British SMEs demand offices with more storage and quieter areas for the next stage of growth

British SMEs demand offices with more storage and quieter areas for the next stage of growth.jpg

SMEs could fall behind if their office space is not geared up for the next stages of growth, according to research by Crown Workspace.

A survey conducted with 500 SME business leaders from across Britain found that whilst they know what they need from their office space for the next stage of growth, they require support in their pursuit of this.

The findings went on to identify the barriers preventing firms from obtaining the optimum workspace and what business leaders are least willing to compromise to get it. Highlights from the research include:

What SMEs need from office design to support growth

  • More than a quarter (28%) need their office to provide more areas for quieter working and confidential matters
  • Just over a quarter (26%) require open and flexible space
  • A quarter need better storage
  • A fifth (21%) requests energy efficient measures, such as LED lighting, their own heat and power source
  • A fifth (19%) need better broadband speed and wireless technology

The barriers preventing SMEs from obtaining the optimum working environment

  • The cost of rent is a barrier to more than a third (38%) of business owners
  • Not having enough space is a barrier to a third (33%)
  • Length of tenancy and the lack of available suitable office space is a barrier to more than a fifth (22%)
  • The inflexibility of their landlord is a barrier to just under a fifth (19%)



What SMEs are least willing to compromise on to get the optimum office space

With office space at a premium in many locations across Britain, compromise is part and parcel of securing a workplace. However, there are aspects that business owners are least likely to compromise on to secure the best office for their organisation. 

Unsurprisingly, how people get to work and how much premises cost are still top of the list of concerns for most organisations. The research found that organisations are least willing to compromise on the following items:

  • 25% stated the cost of rent / mortgage 
  • 21% stated location and commuting time to work
  • 20% stated car parking 
  • 17% stated open plan office space 
  • 9% stated the provision of bike sheds 

Simon Gammell, Director, Crown Workspace remarked: 

“All occupiers want value for money from their office space. They need it to be easy to commute to, easy for clients to access and adaptable for the future needs of the firm. The property industry has a key role to play in assisting SMEs – helping to provide the right office space and facilities, in the right location and at the right price.

“This is easier said than done, especially in locations where land is harder to source and is costly to develop. But developers and planners could be more open to converting disused space or changing the class of a building to produce new office spaces in a range of sizes and different price brackets. Landlords need to be more open to occupiers adapting their workplace to suit the changing needs of their business and the changing landscape of how we work in a highly technological world.

“There is also much SMEs can do to create the optimum workspace. They should look to take advantage of their lease deal and maximise landlord contributions towards an office fit out. To create a working environment that promotes agile working and wellness but doesn’t break the bank, businesses could look to create sound proof booths to restrict noise in open plan offices and provide quieter areas for working, change the desk footprint and move storage into the basement or off site to create more space, and use furniture to create anchor spaces for people who are based in the office full time and shared desk space for floaters.”


Emily CorleyComment