MacRo LTD Blog

Insights on Renovating or Relocating Your Business Space

There are a lot of issues to consider when making a decision to rehab your workspace or move to a new location.


If your business is growing and the space you occupy is busting at the seams it might be time to ask a dreaded question: Is it time for a change of environment?

Now, this change can take a few different forms. You could renovate and expand your existing location to accommodate current and future needs. Or, you could take the plunge and move altogether to a brand new space in another part of town.

If you are a business owner, or a member of its C-Suite leadership team, addressing the renovate or relocate question is both a blessing and a curse. It’s great because it likely means your business is doing well. It’s, well, not so great because of the potential upheaval and disruptive nature of both renovation and relocation.

If you find yourself in this enviable (or unenviable?) position, here are a few things to consider when tackling the renovate or relocate debate.

Understand What You’re Getting Into

If you are exploring renovation, you need to do your homework. You need to know your building codes, historical preservation requirements and the age and infrastructure of your building, as well as the expectations of your landlord … if you don’t own the building.

Open bullpens, cafes and other innovative ideas might be great, but only if they work within the restrictions, both code wise and financially, of your space and budget.

Do your legwork. Compare costs to renovate to your potential relocation expenses. Take account of the big picture and make a value judgment that balances budgetary concerns, employee productivity and well being and future growth projections.

The same research approach applies to finding new space. In this case, you can get help from an experienced commercial real estate broker. But there’s no replacement for your own due diligence, regardless of your renovation or relocation choice.

How Much Disruption is Too Much?

If you and your team decide to renovate the existing space, the period of disruption will likely last longer than if you were to relocate entirely. Construction, equipment, noise, workers coming in and out and inevitable timeline delays could significantly disrupt operations and sap worker morale. What’s more, health and safety issues could arise if not addressed properly by your team or the construction company.

Renovation might be the correct path to take, but be prepared for serious disruption to your day-to-day operations. You’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of long-term benefits versus short-term discomfort and potential employee unhappiness.

In the case of relocation, it has its own complications, but for smaller businesses, the move typically causes inconvenience for perhaps a weekend or two whereas renovation can take months.

Occupied Renovations Just Take Longer

Again, renovation might make perfect sense. But if you have to occupy the space during renovation, it will take longer than if the space was vacant. Vacant space enables the contractor to tackle multiple tasks at once, whereas occupied space requires a staged approach so that operations are not completely disrupted during the process. So, be prepared for a longer construction process.

Involve Employees in the Process

Be sure to get your employees involved early in the process to build a sense of ownership and to create excitement. If you are relocating entirely, “selling” the project will require much less work as employees—barring any huge alterations to their commute—will by and large be able to see the future and get excited about it.

Conversely, employees about to endure a renovation will have a much harder time seeing what could be. They will be too blinded by the inconvenience of today to see the brighter tomorrow.

So, form an employee task force. Work with your team leaders to keep everyone informed and to limit surprises. Showcase renderings in high traffic areas to keep the vision top-of-mind. If you are not typically flexible about remote working, now is the perfect time to change this. When things get particularly bad or disruptive, offer your employees a chance to work from home. Including and accommodating your employees is absolutely critical to keeping them excited and productive under trying circumstances.

A New Space Can Be a Fresh Start

Relocation to a new space, while not feasible for every organization, does have its advantages. It will reinvigorate your employees, provide a great venue for refreshing your brand and furnish your business with ample public relations and marketing opportunities.

In addition, you will be able to “fit out” your new office prior to moving, so other than a little “overtime” during a weekend move, disruption of operations will be minimal and your employees should remain productive.

Finding an ideal new office has its complications and risks as well. For example, you’ll have to negotiate a new lease, nurture a relationship with a new and unfamiliar landlord and perhaps pay a higher rent for this newer, nicer space.

This is an important decision for all stakeholders in your business. Renovation makes sense for some, leasing a brand new space makes sense for others. If you fall into the latter category, the MacRo team can help.

Contact us directly or join our MacRo Insider community to get helpful tips on lease negotiation and all things commercial real estate.

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Rocky Mackintosh, the Founder and President of MacRo, Ltd., is a leading commercial real estate expert in the region. He has been an active member of the Frederick, Maryland community for over four decades. He has served as chairman of the board of Frederick Memorial Hospital and as a member of the Frederick County Charter Board from 2010 to 2012.

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