What you need to consider during an office refurb

As businesses in the UK expand, many offices across the country are experiencing the benefits of a favorable office refurbishment. Whether your office has aged over time in terms of practicality or simply looks a little tired, investing in an office revamp can optimise business performance, profitability as well as boost employee morale. Although your business will consequently benefit from a new workspace, the short-term disruption will involve a number of factors that will need to be considered. Efficient planning and project management is essential, and could even reveal space that you didn’t know you even had.

PLANNING YOUR PROJECT

Knowing where to begin with regards to an office refurbishment can always seem a little daunting. Factors such as: pricing, timing, identifying stakeholders and, of course, whether it will cause disruption all need to be considered. It is important to firstly identify the reasons why you are moving or deciding to refurbish your office space. Whether your office is in need of an expansion, an upgrade of facilities, or to simply improve its image for prospective clients– identifying the main reasons for “why” at the preliminary stage can help plan “what” needs to be done and at what timescale.

Effective project management will considerably benefit any refurbishment or move and especially minimise disruption. Evaluating and weighing up the costs needs to take place at the beginning of any project to ensure that you don’t go over the budget, while deciding upon a reasonable deadline. Key decision-making will prevent any delays, which would not only cause further disruption to business performance, but also fail to fulfill employee expectations. During the planning stages of the refurbishment, it is important to consider where you would like your business to be in a few years and whether your new office space would be able to adapt to any future changes.

WHO IS INVOLVED

Having decided what needs to be done, who your suppliers and stakeholders are and having set a realistic finish-date, to ensure that minimal disruption takes place during the refurbishment it is important to designate a suitable individual to make sure that plans stay on track. This person needs to have the authority to make key decisions, is highly organised, knows and understands the business and has good communication skills – particularly when involving other members of importance within the company. It is also important that you communicate all changes that directly affect members of staff with them. Not only must you do this because of law, but involving staff could inspire innovative ways to get everyone involved and for them to communicate any ideas that they may have with regards to office changes. If you’re relocating to a different office space, both the movement of equipment and people requires effective management.

WHAT NEEDS TO BE ENSURED DURING THE PROJECT

Before works take place, it would be advised to ensure that the following have been discussed, to minimise disruption:

• Which items are of higher importance and need to be ordered within the set timeframe to have them delivered and assembled
• That calendars have been synchronised to avoid potential difficulties when signing for items when senior members are out of the office
• How much work can be done during office hours and out of hours
• How many people need to be accommodated for
• What spaces are desired – these may include calculating the capacity and sizes for the following: reception area, meeting rooms, dining and kitchen area etc.
• Whether current air conditioning, heating, lighting and ventilation systems comply with health and safety measures or need updating
• Whether facilities after the refurbishment/at the new office will support existing IT and telephone systems

Whilst work is going on, to ensure that an efficient refurbishment takes place, it would be advised for the following to take place:

• Weekly site meetings
• Have a sign off procedure for any changes that may arise
• Take photos to keep record
• Ensure that all staff are informed of all changes

HEALTH AND SAFETY & DISPOSAL OF WASTE

With any office refurbishment, or even move, it is of high importance to ensure that all procedures coincide with health and safety measures. Sometimes it may not be practical for workers to continue using their workplace if refurbishment is taking place. Not only could it be potentially dangerous in some instance, but also the noise of work taking place and workmen will undoubtedly cause a distraction. In some circumstances, it may be worth considering renting a temporary alternative office space to ensure business performance stays on track and isn’t disrupted. This, of course, would have to be decided at the initial planning stages because although it may be quite impractical and expensive to move temporarily, it may have long-term benefit.

Having consulted contractors and suppliers, experts here at Workspace will be able to provide you with advice of when, for example, the best time to carry out refurbishment would be. It would be recommended to hire a contractor with an in-house health and safety team. This will ensure that during the refurbishment/move, all proceedings comply with health and safety obligations under the CDM Regulations. Relocating offices or having a refurbishment is also the ideal time to de-clutter and dispose of any unnecessary items. To further avoid disruption, sufficient waste and recycling facilities’ must be present. Planning prior-collection of waste is also advised so as to avoid additional wasted space in the office during the refurbishment, which would cause additional disruption.

CONSIDERATIONS

It is important to be aware that, even with quality project management, sometimes refurbishments or office relocations do not go to plan. Having spent vast amounts of money, the last thing you want is to return to find that expectations have not been met and your new, dream office is nothing but a mess with a bad paint-job, uneven flooring and safety hazards left, right and centre. It would be advisable to use the reputable contractors and professional assistance of Workspace, to manage your refurbishment, so as to avoid such mishaps.

If you would like to find out more about office refurbishments or relocations, then check out our case studies. Don’t hesitate to contact us for further information, or to get started on your own office refurbishment.