City centre or business park? It’s a dilemma that will be familiar to many relocating businesses or start-ups both small and large across the UK.
To many it’s merely a question of convenience and ease of access for staff and for clients. An office space in town is ideal, but expensive. So how do you find a balance?
Should you Choose an Out of Town Business Park?
The challenge for business parks has been to incorporate more social incentives so that workers feel integrated into their surroundings when they come to work and don’t feel isolated in their little office block. Many now have facilities such as on-site retail, nursery provision for staff with young children and entertainment such as bars and cinemas where workers can unwind after work.
And on some parks that specialise in a particular type of business, such as the creative industries, there is a chance to draw inspiration from your neighbours.
What are the Advantages of Business Parks?
Brian Walker, 45, founder of BWS IT solutions in Birmingham, said:
“At first I loved our city centre location, it was busy, vibrant and everyone loved coming into the heart of the city.
“But our rent went up and we considered buying but prices had sky-rocketed in the city centre. In the end we started looking out of town for serviced office space and found a wonderful solution on a business park.
“The staff loved the chance to skirt round the city centre traffic and have a parking space waiting for them. There’s plenty of green space and it isn’t the sterile environment some associate with business parks.”
Why Office Space in Town can be Advantageous.
But some bosses may need to consider the awkward question; What do staff members want? Will a move onto or away from a business park lead to a plunge in morale? It can happen.
Angela McDonald, 28, worked for a publishing company in central Newcastle, which moved onto a business park on the city’s outskirts as a cost-cutting measure. Rent was cheaper and staff no longer had to pay to park their cars.
Yet Angela says: “After two months I quit. I just couldn’t stand the surroundings we were suddenly in, it seemed to suck all the fun out of life and really affected the social scene in the firm.
“I know most of the staff were pleased because they had to pay for parking when they came into the city centre which significantly reduced the amount they were actually earning over the course of a year.
“But for me public transport cost more to get to the business park, I couldn’t go shopping in my lunch break and I couldn’t meet friends after work without a massive trek back into town. When an opportunity came to join another firm back in the city I jumped at the chance.”
John Harper ran his own web design firm in Manchester, starting out in a unit in Tameside on the fringes of the city, which potential clients were sometimes reluctant to travel to. We’ve written before about how important the location of your office is!
He said: “Things really took off for us when we moved in with a PR company in the centre of Manchester. They were our major client and offered us a room to rent. It made such a difference to our prospective clients who would come in and be bowled over by the smart reception and city location. It’s a little more expensive but it’s proved to be well worth it.”