Now is a good time to consider a new office space to attract talent and stand out

As professional firms emerge from the pandemic, many are finding that their current office space no longer meets their needs. A hybrid workforce means a need for less space. And top-end amenities are critical for attracting younger talent.

To ensure your new space meets your needs and presents a luxurious front to both talent and clients, it is critical to identify what you are trying to accomplish with a move — and how to best ensure success.

“Many professional firms are looking for new space and reducing their footprint,” says Jason Laver, SIOR, Senior Vice President, Cushman & Wakefield | CRESCO Real Estate. “They are taking the savings from that reduced space and putting it back into the office in the form of a higher-end building and more amenities for employees, such as a fitness center, coffee shop and updated technology. The goal is to create a very inviting space to attract talent to a space they want to come to and the opportunity for collaboration with an older generation.”

Smart Business spoke with Laver about what to consider when determining whether to make a move and how doing so can help you attract high-end talent and stand out in the marketplace.

How can a firm begin evaluating a potential office space move?

Start with an employee survey and work with management to understand the needs of your space going forward. What served you in the past may no longer be the best fit. For example, law firms previously saw larger partner offices, but that’s not necessarily the case now. They are eliminating physical law libraries, and professional firms are doing away with file rooms. Equipment is shrinking, creating a need for less space. Firms are creating spaces for cafes, bars, higher-end finishes and natural light for a luxurious, inviting space. Integrating technology is also a big driver, and an overall nicer building with better amenities, better parking, connectivity to highways, restaurants, sporting events, etc., is crucial to attracting talent.

One-third of the professional workforce is over age 50, and firms are struggling to recruit younger talent and work collaboratively. A modern, updated workspace gives people an incentive post-COVID to come back into the office and interact with clients in a nontraditional way.

A well-thought-out workplace allows older associates to interact with younger associates, creating a collaborative space that has energy and gets people to work together.

What is the next step?

Assemble a team and work with a real estate broker to ensure a smooth transition. A broker can help you better understand your needs, how much space you need, what is important in location, amenities, the surrounding area, etc.

Start with what you like about your current space and what you don’t. What will help draw the talent you seek? Is parking important? A location near highways? Connectivity to restaurants, shops, transit? Your broker will then come up with a subset of buildings that meet those criteria, and then you can focus on spaces within those buildings that have the flexibility to customize for your intended use.

The process generally takes six to 18 months depending on size of the organization and need.

What else does a firm need to consider when evaluating a new space?

Hoteling allows for less space but is not a permanent solution for many firms. Four years out from the pandemic, firms are becoming more comfortable with commiting to longer-term leases, freeing them up to make a move they may have been uncomfortable with a few years ago. And landlords are more comfortable reconfiguring space to attract tenants.

You need to understand the ownership structure of a space you are considering, the lender and types of debt attached to the building, the management company and how it will maintain the property over the life of the lease. Do your due diligence and work with your real estate broker to identify a real estate owner with a long-term track record. Take a deep dive into what that building is going to look like in 10 years.

Talk to your real estate broker to determine how a move can help you create a high-end space to attract talent, a collaborative work environment and a space that will stand out and meet your needs for years to come.

Jason Laver

Senior Vice President


Want to learn more about how an updated office space can attract talent and encourage collaboration?