Office location, access, and traffic patterns are three things about your leasing decision that go hand-in-hand.
Although other considerations are often put first (lease rate, term, Tenant Improvements allowance, amenities), these three items are key to employee satisfaction and in leasing a space that works. Here is a quick run-down of each of these three categories and the things you should consider in each.
Everyone knows that choosing an office location means choosing between leasing downtown or in the suburbs. This is true. But what about the location of your office within the building or office park, aren't these things also important?
When considering office location you should take a look at where your office is on the floor plate of your building. If you are leasing a deep, dark, corner of a building with an enormous floor plate (say 30,000 square feet or bigger) you will want to make sure your space has adequate signage to help your clients find your space. You should also consider whether your space would benefit from being up towards the top of a building or whether it doesn't matter at all. For industries that rely heavily on client traffic (like law firms), a small floor plate and views from a high rise seem more important than they do for a call center operation.
Believe it or not, the access to your building and its parking lot or structure is also very important. Unfortunately, some city planners are quite greedy and let developers get away with building projects that are too dense for the area. If you are in an eight building office park, you might want to check and make sure that the road out of the park has more than one lane in each direction. Why? Because at 5:30 when several thousand employees are all rushing to get home, you may have the most massive traffic issue you face on your commute right in your own parking lot.
A good way to check this is to hang out at your proposed office suite in the morning and again in the evening to watch the commute into the building. Check to see if there are any access issues on any of the streets that join your property. Look to see how many access points there are to the building's parking, and which of them are heavily used. This could impact employee satisfaction.
Another thing you will want to experience about your new office building is the traffic pattern in general. If you are moving from another city, this could be especially important. I highly recommend driving from your home (or some location where most of your employees will be coming from) to the new office during rush hour. Do it in the morning and again at night. You may even do it a few different ways to test the traffic. Brokers marketing a building will not feel the need to tell you if you are leasing a few hundred yards away from the worst traffic bottleneck in your city. You need to discover this for yourself.