Published: 24 Jan 2017
Updated: 18 Aug 2023

5 things to ask before renting your first office space


Renting an office is as important as finding a place to live. It's a place you spend at least a third of your day, if not more! As we recently unveiled in our whitepaper, over 88% of Hong Kongers and 93% of Singaporeans work over 8 hours a day.

Hours considered, it is important to weigh all your options before you sign a contract locking you down into an office somewhere. Here are some important questions you need to ask yourself, when scouting for that perfect office in Asia. This applies whether you're a small local team of 5 or a mid-size branch of an international company.  

1. Is the location suitable for the workforce and clients?

If you’re a business that anticipates meeting many clients face to face, it’s important to choose a building and office that’s presentable and accessible. Depending on what kind of business you own, this could mean simply mean having a working elevator in a location close to public transportation. But if you’re offering higher end services to corporations, you may need to be centrally located in a more prominent area. Do you want to have all modes of transportation – subway, bus and ferry available within a 5-minute walk – or is it OK for your employees to hike an extra distance? In our Compass survey, having an office conveniently located nearby public transportation was a top priority for most of APAC respondents.

2. How much am I willing to spend?

Cost is usually one of the biggest factors, next to location. You need to consider not only month to month rent, but also moving fees at large, including down payment, furniture and other relocation costs. Start calculating numbers before you even start looking around. Remember that it’s likely you’ll often spend more than you expected.

3. What amenities do you need? (At the office and nearby?)

For some businesses, a functional space with a set of keys enough. Other companies need a main receptionist, maid and upkeep services and 24/7 custodian services. Is it important to be nearby many food options? Do you need printing and film services nearby? Assess what your company needs nearby and inside the office building.

4. What kind of headcount growth do you expect? 

If you’re a startup, growth is one of the hardest things to factor in and anticipate, but it’s often inevitable.  Do you foresee your company doubling from 5 people to 10 in the next year or tripling? Is it necessary to have everyone work from the office all the time, or is it possible to rotate colleagues and have some work from home? If you factor in room to grow, this will save time, energy and money of having to move later. Does the building you’re renting from offer flexibility in floor plans and office spaces? Choose a place that can accommodate potential changes in headcount and needs. 

5. What is your company culture, and does it match the office environment?

Whether you’re a small tech company where jeans and flip flops are the norm or a mid-sized client facing business, your office should fit in with your company culture. Say you’re a design agency. Chances are that the space layout and design might be more important to you, as well as the general colors and interiors of the building. If you’re a young and trendy office, you may blend in more at a space with similar surrounding culture, and not in a traditional finance area. Make sure the company culture matches the exterior, as aesthetics do affect the culture and environment of the job!  


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