So, you have decided to renovate your office, have you?
First, congratulations on taking the first step – making the actual decision!
We would love to tell you that the hard part is now over, but it has just begun.
You have many things to consider before deciding what color to paint the new office, things such as:
- Deciding what it is you want to achieve from the renovation.
- The layout that best suits your business’s needs.
- What modern office design trends are best for your clients, employees, and company goals.
- What is this renovation going to cost you and how to budget accordingly?
- Figuring out if there will be any employee downtime and involvement.
Office renovation is a lot more than just aesthetics – how your new office looks is just as important as how it feels to your employees and clients.
If you can impress your clients, make your employees happy, and increase productivity with your ‘office makeover’ without having to break the bank or pause business for too long, then and only then can you say that your office renovation was a true success.
Where to Begin
Before you make your ‘dream’ office you should get some expert advice, or you might end up with a renovation ‘nightmare’.
Where can you get such expert advice?
You can start with this guide to begin your renovation journey.
The guide covers all the major areas you need to consider during the renovation process. It discusses relevant topics such as office layouts, modern design trends, but also downtime management and other specific points that affect the business during office renovations.
The very first question to answer is why you want to renovate.
Deciding What You Want
Do you know why you want to renovate your office?
What is the main driving force behind your undertaking besides the fact that your walls look like they need a fresh coat of paint?
An office renovation is no small task, but when done right, the company and its employees will see many benefits.
Take CBRE, an American real estate services and investment firm, as an example. They have improved its clients’ employee satisfaction rates and attendance through its ‘Workplace 360’ office renovations which provide a high-tech, flexible, and paperless work environment.
Reasons to Renovate the Office
Some common reasons business owners have to renovate the office are:
1. As a Business Grows, So Do the Needs of Its Office Space
The actual reasons for growth matter little – more employees, the higher demand, or a switch in goals – but what matters is that to adapt to these changes, the business has to evolve to meet its current and future growth demand and part of the evolution is renovating the workplace.
Will the renovation be able to serve the business’s future growth needs?
You do not want to constantly be renovating your office space to keep up with growth rates. That will put a dent in your company’s wallet because of constant renovation and employee downtime.
2. Staying Contemporary
You know the old saying, “First impressions are everything!” If the current state of your office looks shabby, run-down, or dated, it gives a horrible impression to your clients.
Even if your products or services are modern and innovative, an outdated office will advertise:
“We are going out of business!”
3. Higher Productivity
Making workspaces more comfortable improves productivity and performance. One study showed that a typical office renovation could increase employee productivity by 12%.
Some ways a redesign can boost employee productivity are as follows:
- Creating more open space for employees to work in.
- Fostering cooperation among staff members.
- Reducing wear and tear and thus bolstering enthusiasm and pride among employees.
- Promoting ergonomic space and furniture which allows employees to maintain proper circulation and blood flow to the brain.
- Incorporating positive designs, colors, and natural surroundings to improve your workforce’s emotional states.
4. Increased Profits
Renovating office space can also increase your bottom line when done right.
Reports show that the work environment plays a significant role in employee productivity and client perception – the two key ingredients in increasing profit margins.
Aside from increasing employee productivity, other benefits derived from renovating your office include attracting customers and expanding business operations.
The renovation does not even have to be complex to gain a potential customer or client’s attention.
A fresh coat of paint, simple repairs, and drywall work are minor renovations that can produce a positive perception of your business.
The main idea behind attracting more customers through office renovations is to create the appearance of an organized, efficient and vibrant environment.
Creating a workplace that has a positive and less damaging impact on the environment is another reason to start renovating.
If you have decided a renovation is in order, you might as well think about the impact it can have not only on your company but on the immediate surroundings and globally.
Helping the environment will also help your business.
80% of people respect companies with eco-friendly practices.
An eco-friendly renovation can simultaneously boost your business output and its image at the same time. Going eco-friendly will:
Studies have shown that eco-friendly workspaces can boost employee performance.
Boost Employee Health
With more and more employees being granted access to more sick days in the past couple of years – 79 million in the private sector alone – companies would do well to try and keep their employees healthy.
Aside from the fact of not having to pay for as many ‘sick days’, companies can also improve their productivity through healthy employees as healthier workers perform better.
Employees who maintain a healthy diet perform 25% better at work than those who don’t.
While your employees’ diets may not reside in your sphere of influence, unless you are deciding to implement a cafeteria as part of your renovation, creating an eco-friendly office can go a long way to improving the state of health of your staff.
Decorating your office with plants can reduce stress, improve air quality, and lower the risk of Sick Building Syndrome (SBS).
Save You Money in the Long Run
Redesigning your office with the environment in mind can save your company a ton of money.
A report from 2012, found that hospitals who lower both their energy consumption and production of waste could save $15 billion over ten years.
Much of a business’s upkeep costs come from energy consumption.
We spend approximately $60 billion on energy each year by small businesses alone!
You can save money through your office renovation if you include energy-efficiency as one of your redesign goals.
Installing programmable thermostats, double-pane windows, and LED light bulbs can reduce energy expenditure within your office and they are quite budget-friendly to boot.
6. Employee Happiness
Without employees, businesses won’t survive, and without happy employees, most businesses can’t thrive.
Customer happiness is in direct correlation to employee happiness!
The above-mentioned reasons for office renovation will automatically increase employee satisfaction, but that does not mean that you should not include your employees in the process – their feedback is mandatory!
Design preferences, renovation goals, and alternate ideas on how to improve the office are valid employee inputs that will help ensure their acceptance of the new office makeover.
Understand that comfort has become a priority for most employees. They are at the office for 8 hours or more, so you want to do your best to keep them positive and motivated as long as possible.
Changing the office around to suit their preferences is a giant leap in that direction.
Something as simple as supplying furniture suited to their needs (and wants) will go a long way in improving their mental outlook and physical health.
According to a Capital One Work Environment Survey from 2017, employees cited natural light, creative imagery, and comfortable furniture as some of the features they preferred from their work environment.
Note that you can have more than one reason to renovate. In that case, make a priority list to see which reason will be your number one priority.
Office renovation isn’t just about improving the overall look and feel of your office. Quality renovation will also make your office comfortable, motivating, and organized to get the most done in the shortest amount of time possible.
For that, you need a well-planned office layout/design.
There are different designs, and each one has something different to offer. All have their advantages and drawbacks.
Learn about all of them before making a final decision. Only then will you be able to come up with an office layout in line with the goals you have set forth for your company’s workspace.
Types of Office Layouts
Below you will find 5 of the most widely used office layouts along with both their pros and cons to give you a better idea of which one will correlate best with your office needs.
1. Open Office Layout
Typically, open office layouts designs enable each worker to have their own space but also share a larger space with a group of fellow employees.
The aim of an open office layout is to encourage professional relationships and collaboration.
This layout seemed very useful for transparency, communication, and collaboration among employees.
Do open office layouts improve communication, relationships, and productivity or are they just to ‘open’ to get any work done? Is an open design right for your office needs?
- Detractors of this layout have condemned it for being too noisy and loud, thus reducing concentration levels and increasing stress and even resentment among employees.
- Proponents of this layout claim that it increases productivity despite the noiseless environment it offers.
And while there are over 300 papers in 67 journals claiming that open office layouts significantly improve employee productivity, learn about the pros and cons of open office designs to help you get a better idea if this office design is right for your business:
- Communication: Limited physical barriers between employees help increase communication, task management, and workflow.
- Supervision: Open office layouts make it easier to supervise employees as all their workers are ‘out in the open’.
- Reduced Cost: As there is no need to create separate workspaces for employees in an open-office environment, a company can save on office expenses (e.g., lighting and air-conditioning).
- Distractions/Noise: Open offices are a noisier workspace that makes it more difficult for employees to concentrate.
- Privacy Issues: Some employees find the open-office environment uncomfortable and work better when they have their own private workspace.
2. Cellular Office Layout
A cellular office design, the most common of which are cubicle offices, is perhaps the second most popular office layout because of their ability to enhance productivity among employees.
Cellular offices have either individual rooms or cubicles where employees have enough privacy in which to do their work.
Also, cubicles and rooms can be designed to separate teams into sections thus improving organization and structure and reducing office chaos.
A recent survey found that 71.4% of employees in an open office environment felt that the open layout improved their productivity, while 44.2% of employees working in cellular offices felt that this environment improved their work levels.
The following are some pros and cons of a cellular office environment:
- Autonomous Work: Employees who are driven and work better on their own thrive in a cellular environment as they can work uninterrupted more often.
- Privacy/Security: Because of the fully and semi-closed nature of cellular layouts, employees and employers alike can be sure that their workspace will stay organized and safe as no one is allowed to enter or tamper with their documents, papers, and other work material without their permission.
- Focus/Concentration: Employees who deal with more technical and analytical work prefer the ‘closed-quarters’ of cellular offices as they offer fewer distractions and noise, allowing them to focus more clearly on the task at hand.
- Inefficient Space: They require a large space in which to operate – rooms and cubicles must be divided across the entire length and width of the floor and therefore the entire office is dedicated to them.
If you don’t have a lot of room to begin with and do not have the budget to add on to your floor plan, then cellular offices may not be right for you!
- Lack of Communication: Separating the workspace will diminish the quantity and quality of communication among employees. There are still email, memos, and assistants who can deliver messages, but these are not as effective as actual face-to-face interactions.
3. Coworking Office Layout
Coworking offices are one of the latest trends to hit the business world regarding office layouts.
Millennials especially love them as they are cost-effective, provide economy of space, and allow for great networking opportunities.
Within a coworking office, employees can either choose their workspace as needed, or an employer can choose a designated area to perform specific jobs and tasks.
Workspaces are not ‘set in stone’. They often change according to the needs of the worker and the specific requirements of the business.
Coworking workspaces are known for their flexible work environments, comfortable surroundings, and social atmosphere, which is why they are so appealing among the younger workforce of today.
- Networking: Great for businesses that want to have more social activity and brainstorming sessions among their employees and staff members of other businesses. Many new ideas are shared and often breakthrough discoveries are formed thanks to the free flow of information.
- Cost-Effective: Startups and young entrepreneurs with very little capital can easily rent out a coworking environment for a small fee. All the necessary office equipment is provided – desks, photocopiers, whiteboards, and Wi-Fi. No startup capital is needed to have one’s own office.
- Customer/Client Interaction: Businesses who do not have an adequate office space in which to impress their clients with can utilize coworking offices to meet them in, thus branding them as being both professional and trendy at the same time.
- No Privacy: There is zero privacy in a coworking office environment. Even when they do include semi-private workspaces, they are often shared by multiple individuals.
- Little/No Security: This is a real concern, especially for those businesses who keep their client’s personal information and private documents in a cloud server. Having to access public Wi-Fi to upload and retrieve company, customer, and client information leaves it susceptible to hackers.
Takeaway: While renting coworking office spaces may not be considered a typical office renovation, it is a step up from a basement or a garage!
4. Combination Office Layouts
If you would like the benefits of both an open and cellular design, then the combination office layout is right for you.
Instead of using doors and windows to shut off cubicles and semi-closed off spaces, you would replace them with natural office surroundings like tables, desks, couches, chairs, and walkways.
This gives an element of privacy to an environment which fosters collaboration.
- Productivity: Office staff can focus on their work but also move around easily should the need arise to communicate or collaborate with supervisors and fellow employees. The dual nature of both benefits helps to increase employee productivity.
- Communication: There are fewer barriers to contend with, so office departments and teams working in a combination office are much more likely to communicate among each other. This makes them more effective and efficient when compared to an open or cellular workspace.
- Distractions: Combination office layouts are still susceptible to the occasional interruption. Usually, this would be fine for workers who have more semi-automated and mundane tasks, but it could pose a serious issue for those whose job requires a continuous uninterrupted work environment.
- Ambiguous Standards: As open offices separate and partition the staff through semi-private cubicles, it becomes more difficult to maintain a set of office standards.
Often, the benefits of open office spaces and cellular offices are not seen in a combination office as employees become confused as to what the proper office protocol is – should they stay put and keep to themselves or walk around and interact.
5. Team Clusters Layouts
A team cluster design is great for high levels of team interactions. Team cluster office layouts mostly consist of open spaces- work stations – spread over the entire floor.
However, they can also include meeting rooms and separate cubicles where teams can gather to focus on their specific tasks without being bothered by other teams within the organization.
Advertising agencies and corporate companies have a lot of teams that play different roles but who need to interact with one another constantly to complete their assigned projects, so this layout suits them well.
- Collaboration: Work teams can easily share ideas as the entire layout is designed for constant employee communication among employees.
- Cost-Effective: There is no need to continuously build more rooms and different levels as each team within the organization share a common office space, albeit separated into clusters.
- Communication: Various teams focused on different roles within the organization can interact easily and quickly with one another as they are all stationed on the same floor.
- Distractions: There is a tendency for teams to disturb one another, be it through noise or constant interruptions and interjections.
- Lack of Privacy: There are usually no assigned desks given to a specific member of any team, and there is also no privacy. Almost everything is out in the open within a team cluster layout, which means members of one’s team or other teams in the office can view or borrow anything within the office as they see fit.
6. Home Offices
Home offices are not traditional office layouts, but they must be addressed by organizations who either have a work-at-home policy or are thinking of getting one.
Two-thirds of U.S. companies have a remote work policy in place.
You might want to consider ensuring your employees’ home office is well designed so that they can maintain some semblance of an office atmosphere while working remotely.
That is not to say, however, that a certain amount of autonomy should not be given to them in regard to their home-office setup.
Autonomy is one of the main benefits of remote work!
So, what can you do to assure that your remote workers’ home office setup resembles your company’s work environment but allows autonomy too?
While it is impossible to advise on the exact equipment, materials, and software you should have them use – you will be the best judge of that – we do have some basic guidelines which can be followed to help ‘brand’ the company image into their home.
- Natural Lighting: Natural lighting helps with increasing productivity levels. All your employee needs to do is have the desk by the window.
- High-Speed Internet: Having reliable and fast internet access is not a luxury for remote workers but a necessity, so make sure to get a good deal for your remote worker.
- Desk: There are two basic options: traditional or adjustable. With a traditional desk, your employees will be seated while they work. With the adjustable version, they can either sit or stand.
If your main concern is to keep your employees comfortable and healthy, then we suggest going with the adjustable version.
- Office Chairs: If your employee chooses a traditional desk, it should be accompanied by a high-quality ergonomic chair. Such a chair supports the body’s natural shape and helps maintain posture while sitting down.
- Office Space: The ideal home workspace will be far from high-traffic areas and usually has a door to block out noise and distractions. Work-life and home-life should not be mixed.
If your employee needs to meet clients at home, then their home office should be as close to the entrance as possible but still maintain a decent distance from their living area.
- Go Green: If your office space is eco-friendly, you may want to suggest to your employees that they do the same when it comes to their home office.
Eco-friendly home offices tend to have the following features: digital storage (paperless storage), energy-saving light bulbs, and weather-sealed windows to save on electricity.
Home offices and remote work, in general, should not be overlooked. They can provide companies various benefits like higher productivity levels, lower salaries, and a larger talent pool from which to draw upon.
However, if an employee’s home office is not set up properly all these benefits will never be realized, especially in the area of productivity.
Modern Office Design Trends
Comfort and creativity are the demand of the new workforce!
Companies that offer a creative environment and comfortable surroundings tend to have happy, productive, and motivated employees!
With the advent of modern technology and work-life style offices like that of Google Campus, businesses across a variety of industries and sectors have come to realize how important an office atmosphere is to:
- Employee health
- Retention levels
All these are necessary factors in maintaining a competitive advantage over the competition.
Google uses 4 main office features to attract a broad talent pool and encourage creativity: vibrant colors, playful designs, casual seating areas, and in-house cafeterias.
When previewing the following trends, pay close attention to their specific features and what they have to offer:
- Modern Technology
See if any of these modern designs can give you what you need to achieve what you want out of your office renovation.
Many of the office designs of today are intended to bring a ‘fun and hip’ startup-like vibrancy that attracts younger employees.
Some of them even include both activity-based areas intertwined with ‘fun’ zones to create an optimal work-life balance at the office – a feature that is deemed necessary to appease the newer members of the workforce, specifically Millennials and Generation Y.
Lifestyle, interests, and fun activities must be included along with traditional values to suit the needs of Millennials.
The following 3 office design trends promise to increase employee efficiency while at the same time fostering a happy, excited, and comfortable work environment:
1. Flexible Design
Who wants to be stuck in the same place for 8 hours a day?
Most employees don’t, which is exactly why flexible office spaces, where workers can get up and move around to various designated areas, are so popular today.
Some of these designated areas may include:
- Meeting Rooms
- Quiet Spaces
- Recreational Zones
One of the main benefits of having a flexible office is that it can change according to employee tastes.
- Multiple rooms offer different aspects of working environments to suit various employee tastes, positions, and personalities.
- Interchangeable furniture and rooms can easily be reconfigured as employees change and grow.
- Space can be altered as needed with modular furniture and demountable walls to create a work environment that is agreeable to the entire staff.
Flexible office layouts can give your company the ‘flexibility’ it needs to grow as your company grows and changes as your employees change.
2. Biophilic Design
Biophilia refers to the affinity human beings have with the natural world. Therefore, biophilic design refers to the incorporation of natural features within an environment to create beneficial human responses.
As far as employees are concerned, the biophilic design offers the following benefits:
- Mental Health
- Physical Health
As over 99% of human history comprises of human beings adapting to the natural world as opposed to artificial and man-made surroundings, the biophilic design encourages the same positive adaptation from within an office setting.
Biophilic offices typically include the following elements:
- Natural Light
- Organic Colors
- Organic Materials
- Large Windows
Natural elements should not be placed in isolation but throughout the overall setting to connect each employee.
All beings are connected and bound by their environment to form highly-functional ecosystems.
Isolating natural surroundings not only disconnects the entire organism, in this case, an office but can also create dissension and other harmful effects among individual employees.
Do not just place an unrelated and isolated object of nature within a man-made office and consider it a biophilic working environment.
If you are looking to create a stress-free, eco-friendly work environment, then bringing the outside in through biophilic design is the way to go.
3. Free-Range Collaborative Design
Most of the traditional and modern office designs have an element of collaboration intertwined into them and for good reason too – employees work better when they work together!
99% of employees wish to work in offices where they can identify with other employees and discuss relevant issues out in the open.
Now, the collaboration design we are talking about here should not be confused with the traditional co-working spaces where multiple companies come under one roof to perform their jobs.
Today’s collaboration designs go a step further.
They remove all barriers between companies within the shared office environment so that they do not only share the same space but also the same resources and even sometimes the same talent.
Open Collaboration Office designs will usually include at least one of the following:
- Multi-Use Meeting Areas
- Technology Resource Spaces
- Creative Spaces
- Plants (Greenery)
- Glass (Large Windows)
- Portable Wall Dividers
- No Cubicles (Large Portable Desk and Desk Spaces)
- Cafeterias and Coffee/Espresso Bars
Another common feature of the new ‘free-range’ collaboration offices is the insertion of collaborative furniture that can be moved anywhere within the office space to meet current demands.
Some examples of collaborative furniture are as follows:
- Collaborative Work Desks
- Acoustic Pods
- Free-Standing Media Units
- Upholstered Booths
Tech companies and startups often adopt this workspace type but lately established businesses in other industries besides technology have gravitated towards such workspaces.
Many businesses have decided to give open collaboration offices a try because of the success Google has had with its fun and creative collaborative offices.
This is not to say that just because it works for Google, it will automatically work for your business.
However, if you are looking to attract Millennials and the next generation of workers after them (Gen Z), then providing a work environment that encourages collaboration, flexibility, and innovative thinking is a surefire way to achieve this goal.
In other words, think of utilizing (i.e., renting) a free-range work environment or redesign your current office setting to mimic one.
Alternative Approach: Minor Design Changes
Modern office trends are not limited to major renovations. You do not have to change your entire office setup to take advantage of what some of the modern trends have to offer.
Sometimes just adding a few items or moving things around is enough to make your workspace vibrant and alive.
Talking about the relevance and impact of technology within a business environment today is pointless as you are most likely utilizing at least some form of digital device and software within your organization – you wouldn’t be in business if you didn’t at least have a computer!
However, ramping up your office technology and integrating it with your current office setting to help your employees work smarter, better, and faster should be discussed.
Workers today are more productive than they have ever been due to technology.
The modern technological trend in offices is to use more laptops and other moveable digital devices as the work has become more portable due to remote working policies and free-range office collaboration setups.
The ‘portable offices’ of today usually include one or more of the following features:
- Power Outlets
- Wireless Charging Stations
- Video Conferencing Technology
- Smart Boards
- Data Ports
- Portable Presentation Screens
Do not misunderstand what a ‘technological-integrated’ office means though – you do not have to get rid of all the items that made your office an appealing place to work and visit for your employees, customers, and clients.
All you have to do is be sure to add in a few ‘extras’, like the items listed above, to give your office a modern touch that will make it more compatible with the portable nature of work today.
Comfort and Recreation Zones
While recreation and comfort zones are usually part of a big renovation gig, you can set them up without extensive renovations too.
Something as simple as adding a home-style couch in an unused area of your office is enough to give your workers a much-needed break from their monotonous routines and tasks.
This goes for recreational zones as well.
Think of ping pong tables, pool tables, or an arcade station which you can incorporate into an open area inside of your office to give it a ‘hip’ startup feel and attract new lifeblood into your organization.
While work goes on in an office, the exact location where it takes place and how it takes place would define it as activity-based or not.
The actual definition of an activity-based workspace (ABW) falls somewhere between a cubicle office and communal work areas.
Simply stated, activity-based workspaces are areas designed for different tasks giving employees more workspace options.
In the past, employees had a set of standard tasks which they needed to perform on a day-to-day basis. Their daily tasks didn’t change much.
Today’s business environment demands that most employees be dynamic and flexible when it comes to their job requirements.
Open-office plans were a step in the right direction in providing a flexible and dynamic atmosphere which coincided with such requirements.
However, many employees were distracted by the constant noise and movement within these open areas and so the ABW was born.
Activity-based offices keep the collaboration aspect intact but allow employees to maintain some quiet time with themselves or with their team members to focus on their specific projects and tasks.
Did you know: Employees tend to be more engaged when they have more control over their work environment.
If you have a meeting room and some open areas, you could set some desks there along with all the other comfortable and portable office items previously discussed above, so that employees and project team members can all come together and collaborate when needed but also shut the meeting room when they prefer to work alone or collaborate in private with their immediate team members.
How much is the renovation going to cost?
This greatly depends on what you want to achieve from your office renovation, so specifics can vary greatly.
The overall average cost can be broken down into three separate costs, primarily:
- Square Footage
- Professional Contractor Hourly Rates
If you plan on redesigning your office from top to bottom, then it would be a good idea to hire a professional to help you plan and complete your project.
In this case, a contractor would be ideal as they will find the right people for the job, prioritize workload, and provide the materials needed.
- Cost of Materials
This is where a contractor is invaluable – they can arrange the best deals for you when it comes to materials.
Determine the Needs and Wants
You need to take a close look at what you need vs. what you want and focus only on those necessary designs, touch-ups, and items that will help you complete the renovation goals while staying in line with your planned budget.
Always include your core needs within your budget (e.g., items and designs that are necessary to help you complete your renovation goals).
Distinguish your needs from your wants – anything above and beyond what is needed – to reduce renovation costs.
You can put your wants into a ‘wishlist’ and later decide if they can further advance your office goals but only after the basic requirements have been met.
Choose value over price. Quality materials that hold up over time, as well as technological devices that help your office staff work more productively and efficiently are far better investments than cheap and low-quality materials that need to continuously be replaced and outdated hardware and software that no longer suits today’s current business standards.
The value may cost more upfront but will save you a lot of money, time, and energy later down the road.
Set aside at least 10% of your expected renovation costs for unexpected expenditures.
Once you have a goal, a chosen office design to accomplish that goal, and a contractor to come up with a realistic estimated overall cost for the project, you can head back and look at any ‘extras’ that might fit into the budget.
For example, if you need an open office but also want an aesthetically pleasing design to go with it, go with the basic office space redesign first and later down the road decide if the aesthetic touch-ups are needed to further enhance your business goals.
It is all about balancing your vision and your budget and seeing how they both coincide with the actual office space you are choosing to renovate.
To help you come up with an ideal trade-off between budget and vision, try doing the following:
Eco-friendly renovations can be inexpensive and can the same productivity and employee motivation as other more expensive office renovation plans.
Sunshine does not cost anything, and plants are relatively inexpensive.
Updating your office space with modern technology can increase your up-front renovation costs but simultaneously add huge benefits to your business such as providing an eco-friendlier environment (e.g., paperless office) and creating a vibrant, forward-looking atmosphere within your organization.
Limiting private areas and spaces to specific job positions like management and accounting can help cut renovation costs.
If possible, try to provide some communal areas with lots of open space for enhanced collaboration.
Using open communal areas near windows are an inexpensive way to increase employee satisfaction and foster collaboration at the same time.
If your budget allows, consult with both an interior designer and contractor to get advice on how you can use inexpensive items in your office like color, seating, and lighting to increase productivity and positivity.
Such items cost much less than creating more rooms, using expensive pieces of furniture, and purchasing high-cost paintings to achieve the same results.
While the above tips will guide you along the path to creating a more cost-effective design plan and budget, you should expect some unanticipated expenses to surface during the renovation process.
Always evaluate your renovation ideas and compare them with your budget to see if you have any ‘wiggle room’ in case some unexpected expenditures should surface.
Downtime and Employee Involvement
Minimizing downtime during an office renovation is key to keeping your employees motivated, happy, and on schedule.
If you do not plan for downtime during your office renovation, it could end up costing you a lot of money.
In a survey performed by research and consulting firm, ITIC, it was found that the average cost of downtime among 98% of businesses exceeded $100,000.
If you are planning on keeping the office running in full swing during the renovation period, the following tips will help you minimize downtime, maintain productivity levels, and secure employee’s happiness and satisfaction throughout the entire process.
Employee Activity and Involvement
Let your employees know of the upcoming renovation. This will help keep an open and transparent atmosphere within the office and reduce confusion among your workers.
Hold regular staff meetings before the renovation begins discussing both the impact the renovation will have on the work schedule and plans for securing productivity during the entire process.
Discussions may include the reasons and benefits of the renovation, the expected start and end date, and office relocation measures if any.
Gather feedback about the upcoming renovation from your employees so that you can work out a plan that is conducive to management, staff, and your renovation team that may be working during office hours.
Remind workers of your renovation goals and how it will positively impact the company’s vision, as share regular updates so they can see the progress of the work for themselves and judge it accordingly.
Postponing the Office Renovation
If there are any time-sensitive projects, deals, or business plans that must be completed during your planned renovation period, either consider postponing them or the renovation itself to a less busy time of the year.
Postponing your office renovation project until you reach a business lull or during a construction off-season will increase the likelihood of getting cheaper labor rates.
However, if you absolutely must begin your renovation during a busy period, then at least consider performing it in phases instead of all at once to decrease the chances of an extended downtime within your company.
Safe and Clean Work Environment
Never put the renovation ahead of employee safety.
Failing to secure a safe and organized environment at work is a surefire way to court accidents and increase the likelihood of downtime due to injuries and low employee morale.
Put up cautionary signs alerting employees, clients, and customers of any potentially hazardous areas.
Talk to your contractor and design team about the importance of maintaining a tidy workspace. Make sure that they have a daily and regular clean-up schedule planned while they are working within your office space.
Office Relocation and Tech Solutions
Relocating employee workspace is often necessary during an office renovation, especially if the work is being done on the current workspace itself.
You do not, however, have to relocate to another office or a coworking office per se if that is not feasible for your budget or specific situation.
You can simply move to an open and empty area of the office or another floor within the building that is not currently being used.
While this may not be an ideal situation as it tends to ‘cramp’ everyone’s style and disrupt habitual office tendencies, it may be the only solution if you are on a tight budget.
There are other options you can choose from, however, but they too will depend on your specific situation and relocation goals.
If you already have a remote-work policy set in place, then temporarily allowing office staff to work from home could be an ideal situation. Just be sure that they already have the needed technology to work remotely or that you are to supply them with it without breaking the bank.
Moving to a coworking office space is another option you may want to consider but only if your budget allows for it and you have a group of employees who have a ‘start-up’ mentality and don’t mind cohabitating and collaborating with other workers from other organizations.
If moving out of the office is not a possibility, then consider using move management software as it allows offices undergoing redesigns to unite with other departments through a single server to reduce employee confusion and minimize management workload.
More specifically, the software will allow you to coordinate moves to different floors or locations within your office or building, facilitate team planning, and generate tasks based on current requirements even when teams and individual employees are split up.
Even if your employees seem to be happy with the new renovation, you need to understand that they will require some time to get used to the changes.
This is especially important to keep in mind if any new technology was implemented during the redesign.
The following tips will help you cut down on the stress that usually comes along with changing the status quo.
Often, employees are too scared to come out and express their anxieties and confusion about recent changes at the office. Therefore, try to notice any negative behavior that they may be expressing through their actions while working.
This goes for any positive expressions as well. Encourage them to come to you with any problems they may be facing with the new office environment and assure them that their feedback will be heeded.
You should still try to fix any problems they may be having as quick as possible so that they can gain confidence as to the role they will play within the new work environment.
If any of their problems concerning the new office space are beyond your scope or grasp, then do not promise them a solution unless you are certain you can deliver one.
Create training and tutorials regarding the new office space and new technology based on their feedback.
Doing so will give them a new set of skills that will not only help them become accustomed to the new work environment but also in advancing their careers.
Ask your staff questions regarding the new technology that was implemented as part of the renovation. Help them weigh the benefits brought about by the new tech against their concerns for it so that they become more confident in the possibilities it will offer them down the road.
Don’t just tell your staff about the benefits of the new office technology and what it can do; show them!
Nothing cuts down the technological learning curve like seeing it in action. What is more, your staff will gain confidence in the fact that you and the rest of the management team have the knowledge and expertise to guide them through the reorientation process.
Provide your staff with documents listing guidelines, policies, and a set of best practices regarding the new office environment as well as any new technology therein. This will help to reduce any confusion or ambiguity they may be facing due to these changes.
In the end, gauging the success of your office renovation all comes down to the cost to reward ratio it offers, as well as employee satisfaction.
Using the above guidelines and tips listed out in this section will help you minimize downtime and help your employees quickly become comfortable with the new office space.
Determining the reason behind your wish to renovate your office is the first step in coming up with a design that supports your business goals.
Once you know why the rest of the journey will be clearer. There might be some bumps in the road ahead, but you can overcome those easily with a little bit of extra money on the side for such cases.
We wish you the best of luck with your office renovation and hope that you receive all the wonderful benefits that come along with a new and improved office space.