Time to read: 7 minutes

Are you trying to decide where best to locate your London office? London is a large, diverse city. It can be overwhelming if you are not familiar with the pros and cons of each area.

These 5 steps outline the approach we use time and time again to help our clients find and acquire the best office space in the correct location for their business. We successfully relocated PBE Group to their current offices in Great Portland Street using exactly this strategy.

Here are our 5 steps to making the correct decision:

Step 1. Assess your current office location

What are the pros and cons of your current office location, if you have one? What has prompted the move? And do you really need to relocate? Maybe you already have the best office location!

Many businesses prefer to stay where they are, maybe simply because their clients and employees are used to it and like it. Perhaps they are in the correct commercial district for their sector; or their office location may be a critical part of their hard-won reputation and image.

Make sure you analyse the strengths and weaknesses of your current office location – and your reasons for being there – before you decide on a move.

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Step 2. Make a list of regular visitors to your office and how they get there?

Communications are fundamental to your choice of location. Who exactly needs to visit your office on a regular basis? Employees, certainly; clients, probably; and, depending on the nature of your business, suppliers may need access. And, importantly, where are they all coming from? Writing this down will help you decide on your priorities.

Who exactly needs to visit your office on a regular basis? Employees, certainly; clients, probably; and – depending on the nature of your business – suppliers may also need access. Most importantly, where are they all coming from?

London is well served by rail and road links as well as air for those travelling into the city. All commercial districts are within reasonable distance of a national rail terminus. And getting around the city is easy enough, whether by Tube (the London Underground), bus or even bike rental. The brand new Elizabeth Line which traverses London – East to West – has significantly reduced travel times to Central London from beyond the suburbs and vice versa. As a result, offices in peripheral locations – until very recently simply too far away from the action – have now become viable business destinations.

Have a look at our location guides for full details on available public transport.

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Step 3. Consider the nature of your business and which other services you need in close proximity?

Is it important for your office to be geographically near to your clients and local suppliers? Some businesses even want to be close to their competitors, or companies offering complementary and supporting services.

Historically, particular commercial sectors have tended to cluster together in the same London area. Certain parts of London are synonymous with particular industries. For example:

  • Media in Soho: a long association with advertising agencies and television production, with audio and video post production houses located throughout this part of the West End.
  • Banking in The City of London: Alongside the banks and money institutions, you’ll also find related services such as insurance located in nearby offices.
  • Financial Services in Mayfair: Offices for private wealth advisors and hedge fund managers are concentrated in this prestigious area.
  • Technology in Shoreditch: More recently, this district to the east of the City has become London’s hub for technology companies. You’ll find startups in co-working offices located cheek by jowl with the big players from California.

Historically, particular commercial sectors have tended to cluster together in the same London area. Certain parts of London are synonymous with particular industries.

Flexible, Quality office space in Appold Street, Shoreditch
Flexible, Quality office space Shoreditch – London’s Technology Hub

Make sure to consider less obvious locations that also match your requirements

Of course, within an increasingly online world, modern businesses have become far more flexible and mobile, so it’s fair to say that the ties between these historic locations and a particular commercial sector aren’t always as strong as they once were. High office rents in the above locations, plus redevelopment in more peripheral areas means that many companies now look at alternative office locations.

Best Office Location? Canary Wharf London
Canary Wharf – London’s 2nd Financial District

Since the 1980s, massive re-development of London docklands with a mix of high and low rise office buildings has led to Canary Wharf becoming London’s second financial centre. Pressure on office rents in the West End have led to the growth of new media hubs in Clerkenwell and Shoreditch – often using a refurbished industrial building repurposed into a highly effective creative work environment. It’s no longer essential for a media company to have a Soho presence.

Regardless of these changes, it’s still true that you should carefully consider who and what you need nearby, given the nature of your work – and then shortlist the best potential office locations accordingly.

Need help choosing the best location for your office?

  • Ian Kitchener
  • Michael Fraser
  • Jon Franks
or call +44 20 7484 9266

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Step 4. Think about your image. How do you want to present your business?

This is often underestimated, but it is an important consideration. First impressions count – and are seldom changed.

James Caan - Entrepreneur
James Caan – Entrepreneur [CC Licence]
When James Caan started his recruitment company Alexander Mann back in the mid–1980’s, he believed image was everything. He decided that a fancy building with a Pall Mall address was essential for his organisation’s image, even though his ‘organisation’ at that point was a one-man-band! His budget would only stretch to a “shoe box” of an office in Pall Mall. However, whenever a new client arrived at his Pall Mall office, he would go down to the foyer to meet them, explain that they were very busy upstairs and that all the meeting rooms were in use. “Would you mind if we have our meeting over tea at the Ritz? It’s only a short walk,” he would ask.

Over the next decade, Caan turned his one-man recruitment firm into a multi-million pound empire. Clearly choosing the best office location to make the right first impression was a very important factor in getting his business off the ground.

What sort of image do you want to project? What will your clients and employees like and expect? Does a particular address or location match that expectation?

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Step 5. Search the entire London office space market for the best rental opportunities

Think flexibly when it comes to your search and be prepared to consider alternative office locations that at lower rents will get you more bang for you buck. These days, you can find the best office for your business in the perfect position and potentially save money. We cover all 19 Central London commercial districts in our location guide.

Rental values for offices vary dramatically across Central London. Mayfair and St James’s are the most expensive areas in London; Waterloo, Shoreditch and Canary Wharf are the least expensive.

Of course rental value is also indicative of the distribution of wealth across London – important information for some companies.

Have a look at our authoritative rental guide for offices in London – updated quarterly.

Think flexibly when it comes to your search and be prepared to consider alternative office locations that at lower rents will get you more bang for you buck.

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Final thoughts on deciding the best office location

5 steps: the pros and cons of your current location, communications and logistics, the nature of your business, your desired image and cost. Follow these steps and you’ll quickly identify and shortlist the best office locations for your business. Only then should you start your office search to establish full market availability and pricing.

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6 ways to save money on office space in London
From The Knowledge

6 ways to save money on office space in London

If your business is based in London, running an office is probably one of your biggest costs, second only to staff salaries. Here are our top 6 tips to save money on London office space. Some of them may seem obvious, but when our clients consider all of them, we have always helped them make significant savings.

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For more essential tips and advice, have a look at The Knowledge - and for answers to your questions about London office space, check out our FAQs.

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