Are you beginning to feel cramped in your office space? Did it seem spacious last year, but after hiring additional employees, does the office now make you feel confined? Is your color pallet of gray walls, furniture and carpet a bit uninspiring? Then you’re ready for a new office design.
Before you begin moving walls, here is a short, yet important list of office renovation tips:
Step 1: Ask Yourself What You Want Your Renovation to Achieve
An office redesign can be expensive, time consuming and disruptive. So before you establish a demolition date, write down your reasons for an office redo. To help you get started ask yourself the following six questions:
- What do you want and what do you need the renovation to accomplish?
- Do you need to add on to the building to gain more desk space or would a redesign of your space give you a more open and collaborative environment?
- Should you add larger windows to gain more natural light, or change your design scheme to a more modern industrial look?
- Does the office layout need to be more efficient?
- Does your IT infrastructure need to be updated?
- How long do you intend to stay in the space?
- Will you be adding new employees in the near future?
With these questions answered, it’s now time to start building your team.
Step 2: Choose Your Project Manager
Before you pick out wall colors, textured materials and fun lighting, choose a member of your staff that can serve as your project manager and help guide you through the renovation.This person will represent you, so choose someone you trust to make important decisions, who can multitask and is well organized. Your project manager will hold the other team members accountable, keep the project on budget and keep you apprised of changes.
Step 3: Create Your Team
Research Architects and/or Interior Renovation Firms
The next step is to interview and request proposals from architects and/or renovation designers. Choose companies that have extensive experience with your type of office renovation. Be sure to ask for references and visit the sites of their previous work to see if you like the completed projects. Keep these five tips in mind when you meet with these companies:
- Request three-dimensional drawings, so you can have a more accurate vision of your finished design.
- After your initial consultation meeting, ask to speak with the member of their team that will be creating the plans.
- Ask which aspects of the redesign will be a challenge.
- Request a fee schedule and payment terms.
- Ask the firm to recommend contractors for your project.
With your design in hand, it is time to seek a general contractor
A general contractor keeps the project running smoothly, ensures equipment and supplies arrive on time and the proper permits have been acquired. Regardless of the size of your renovation design, it’s important to ask the contractor if the company is state licensed and carries property and liability insurance, as well as worker’s compensation. Request documentation. You can obtain other third-party verification from state and local licensing bodies, professional associations, state and local courts, suppliers and Better Business Bureaus.
Step 4: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
We can’t say it enough, keep your employees in the loop! Talk to them about the benefits of the new office design. Try to anticipate their questions and provide answers. When will the renovations begin and what is the proposed completion date? Will the office be closed during the renovation? Will the staff be temporarily relocated to another corporate office or floor? Will they need to work from home if the electricity and water are disconnected? If there is a lot of noise can they choose to work from home? Will parking be limited during the redesign and will you provide alternative parking spaces? If your staff is knowledgeable about the process of the renovation, there will be less employee frustration and more positive news to tell clients.
One More Thought
There are pro and con arguments regarding collaborative working spaces vs.cubicles and walls. Open-concept designs have been shown to lower employee productivity because of excess noise and visual distraction. Yet open-space supporters continue to defend the concept saying it encourages mentoring, social conversation and a greater exchange of knowledge and ideas; in their opinion yielding greater productivity.
Communicate with your employees and learn what working environment keeps them happy and productive. Add this information to your “what you want your renovation to achieve” list and let the professionals design a space specific to your needs.