff to have?
  • Is the public transport close-by and or frequent enough?
  • Who will your neighbours be?

Narrowing down your search area will help you to focus when it comes to forming a list of properties. Perhaps no specific area will have everything you’re looking for, but London is a well-connected city in terms of transport – so you’re never that far from the action. Use Workspace’s Find Your Workspace tool to help you find a location.

Conduct as much research as you can into areas. Ask other business owners, friends and people local to the area for their opinions, and search news outlets that will tell you about the everyday goings-on in certain places.

Find your community

A defining feature of London’s eclectic landscape is the business specific areas that have developed over time. By working near to each other, businesses take advantage of economies of scale and local production networks. So, if you work in a particular sector, you might be keen on an area of London to benefit from an infrastructure built specially for that industry. This could include improved supply channels and potentially lower production and transportation costs.

Clerkenwell has become synonymous with fashion and innovation. Home to start-ups like YPlan and Citymapper. Buzzfeed UK was also started in Clerkenwell’s ‘micro Silicon Valley’. The studio of fashion designer Alexander McQueen is in this neighbourhood too.

If tech is your talent, head to Old Street where Olly, the world’s first robot with a personality was brought to life by Emotech, a team of leading artificial intelligence (AI) researchers and neuroscientists. Emotech is based at Workspace’s Wenlock Studios. Or Hoxton is also the place to be for tech start-ups, rapidly becoming an extended part of Old Street’s Tech City (Silicon Roundabout) - London’s answer to Silicon Valley. Workspace Brickfields is right by the station and you can reach central London’s action in under half an hour.

Creatives flock to Shepherd’s Bush to be amongst some of the top corporations like the BBC and to tap into the historical inspiration, for example The Beatles recorded their first ever TV broadcast here. Bush Theatre and Red Bee Media are also in the area, as well as Shepherd’s Bush Empire and Bush Hall – perfect if music is your work or even just your play. For a space amongst all this creative influence, check out The Shepherd’s Building.

Elsewhere across the city, Canary Wharf is where you’ll find financial businesses gathered, and Hatton Garden is perfect for jewellery and fashion businesses. Find your community in the city and get ready to thrive.

A building of your own

The building itself is so much more than just four walls and a roof over your head. Does it have any stand-out features you are looking for like outdoor space or great café? Is there enough space for your company to grow? You might need a bigger office sooner than you think. Other considerations are the services it offers, such as air conditioning, waste disposal and storage solutions.

What type of commercial property would suit your business best? Take a look at some of the most common types of commercial property available to rent in London today to help you with your search. Are you a creative business needing studio space or is flexible co-working more important for your team? Consider the style of business space and the amenities your company requires.

Even if a space looks great at an initial viewing, it’s important to think long term about how you will use the space and what responsibilities you might have for keeping it clean, tidy and functional. Thinking long-term will make you look more carefully at a space.

Edinburgh-House-Kennington-(1).png
Workspace Edinburgh HouseKennington

The IT crowd

Modern buildings are sometimes more equipped to deal with today’s tech, but you’re going to need to make sure it’s up to scratch for your needs regardless of its age. Check things like the power supply, how far away you are from the internet exchange and even how you might lay cabling. Power points to service desks, photo copiers and other office equipment are also things to consider.

Staying connected is vital for business, so making sure the building and office space is going to be ready to go as soon as you move in is important. If you’re going to be using an external company to set you up, make sure they can get access to the building on the right dates for your connection, so the process runs smoothly.

Money, money, money

Even if you have a larger than average budget, it’s still a budget that you will need to stick to make it work. Having one in the first place is a great start, you’ll avoid any surprise costs and a clear idea of what you can and can’t afford.

You’ll need to consider the costs of deposits, energy bills, insurance and potential agent fees. If you are bringing existing office furniture, you’ll need to hire a moving van, but if not there’s the consideration of how much it will cost to fill your exciting new space.

Many aspects of your move can be negotiated to save you money now and later. Rent-free periods and service charges can be negotiated and make sure you are entirely happy with your lease terms, length and any breaks you might want factored in. Once you have a budget in place you will know what you’re willing to spend more money on and your priorities for getting the best London office for your business.

The-Frames-Shoreditch.png
Workspace The Frames  Shoreditch

Sustainability

These days it pays to green up your brand. Not only can a sustainable office interior save you money on your energy bill, it can also boost motivation, raise productivity and lower absenteeism amongst staff. It’s well worth looking into how energy efficient the building is – taking double glazing, air conditioning and thermal testing – before you sign on the dotted line.

BREEAM is the world’s leading sustainability method for buildings. It’s worth checking to see if the building’s you are interested in have a BREEAM rating. However, by law a landlord should supply you with an EPC (Environmental Performance Certificate) to tell you how energy efficient the building is.

Sustainability is no longer a secondary concern for most businesses – in fact for many it’s central to business strategy, find out why here. Or, read up on what the experts had to say at our latest WBI Dinner Sustainability: how to pivot your business to address the climate crisis.

What comes next?

Once you’ve found the dream location, decide what you want the space you base your office in to say about your business — down to the right colour scheme, furnishings and overall feel.

We have plenty of guides to finding the right space for your business on our Community hub. Try 8 things to consider when choosing an office to get you started.

Workspace properties are based in diverse and inspiring places and are never far from everything the big city has to offer. From Barley Mow Centre situated in leafy Chiswick, boasting features like exposed brick walls, excellent transport links and a co-working lounge to the newest East London centre, Mare Street Studios, set within the creative heartland of Hackney, you’ll be spoilt for choice.