The bells are ringing. The confetti is flying. This is it, you’ve found The One...
An office where your team can do their best work. Vibe, size, location, price, all boxes ticked.
You’re thinking about move-in dates, office-warming parties, and the look on your colleagues’ faces when they see the roof terrace/bike racks/routers for the first time...
Now you need to get the decision agreed upon and the paperwork sorted.
It might be a mere formality, getting a sign-off on your new office, but things aren’t always that simple. It all depends on how big your team is and who’s been involved so far.
Kontor HQ has moved around a few times too, so we understand that the situation is tough on both sides. Any back and forth usually comes from a good place! People just want to have confidence in the decision.
And over the years of helping companies get the keys to their happily ever after (or until the next funding round), we’ve picked up 6 steps to help smooth out the bumps.
1. Document the history of your search
You’ve made notes along the way. Now’s the time to package them up and put a bow on them. Your due diligence is done, so let it shine and show how you’ve landed on one option over another. Keep in mind the “curse of knowledge” - you’re well aware of the journey that led to your conclusion, but is everyone else?
Make use of the information you were given back when you viewed the office. Emails, brochures, online listings, use these materials as a foundation. (At Kontor we put together all the key details in one document for you before we head out on a tour. Whoever you go through, we wholeheartedly recommend this approach because it gives you the headspace to scribble down any personal observations your team will care about.)
Bonus tip: take a video of the office. For anyone who can’t go there in person, this is the next best thing.
2. Take your main stakeholders to view the office in person
We’ve found it’s easiest for clients to get a sign-off from colleagues who’ve visited the office in person.
If you’re a small company, you’re probably yelling “no sh*t Sherlock, they’ve all seen it loads already” right now... great stuff!
However, for larger companies, it’s not always feasible to take a parade of 15 senior types away from their desks for a day and show every single person every single office. (Understatement of the century, anyone?) Ideally, though, you’ll be able to show at least *some* people from this group around some of the spaces you’ve considered, so they have an idea of what’s on offer and a frame of reference for why one place ticks the most boxes.
3. Round up everyone who has a say in the decision
Leadership, investors, the keeper of the finance keys; everyone who needs to sign off on the decision. Get them in one room and bring them up to speed. It’s more effort to organize than an email chain but more effective in the long run, and people will appreciate being taken through the backstory you’ve assembled in step 1.
As a side note - not a “step” so much as a way of life - do all you can to keep stakeholders updated throughout the process. This tends to reduce the risk of an unexpected veto at the finish line.
4. Hook them up with your main contact
Sometimes the only way to put someone’s mind at ease is to let them speak directly to the person on the other side of the table. We know the final stretch can be tricky (that’s why we’re always happy to come in and have a conversation with your stakeholders) and it’s always worth seeing what’s possible on this front.
5. Put it to a vote
This is the last resort! You’re aware of the carnage and chaos it could cause. But what else can you do when you’re stuck between two options that seem equally good? Asking the whole company to vote could serve as a useful tiebreaker when you’ve exhausted all other avenues. Just be sure to qualify the vote with “no guarantees, results aren’t binding, it’s complicated” or some such non-committal wording, and - importantly - get the all-clear from your finance folks first.
6. Ask your internal and external networks for support and recommendations
When you’re under pressure to finish a mammoth task, it can be hard to see the forest through the trees. Remember though, whatever you’re struggling with in the signoff process, others have been through before. And people are usually happy to share what they’ve learned to help a friend out.
Not just on the cold hard persuasion side of things, but sending over cashflows for finance purposes, bringing a lawyer on board, sorting out space plans, or designs and costs for blank canvas leased spaces.
Lean on your internal and external professional networks for their advice. If you’ve looped in a company to help you find the office, ask them too. (At Kontor we’ll always do what we can to support you, and we can recommend great people for all of the above.)
Do you still have questions about finding (and getting the sign-off for) the office you need? We’re here for all things big or small at kontor.com.