The location of your office is an important, yet mostly overlooked, consideration when setting up your company. This plays such an important role in attracting employees, creating a vendor network in close proximity, allowing visitor convenience, creating a brand perception, the type of office that can be made and the capital investment that will be required to do so. The location of the space is also a reasonably long term commitment, with a minimum lease period in Mumbai being for 3 years.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) is a metropolitan area consisting of Mumbai and its satellite towns in Maharashtra, India. This region is also considered as the Financial capital of the country and thus is under constant development, whether its commercial or residential property or infrastructure. The region has an area of 4,355 square kilometers and with a population of over 26 million it is among the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. This large area allows us to classify the region into 3 broad categories of Micro Markets-
Central Business District (CBD) or Tier 1
Secondary Business District or Tier 2
Peripheral Business District or Tier 3
The ideal location of your office can be determined through a Property Analysis survey which factors in employees, visitors, cost impact and the building’s characteristics. The ideal location allows maximum efficiency, across all factors, at minimum cost.
Micro-Markets in Mumbai
Micro-Markets are categorized based on the demand of a location, availability of area, cost per square foot and its overall perception. The below table is a classification chart created to understand which particular areas are considered within a particular tier.
What are the Factors influencing Property Selection
“Pricing is not the only major influencer while looking for a commercial property is the city. Factors like employee convenience, resource bank, connectivity, infrastructure, grade of the building, occupancy, rental yields, housing schemes, amenities, etc play an important role in contributing to the growth of your firm and its success in a competitive yet resourceful market like Mumbai. At large the firm contributes to the urban economics of the city and the various ways a city grows and expands around commercial hubs, hence it is very important to take into consideration all possible factors before purchase.”
Property analysis is done keeping in mind that the client has to stick with the space until the lease is up. This causes companies to look at an array of factors which will contribute to determining the ideal office space. Most companies, albeit broadly, look into the following factors-
Price- This perhaps is one of the very first thoughts any decision maker has when selecting an office space. The cost of the space is provided as rate per square foot in Mumbai and is chargeable on the total carpet area.
Connectivity- The building should ideally be located close to a mainline public transport spot. In Mumbai, the local trains are the primary and most commonly used means of public transport and therefore most stakeholders check if the building is close to a railway station or not.
Grade of the Building- Buildings can be classified in Grades A, B and C, with A being the most expensive to lease or rent. While this is a cost factor, it also affects the perception and the proposed brand image of a company.
Company Profile- The location and the building should suit the company’s profile and should reflect in how they want to be perceived.
Accessibility - General accessibility for employees and visitors aside, this can also factor in disability access.
Building Characteristics- Cleanliness, maintenance, reliable infrastructure, building amenities and a decent design of the floor layout might seem like obvious considerations which could easily be overlooked in error. However, they are a key element in how your end space will turn out to be.
Location of Talent- This is a two-fold consideration wherein offices are primarily set up in areas where they can attract potential talent to build a better employee base for themselves and to retain existing talent through increasing convenience or accessibility.
Miscellaneous- Certain other factors such as parking facilities, local competition and proximity to the airport can also be considered basis the type of business.
Property Analysis by WorkAmp
While the above are factors that companies looking to build their office spaces consider, WorkAmp goes an extra mile to create a complete Property Analysis Survey which considers other factors, apart form detailing the above factors, attempting to provide an ideal space for the office.
WorkAmp breaks down a property into 3 varied sections-
The Location Feasibility
The Building Features
Connectivity & Employee Convenience
Travel Comfort & Effect of Travel on Mental Stress- “Ensuring a smooth business travel experience that limits wear and tear on employees is incredibly important. People will commute further for their ideal job as long as their daily journey is more comfortable and convenient. Traditionally, commuting meant you’ve left work. Now people are working before and after work. That leads to less overall down time while the increased screen time could be interrupting sleep patterns.” If the travel is inconvenient for the employees, it would be difficult to gain more talent or even retain current employees to an extent.
Ensure Productivity- "Longer commutes can have a significant impact on mental wellbeing.when employees are stressed and exhausted from long journeys to and from work, their performance is bound to suffer.The most common problem that arises from unhappy employees is lowered levels of productivity, absenteeism, lateness, stress, less involvement, errors and health issues." Due to the large size and traffic of the city, Mumbai is not easy to commute in.Travel can become extremely taxing, both mentally and physically. This has a negative impact on the employee, it causes exhaustion, stress and irritation and reduces the enthusiasm of the workers.
Distance to Major Travel Station- “The maximum recommended distance to the nearest high-capacity transit station for a transit- oriented development is defined as 1 kilometers, a 15- to 20- minute walk.” A distance greater than a kilometer could result in employees having to use another means of additional transport to reach the office, causing them a physical and financial strain.
Investor/Buyer Perception- “User experience immediately affects a potential customer’s perception of your company.People’s emotional responses change depending on their environment. Inconvenient and uncomfortable travel damages their perception.A business in the commercial area of a city gives the perception that the business is successful and can afford a good location.” For example, having an office space in an expensive micro market would make your company appear more stable and successful.
Grade of the Building
Buildings are broadly divided into 3 categories based on certain parameters. A descriptive table of the same can be found below-
Company Profile & Job Requirement
Office Culture- "Is your operation going to be formal and elegant? Or kicked-back and casual? Your location should be consistent with your particular style and image." The building should reflect the image the company is trying to portray. For example, having an extremely casual setup in an otherwise formal building, may seem out of place.
Office Needs & Image- “Make sure the building has adequate electrical, air conditioning, and telecommunications service to meet your present and future needs.” The building should be able to facilitate all electrical, air conditioning, safety and connectivity related requisitions, while also being able to provide support in terms of security and maintenance.
Business Type- "Different spaces may cater to different types of industries.a downtown spot may not be the best choice if you are expecting frequent shipments of goods. On the other hand, if you’re a startup and are looking at shared offices, then one in a downtown hub may present opportunities for networking." Your type of business has a heavy impact on the type of building you might choose. The area and building should be able to compliment your business.
Effect on Existing Employees- “Numerous studies have consistently demonstrated that characteristics of the physical office environment can have a significant effect on behaviour, perceptions and productivity of employees.” Employees spend approximately 40% of their time in their office space, which results in it having a prominent impact on them. The building of the office, and the office itself, can make an employee have the perception that the company wants to portray.
Effect of the Building on Users- “The real benefit of a smart building is that technology can help it evolve into an empathetic building—one that not only makes life a little easier for all, but that anticipates and responds to the needs of tenants as individuals. Think buildings with healthy cafes, lunchtime classes, lounge areas, flexible meeting spaces, etc. What talent wants is what tenants need is what landlords must provide.” The building, when made with newer technology, that is user friendly, promotes a healthy attitude among its users. Newer buildings are also aiming at being more eco-friendly.
Sign of Success- “Some customers choose to buy from certain companies because of the perception they have about them. A business in the commercial area of a city gives the perception that the business is successful and can afford a good location.” The fancier the building, the better impression people have of it and the offices that are present in it.
User Perception- “User experience immediately affects a potential customer’s perception of your company.People’s emotional responses change depending on their environment.” Any space has a subconscious effect on the users. The overall impression of the building should be synonymous with the impression the office is trying to create.
The WorkAmp Checklist consists of obvious, yet generally overlooked, points which are factored in while proposing any property. The list includes the following-
Has hotels/accommodations nearby
Has restaurants/cafes within the property complex
Has restaurants/cafes nearby
Has any Green Spaces nearby
Is the area/building prone to frequent crimes
Is the area/building working women friendly
Has the building had any issues which would directly affect tenants and/or their wish to terminate/extend the lease
While most company stakeholders and decision makers factor in several of the points that would provide an ideal location for their office setup, there are factors which are overlooked as well. These factors also have a profound impact on the shortlisting and selection of a property. WorkAmp attempts to have a holistic view on analysis locations in terms of area and building to achieve a more accurate solution. The office space one finalizes is a long term commitment and therefore arriving at the ideal solution should be a primary concern for anyone looking to set up their office space.