The bells are ringing. The confetti is flowing. 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 soirees, 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 and the paperwork sorted.
It might be a mere formality, getting signoff on your new office, but things aren’t always that simple. Depends 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 tie a ribbon around 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 signoff from colleagues who’ve visited the office in the flesh.
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 centry, anyone?) Ideally though, you’ll be able to show at least *some* people from this group round some of the spaces you’ve considered, so they have an idea 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 bods. 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 organise 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 finish line.
4. Hook them up with your main point of contact
Sometimes the only way to put someone’s mind at rest 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 the team
This is a last resort! You’re aware of the carnage and chaos it could cause. But 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 caveat the vote with “no guarantees, results aren’t binding, it’s complicated” or similar, and - importantly - get the all-clear from your finance folks first.
6. Ask your internal and external network for support and recommendations
When you’re under pressure to achieve a mammoth task, it can be hard to see the wood for 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 the cold hard persuasion side of things, but sending over cashflows for finance purposes… bringing a lawer on board if necessary... sorting out space plans, or designs and costings for blank canvas leased spaces…
Lean on your internal and external professional network 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 the above.)