4 Things You Can Learn From Famous Office Moves

Every business is likely to move to a new office space during its lifespan. Some of the biggest companies in the world had humble beginnings before being located in the large, Pinterest-worthy buildings they’re currently in. Facebook, for example, notoriously started life in Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm room, and is now headquartered at a sprawling campus in California’s Menlo Park.

But moving offices can bring about its own range of setbacks and issues for your company, which starts with picking the right location. The actual move itself can often be long and tiring, and is comprised of so many different jobs that it can easily get overwhelming for any entrepreneur, especially on top of dealing with the day-to-day running of the business. Thankfully there are a number of businesses that operate solely on helping businesses move office, providing expertise and advice on the best way to relocate. These experienced office move project managers take control and oversee every aspect of your move, ensuring you only need to pick the right location before going back to the smooth running of your business.

But where do you start with finding a location? Whether you’re looking to move from your home study into your business’ first dedicated office space, or you simply need a larger, new headquarters for your company, there is a lot to glean by looking at the global companies.

Pick an iconic location, like Apple

Battersea Power Station has long been a landmark on the south bank of London’s River Thames, despite being decommissioned in 1983. However, it’s currently undergoing a £9 billion regeneration project courtesy of tech giants Apple, who are preparing the building as its new London HQ. While Apple’s main European base will remain in Cork, Ireland, employees will take over all six floors of Battersea Power Station’s office space, making the new location one of the biggest Apple sites outside of America.

Choosing the already historical landmark as the site for the new Apple London HQ automatically provided the iPad makers with the headlines to promote the new venture. The news stories about the planned move acted as a form of free advertising for Apple, saving them money on making a formal announcement.

If you can’t afford an iconic location to renovate and move into as Apple did, you can still pick a location with some historical background. Renovating an old and historic building within a tight-knit community, for example, could be enough to generate some public interest for your big office move, if you can afford the renovation cost. Alternatively, you could be one of the first businesses to move into a brand new office development, cementing your presence within the area by boosting the economy and providing jobs to the local community.

Move to the suburbs, like Google

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the city is where the big companies live, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Google—arguably one of the largest businesses in the world—moved some of its Irish-based employees into Sandyford, a suburb of Dublin, rather than expanding the existing building in Silicon Docks. The added address in the suburbs marks Google’s eighth location in Dublin alone, and it isn’t in bad company—Mars is a pre-existing tenant of the office space in Kennedy Wilson’s development, called The Chase.

Investors are starting to notice that suburban offices are gaining popularity and investment sales are now outpacing sales in central business districts. In fact, there is now a significantly higher digital tech density in UK suburbs, proving that it’s not just large cities that are leaders in the tech industry.

Reading, for example, is home to some of the largest software companies, including Microsoft, Huawei, and Symantec, and is situated outside of West London, giving the suburban area a boost in tech density.

Settling in an urban location can be hugely convenient for your employees and staff, with the transport links and the general buzz of things to do before and after work, as well as during breaks. However, if you can make it work for your business, it could be beneficial to move to the suburbs instead. Rent tends to be much more expensive in city centres, especially if you’re looking at locations with a range of transport options. On top of this, people tend to live in the suburbs and commute into the city due to the cost of London living. By moving into the suburbs, you’re effectively taking your business to your staff, cutting out long commutes and saving money on travel.

Move into an up-and-coming area, like McDonald’s

McDonald’s famously spent almost 50 years in the Chicago suburbs before making the decision to move into the West Loop in 2018. The original headquarters for the fast food giant was originally in the city before relocating in 1971, to accommodate the quick growth of the company. But now, the $250 million state-of-the-art McDonald’s Corp. building is its new home, a move that CEO Steve Easterbrook described as transforming the brand and getting them better connected with customers.

Chicago’s West Loop is now ranked as one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world, following its huge transformation from Skid Row to a neighbourhood of trendy restaurants, bars, and upscale boutiques. The regenerated area draws young families and industry specialists who come to live in the area and enjoy the thriving scene. With excellent public transport links, it’s become an ideal place for businesses looking for office space.

Leaving the suburbs for the city allows you to hire staff from surrounding areas, as opposed to the immediate local vicinity, giving you a wider pool of talent you can hire from.

It can also allow you to get closer to your employees, and bond as a team. Team lunches, dinners, and drinks can be easily planned in a city, and public transport links enable you and your staff to collectively reduce your carbon footprint.

By moving your office to an up-and-coming location, you can to take advantage of cheaper rent, and help boost the local economy, cementing the reputation of you and your business within the community.

Give yourself room to grow, like Pinterest

As your business grows, you’ll need a larger space that will accommodate any new hires. This is exactly what Pinterest did when it found that it was expanding too quickly for Palo Alto. There is a notorious lack of room to grow in downtown Palo Alto, which is also where Facebook, Google, and PayPal got started, before having to shift to other cities for more space. In this case, the new Pinterest office is in San Francisco, and was announced via Twitter at a time when the company had just 44 members. However, the San Francisco move brought with it the potential to hire new staff and the budget for hiring raised $100 million in line with the move.

Simply needing a larger office is perhaps one of the most important reasons to move. If your business is growing exponentially, and you’re anticipating new employees, it’s definitely worth looking for a big enough space sooner rather than later. However, you should make sure you can afford the potential increase in rent cost, as you don’t want to run into financial troubles.

Moving to a new office space doesn’t need to be daunting. Take the time to think about what you want for your business and the best location for your needs.

Charlotte Giver

Charlotte is the founder and editor-in-chief at Your Coffee Break magazine. With a background in PR working in Los Angeles and Barcelona, Charlotte has been running Your Coffee Break from the YCB HQ in London’s Covent Garden for the past 8 years. She is a mother, an avid reader, runner and puts a little too much time into her morning brew.