Choosing a new company headquarters today is way more involved than finding a downtown or suburban building that has the most visible signage to display the business’ brand (though that doesn’t hurt).

A company’s leadership has a lot to take into consideration that touches on several aspects of a business, and it’s an expensive long-lasting endeavor that can partially dictate company’s future. Getting it right is important, as evidenced by what Amazon’s HQ2 recently experienced.

Luckily, Cushman & Wakefield recently released a report (download here) called “Headquarters Lessons Learned” that can help business leaders make an informed decision when weighing where the business will call home.

Here is a summary of Cushman’s 10 key points:

  1. Start with a Clean Sheet Approach: This involves bringing together the top management team, as well as other interested parties, and making a distinct plan on where the company is now, and what its plans are for the future. Without this first step, it will be very difficult to know what kind of setting will be suitable for the firm in decades to come.
  2. Evaluate the Solution From all Angels:  Engage employees and find out what they prefer from an office space and what kind of environment can best bring out their talents and skills.
  3. Assess Which Functions Should be Located in the Headquarters: There are several ways a large company can structure headquarters and satellite offices. From having the headquarters as the main monitoring location of smaller locations, to having offices with equal responsibility, an organization needs to figure out what best fits its needs,
  4. Understand the Labor Dynamic: Instead of having talent relocated to a headquarters city, many companies are now moving their operations to cities that have the most desired workforce nearby and easily accessible.
  5. Make a Statement: Having a known and positive presence in the community will likely draw more interested potential employees. This can be done through unique and attractive design that tells a story about what a firm does
  6. Plan for Workplace 2025 (Not 2019): The workplace in 2025 will need to make the office a place where employees want to be. Research says they will want a “complement to their work-life experience” that offices will need to provide to stay competitive.
  7. Be a Valued Member of the Community: Millennials like companies that appear to be socially conscious. A new headquarters can be an opportunity to partner with local community groups and help devote service hours to the local area.
  8. Leverage Data to Help Inform Sound Decisions: Companies should use targeted data to choose their headquarters location instead of just setting up shop where the CEO lives. After all, company leaders change all the time.
  9. Put an Exit Plan in Place: It might seem premature, but companies should plan how they will exit the new headquarters once the time comes to relocate. It might never happen, or it might happen relatively quickly. Either way, it should take place in a manner that insures the company’s future health.
  10. Get Help: There are many firms out there that can help a company make informed decisions about their headquarters, whether it be a commercial real estate services firm like Cushman, or an environmental due-diligence company like GRS Group. Companies should definitely consult with experts in real estate before making any relocation decisions that will be vital to the corporation’s future.

About GRS Group

GRS Group is a leading provider of commercial real estate (“CRE”) services worldwide. With offices across the United States, Europe, and affiliates around the globe, GRS Group provides local market knowledge with a global perspective for institutional real estate investors, occupiers and lenders worldwide. The GRS Group team has evaluated and advised on over $1 trillion in CRE transactions.

Through the company’s proprietary management process, Global Services Connection, GRS Group delivers an integrated suite of services including Financial Advisory, Transaction Management, Assessment and Title Insurance.  We provide a single point of contact, capable of leveraging the GRS Group portfolio of companies and delivering customized solutions to assist our clients in achieving their investment goals.