Facilities may be rather low on your priorities when it comes to being a government contractor. You have many other things to worry about – securing contracts, securing the right employees, securing designations – the last thing you may think of is securing your facilities that will house all those things. Whether you need specific facilities for a contract requirement, or you need to branch out with a new corporate headquarters, how you choose your office space in the current age’s climate is important.
There are a few important points when it comes to securing office space as a government contractor:
> Amenity rich office as a recruiting tool for high powered & young talent
The workforce is changing. Millennials currently comprise the largest sector of the workforce according to PewResearch and are expected to be over seventy-five percent by 2025 according to Forbes. The days of a high salary with boring or stale working conditions are changing as Millennials favor amenity rich environments. While millennials value flexibility. such as working from home, that is typically not an option in the government contracting world, so creating an impressive environment for them to thrive within their office space is key. Things such as in office fitness centers, cafes, and collaborative areas are creating environments that millennials are enjoying. The days of the corner office as a goal are dead with this new era of workforce, and all industries must adapt, including the government contracting world. These things will help you in recruiting the best talent, which in the long run and should benefit your business.
Location is absolutely key when choosing an office space as a government contractor. While it might make economic sense to locate in an affordable location across town, the real key is being near amenities that create a sense of place that are also in close proximity to your customer, whichever governmental body or agency you are contracting with. The convenience of being close to your customer will be appreciated when they need to access you, but more importantly, they will enjoy working with you if your location is close to an amenity-rich environment. Coffee shops, entertainment facilities, hotels, and restaurants are all important resources to be close to your office. While your customers will appreciate the convenience of visiting these places while they can visit you, your employees will reap the satisfaction as well, especially if these amenities are within walking distance of your facility.
> Secure facilities/Facility requirements
At the end of the day, your contract will likely drive the physical facilities that you occupy. You may have discretion over location and should take the above factors into account, but your physical facility may be driven by the customer needs. If this is the case, making sure that your landlord or building can accommodate the customer needs is key. Some contracts require secure facilities, SCIFs (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities), individual offices as opposed to cubicles, and in some cases even require that the building meet certain environmental regulations. Double checking that a Landlord can perform or has experience with these functions is key when choosing your office space.
There are many components that go into choosing the ideal office space. In this century and with this workforce, economics may not always be the driver when making the right decisions and your office space could end up being a significant differentiator from your competition. It is never too early to look for your next office location or expansion, as more time will allow you to look at options that may not be available the closer to the end of the lease term. Keep these things in mind and contact a commercial real estate broker that focuses on office leasing to help you through this process so that you can focus on what you do best – serving our government.
James Lomax is a Commercial Real Estate Broker with Colliers International in Huntsville, Alabama. He can be reached at 256.503.6088.