Your tired old commercial office space is due for a new fit-out or renovation. It will be one of the biggest expenses your company has to pay for, but where do you start? If you are planning to embark on this project there are a number of things you need to consider before you begin.
Apart from the expense, there is so much involved with planning and organising an office move. You will only want to do it once in a blue moon, so it’s important to get it right first time around.
The planning and designing stages are both fundamental parts of any office fit-out project. A well planned office space will provide you with a stress-free, productive environment and can improve your company’s brand and image.
To ensure an enjoyable and successful renovation we have put together a few things for you to think about before the project begins.
What is the reason or purpose of the renovation?
Make a list of the things you are wanting to achieve from your office space. Ask yourself some questions like ‘why do we need a new office fit-out?’ and ‘what kind of fit-out do we want?’.
Maybe you’ve noticed there are existing spaces that are being under-utilised? Are you wanting to reinforce and project your branding? Or are you expanding or downsizing your workforce?
Asking these sort of questions will help you understand the purpose of your renovation. They will impact your fitout requirements with what you are wanting to achieve aesthetically and functionally.
It’s also important to talk to all different members of staff (in varying roles – admin to management) to find out their thoughts and ideas. Ask them what would they request in their work place if they could ask for anything. Find out what would help them be happier in order to maximise productivity and also ask what they think your clients may like.
Create A Flexible Office Space
Your workplace should be able to accommodate future changes and growth. As well as be reflective of the current climate of your business.
When deciding on a new layout and design for your offices take into consideration a growing work force. But also potential changes in technology and trends. Do you need more meeting rooms or extra space to accommodate more work stations? How will these things impact the size and shape of your office space?
It may not be possible to rent the floor above, so planning for more collaborative spaces such as modular designs (for re-purposing spaces) or mezzanine levels (to expand without using floor space) can help maximise space for a growing business without breaking the bank.
Also consider team spaces that can be adaptable for different uses, such as brainstorming or presentations or for use as a quiet area. Shared spaces promote collaboration and inter-office engagement.
The answers to all these types of questions will help you to determine the scale of the fit-out, the length it will take to complete and of course your budget.
Style And Comfort
As well as spatial planning and functionality, comfort and style are also important factors.
Having lots of natural light and using natural materials can promote office well-being.
Using finishes such as wood and stone and incorporating lots of living plants and even a water feature will allow your staff to stay connected with the outdoors.
Do you need to allow space for a reception area? Is a workstation required along with a client waiting area? Maybe moveable walls are needed to create flexibility and/or for later expansion?
Consider the type of flooring you would prefer, for both practicality and aesthetics. Options include tiles, carpet, wood/vinyl and concrete.
Desks that convert from sitting to standing have been proven to boost productivity and health. Also light, open spaces will allow good airflow.
Multipurpose And Flexible Elements
The main purposes of an office fit-out is generally to elevate a space to its optimal best. The use of innovative, multipurpose pieces of furniture can effectively save space, are flexible and are super on trend right now.
Alternatively, commissioning custom joinery can effectively accommodate all of your needs. For example, creating multipurpose work zones, utilizing small spaces and/or creating a bold first impression. This avenue can be a little more costly but well worth it in the long run.
When it comes to redesigning an office space it should reflect the values, vision and image of your company. Your clients should see the same branding when walking into your offices as they would when viewing your company website.
Implementing designs to represent your brand in a positive manner goes far beyond positioning logos around your office space. For example, if you’re a business who believe in and encourage sustainability, why not showcase this in your office design? Utilise and highlight sustainable materials and furniture throughout your space.
Alternatively, you can use certain elements in a direct way for people to recognise your branding. Brand specific colours, fonts and customised furnishings can all help to highlight the association.
Considering what technology requirements need to be implemented in and around your office space is important. Technology such as telephone points, AV requirements, security systems, data networks and data points are all standard office necessities.
A green office can provide a number of benefits, not only is it better for the environment and for your staff but will also improve your reputation by giving your business a social conscience and be more appealing to customers and investors.
To create an eco-friendly office consider things such as going paperless, arranging for recycling of resources or you could invest in solar technology and work with nature instead of against her.
Modern workspaces with open-floor plans are excellent to help promote good communication, increased productivity and collaboration. However, if these areas are poorly designed they can amplify unnecessary sound. This can then have a negative effect on all the positives of an open-floor plan. A slight noise from one corner of the office can flow throughout the workspace and distract employees heavily engaged with work on the other side of the room.
Fortunately, with some creative design on the workplace layout an acoustically aware workplace can be accomplished.
Having a budget in place before you begin your refit is essential. This will avoid wasting time with contractors or suppliers outside your budget. Think about costs associated with the move, new furniture and equipment prices and electrical infrastructure changes. Always add 10%-15% on top for emergencies and unforeseen expenses that will crop up. Your total amount should be what you think everything will cost plus the additional contingency monies. The budget should be realistic and should be mapped out before the project begins.
It can be difficult to get a good balance between having a modern and functional workspace, and not break the bank. Employing a professional like an interior designer can help you establish an overall budget, with all aspects of the fit-out considered.
Hiring The Right People
If you engage an Interior Design company to project manage the fit-out they will evaluate your space and provide you with a design brief. The interior designer will handle technical plans and building assessments, ordering and delivery of materials and manage the project and construction from start to finish. They will be cost effective and will ensure the best aesthetics for the final look of the space. They will also be aware of all the necessary things to consider.
If you are a good project manager you may want to take on the role yourself. However, make sure you do plenty of information gathering and obtain a number of quotes from different contractors. You will be responsible for supplying technical plans and building assessments and will need to take control of the process from start to finish. This includes elements such as lighting plans, colour palettes and furnishing selections.
Just remember that planning is key – you want to dream big, measure twice and cut only once! Great design can not only promote your company image but can also have a positive impact of staff performance and productivity.
A successful office fit-out is about getting the right balance between functionality, design and your budget.
Click here to take a look at an office redesign which we undertook in North Sydney.