The world doesn’t stay still for very long. You think you have the most up-to-date technology, and suddenly a new model comes out and you’re left behind. The same can be said for office design. One minute you think you have the most up to date, high tech, and productive office, and then you see another model and think that one is far better – we’re never happy! You could employ the most talented office furniture designer, but without careful consideration, you’ll still be far behind after a few years.
The thing is, if you want to get the most out of your business, if you want to achieve growth and higher profits, then you need to invest a little cash at the start. The design of your office is about so much more than where your employees sit and how many desks you can fit inside your four walls. Office design is about getting the most out of the space you have, ensuring that the furniture and space is comfortable and functional, and also maintaining health and safety throughout. Designing an office is no easy task, and it is something which many businesses don’t dedicate enough time to.
Why is this so important? One word – productivity.
Let’s Talk Productivity
There is one thing you need to keep close to the front of your mind at all times when running a business – how productive you are and whether you can improve it. The reason is because productivity directly equates to profits, and that’s what a company is all about!
Productivity is, at is very core, how much work is done by your employees, and how successful you are sales-wise. It is also about new ideas and problem solving. Put simply, the more time wasted because of a poorly designed office, making use of poor office furniture suppliers, and staff who are lacking in morale, the lower productivity, the less satisfied your customers, and the lower your profits.
That sounds complicated, but it’s true! What does that mean in the end? Customers will go to your competitors instead of you, word gets around, you lose profits, and you could, in the worst case scenario, be facing severe financial trouble in the face.
You might be wondering why we’re talking about productivity and sales in an article which is very clearly about renovating an office.
The reason is because how productive your office is comes down to how well it functions on a day to day basis. If your office is old, everything is falling apart, furniture isn’t comfortable, your staff all have aches and pains from sitting in odd positions, and the whole space is dark and somewhat lacking in mood, how can you expect to be productive?
Even an office which is on the average side of the scale could probably improve in many areas. These areas could bring a huge boost to your productivity levels. Employees want to work in offices which are sleek, bright, inspiring, and comfortable above everything else. When your employees have this type of environment, they will be more inclined to work harder for you, they will want to be at work, and the entire morale level of your office will be rocketing. Morale means productivity, productivity means profits.
The average employee working full time spends around one third of their life at work. Wouldn’t you want to spend that time somewhere inspiring and bright, rather than somewhere dark and negative?
What is a Renovation, And Why Should You Consider it?
This brings us onto the main subject at hand – office renovation. We’ve established that your employees want to work somewhere inspiring and sleek, but what if your current office set up is far from that, or at least needs a little work? A renovation could be the answer.
Now before you panic and think that a renovation is going to cost thousands, that doesn’t have to be the case. This article is going to talk about all the ways you can renovate, many of which aren’t going to cost you as much as you think. Regardless, productivity is worth investing in. You can easily find many discount contemporary office furniture choices if you simply look!
The 2017 Skills and Employment Survey showed that employees in Britain are currently working harder and quicker than they ever have before, but that their productivity levels are static. One reason for that could be down to the design of the office they work in.
How can you be productive if you’re uncomfortable and half the equipment you need is over the other side of the room? Just a few changes could be all it takes.
So, why should you think about office renovation when you know it is going to cost money? We’ve covered it already.
Making changes to your office space will make it easier for your staff to work to their potential, and when your employees are meeting their potential, great things happen.
Morale is something you should never take for granted or belittle – the higher the morale in your office space, the more people want to work for you, the more work they will do, the longer they will work, and the higher quality work they will produce. Ideas will be innovative, problem solving will be creative, and it all adds up to a positive environment buzzing with new possibilities.
Studies have shown that 80% of employees would happily work more hours during a day for an employer who was empathic.
That means that if you listen to your staff and give them what they need, they will do the same for you.
Another plus point of having an office renovation is creating a great first impression to customers and clients. If your office looks old and in need of a change, it doesn’t create the best impression of you as a business. If however your office space is new and sleek, anyone walking into that space will have a fantastic first impression and therefore think the same thing about the work that you do.
Again, more sales, more profits!
Can You Continue to Work During a Renovation?
One of the biggest questions most people ask when the subject of renovation comes up is whether or not you can continue to work in your office space during a renovation. That totally depends on the size of the renovation going on. If work is going to be difficult, e.g. too much noise and dust, then it is far better for your staff to work in another space until the work is finished. This will also ensure that your contractors and decorators have an easier and clutter-free space to work in, meaning your renovation will be completed far sooner.
A few suggestions could include co-working spaces, shared offices, mobile office spaces, or allowing staff to work remotely during this time.
If however the renovation is minimal, e.g. just redecorating the walls and changing the furniture, then it is perfectly acceptable for staff to remain in the space. Painting could be done at the weekends, which would minimise disruption.
Don’t worry – nobody is expecting you to close business during a renovation, it simply means you need to be a little creative and think outside the box for a short while! The results are more than worth it, after all.
The Pro's And Con's of Office Renovation
Before you make any type of decision about office renovation, it’s important that you know the pros and cons. Every business decision has an upside and a downside, so let’s explore in this case.
Pro's of Office Renovations
- Replacing old furniture which may be broken or not working to its maximum capacity
- Freeing up floor space and therefore increasing health and safety levels
- Boosting morale throughout your workforce, by creating a new and innovative space
- You can make use of new technology, which may increase productivity, such as a conference table with power
- There is a direct link between health and wellbeing and attractive and well-thought out office spaces
- The ideal opportunity to declutter and get rid of items you no longer need, also boosting productivity
- Creates a fantastic first impression for visitors to your space, and may help to attract passing trade as a result
- Helps to create a company identity
- Happier employees means better results and more profits!
- A sleek and productive office will retain staff and also attract new talent
- Replacing old furniture with new, supportive options helps to cut down on the number of lost working days through sickness, with lower back pain being one of the most common
Con's of Office Renovations
- The cost – an office renovation is not without cost, but it will be an investment over time
- Depending upon the size of the renovation, you may not be able to work in the space whilst the renovation work is going on
- Not all staff may approve of your changes – some members of staff may prefer ‘the old way
- There is also a time factor to take into account whilst making decisions and designing the new layout, and we all know that time also equals money
As you can see, there are far more benefits!
Money Issues – How to Afford a Renovation
The number one reason why many businesses decide not to go down the office renovation route is certainly to do with money.
As we’ve already address, an office renovation is going to cost money, but you can control the amount to some degree.
There are also some other ways you can cut costs. Let’s look into a few.
- Nice office furniture doesn’t have to cost the Earth – You can easily find high quality office furniture choices, such as a cheap reception desk, which don’t look shabby. It’s about shopping around and finding the best deals on the items you need.
- Second hand furniture is an option – You could also look into second hand furniture if buying new isn’t really that realistic for your business right now. This will save you money and also time, as you will probably be able to have it delivered far faster than from a manufacturer. Look into second hand executive desks as a big money saver. Provided what you’re looking at is supportive and quality, it doesn’t matter whether it is first or second hand.
- Consider renovating your existing furniture – If you have stylish office furniture already, and it’s simply the space which needs a change, you can renovate the furniture you already have. For instance, paint desks a different colour!
- Renovation doesn’t have to be total – You don’t have to go around knocking walls around, your renovation could simply be changing the decor. In that case you can save cash and still achieve a contemporary office environment.
- Have a budget and stick to it – By having a budget, you’re far less likely to spend too much.
- Shop around for decorative items – You can buy plants and artwork very easily and cheaply, and these make a huge difference to your office space!
Key Areas to Consider When Renovating Your Office
Hopefully by this point you’ll be totally sold on the idea of renovating your office! It’s a great idea and one which will certainly bring you many positive effects quite quickly. What you do need however is a plan.
It’s no good going into a project such as this and not knowing where to start or what you want to change. How about consulting with your employees and asking what they think about it? They might have some ideas that you haven’t thought of, and after all, they’re the ones that are going to be using the space most! This is also a great way to boost morale, because by consulting with your employees on big decisions such as this, you’re showing them that you care about what they think and that you care about the environment you want them to work.
So, what are the things you need to think about when renovating your office space and beyond? In this section we’ll give you a checklist, and we’ll then go on to talk about each sub-section in more detail.
- Corporate furniture – What you can keep and what you want to replace
- Your break areas, e.g. breakout areas, the canteen, etc.
- Your reception area
- Conference room/boardroom
- Decorative items, e.g. artwork and plants
- The colour of the walls and general colour theme – Remember that colours affect mood!
- The general layout of the office – Are you going to keep it the same or do you want to knock down walls? Are you going to install a new hot desking system or have different zones within the space?
These are the main categories you need to think about, and from there you can make a list of what you want to change, what you’re happy to keep, and what you might like to simply tweak a little. Is it best to do your renovation all at once or in baby steps?
That totally depends upon the type of renovation you want to do. You can’t leave half the office without furniture and the other with brand new for six months, until you can afford the other half! Similarly, you can’t leave a wall knocked down and nothing else happening, purely for health and safety reasons.
It’s best to have a renovation plan that you can execute fairly quickly, with minimal disruption to your daily activities, e.g. business.
As before, you could also think about moving your employees out of the office for a short time (ideally no more than two weeks or so), until the work is done. When they return, they’ll be ready and raring to work in the new space!
One thing you need to consider is whether you’re going to replace your existing business furniture, or whether you’re going to recycle, or maybe renovate it yourself. This isn’t just the general desks and chairs within the office space, but also the conference tables and reception area furniture too.
You can make this decision after you have decided on your new layout. Perhaps you want to change everything and have zones within your workspace. This means that collaborative work can be done, e.g. in a breakout area, which is decorated with comfortable office breakout furniture, and then have quiet zones where more concentrated work can be done. Maybe you want to have a hot desking system in place. There are many different methods of working you can use these days, and it’s about making the right choice for your employees and business overall. Once you’ve done that, you can decide how much new furniture, if any, you need to buy.
If you’re looking to redesign your meeting rooms, how about considering new technology at the same time? This will make brainstorming sessions far easier and more productive, and you can communicate with remote workers via video calls in this way too. How about a boardroom table with cable management, flat screens on the walls, or a foldable boardroom table if you want to optimise space?
There are many options you can look into, and all of them will create a new and stylish space for your employees to be able to do their work in a more comfortable and supportive manner. Old furniture is certainly not going to be as supportive to the neck and back as newer models, especially if you go for ergonomic choices. Think about the new furniture choices you’d like to incorporate and move forwards from there.
Practicalities – Lighting, Flooring, And All That Jazz
The practicalities of an office have to be addressed quite early on. There is a lot of benefit to be had by looking at the lighting and ventilation in your current office and seeing if you can improve it. Studies have shown that workers who have access to natural light via windows sleep better at night, by about 46 minutes every evening. We all know that sleep is vital to overall health and wellbeing, and it is certainly vital to focus and concentration in the workplace, with less mistakes made.
It is also important to think about temperature, either via air conditioning or heating. It really depends on where your office is located and whether it is a hot or cold office naturally. By creating an ideal middle ground in terms of temperature and ventilation, you will increase the health and wellbeing of your employees, creating a more comfortable space.
You also need to think about flooring. Laminate floor types are far easier to clean than carpets, and it can be easier for office furniture, e.g. chairs which have wheels. Despite that, carpets are also a very warm and noise-absorbing way to decorate your floor spaces. Laminate floors reflect the light, but if you go for a light-coloured carpet, you will get roughly the same effect. Of course, you do have the cleaning issue to think about! If you consult with office space planners about flooring, you’ll be given several options and you can choose from there.
If you have a large office, you could also think about installing acoustic panels. This is a good idea to absorb extra noise, and also if you have a space which is quite naturally echoey. These types of panels are linked with productivity because they allow people to concentrate far better than having noise coming at them from all directions! These can be colourful and stand-alone, giving your office decor another dimension, or they can be wall-mounted. There are many options, and it’s really about finding a choice which works for the design of your new space, and the work that is going to go on there.
Soundproofing a meeting room is a great idea also. This means that important discussions can go on without disruption, and anything confidential which is being discussed can remain that way, without worries about anyone overhearing. You can easily incorporate this if you’re looking to renovate with new meeting room furniture too.
Decor And Layout
In terms of making an office space look different, it really hinges heavily on decor. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that colour can influence mood, and if you want to have a space which is calm and productive, you need to think about colours from the get-go.
You also need to think about whether you want to incorporate artwork, as this has also been found to be quite inspiring, especially if you are aiming to have a collaborative, idea-sharing space.
In terms of decor, a few possible colours and their associated keywords are:
- Blues and greens – Calmness, creativity, tranquil, stress reduction
- Yellow – Creativity, emotions, balance, stress reduction
- Black and white – Seriousness, calmness, concentration
- Red – Passion, fire, creativity
- Purple –Balance, calmness, creativity
Nature is a big theme in office design, and because there is such a huge link between nature and stress reduction, this is certainly something you might like to incorporate too. Studies have shown that interacting with plants, e.g house plants, can reduce stress.
We all know how big a deal stress in the workplace is, and how many lost days businesses suffer every year due to stress-related illnesses. In this case, perhaps the odd plant here and there is a good thing? Clearing the window spaces to allow for a natural view is also a good idea – if you do have a good view outside of your window, that is! If not, think about attractive office furnishings to bring a sense of style to your walls.
In terms of layout, one of the newest office design ideas is to have zones. We’ve already touched upon this, e.g. a collaborative zone, perhaps with modular breakout furniture, and quiet zones. This allows brainstorming work to go on freely, but it also means that members of staff who have quieter work to do, e.g. focusing on figures and data, can get on with their work too. Acoustic panels are a great idea here, as they will absorb the extra noise and allow different types of work to be done, without one interfering with the other. Booth seating is also a good choice in these types of zones, or maybe office desk pods for quieter work and concentration.
Many businesses choose to have their breakout areas, e.g. break areas away from the office space, however some site them at the back of the office too. It really depends on the amount of space you have to play with. You can add in some stylish office furniture to create a calming atmosphere, ideal for staff to head to if they need five minutes’ break, or time out from a stressful task.
Where you place your desks in general is also something to think about. If you have too many modern office desks in the middle of the room, you need to think about how you’re going to connect electrical appliances. Obviously you can’t have cables trailing along the floor, so perhaps having desks along the walls, or corner desks is something to consider.
We can’t give you hard and fast advice on layout because every single office is a different shape and size. Some offices are large and square, which makes it far easier to plan space and where to put things. Some offices are narrow and long, which creates an issue in terms of width, but making use of corners and underneath windows is an option there. Some offices are a completely random shape altogether, and in that case it’s almost like putting together a jigsaw! By looking at your space carefully, you can make firm decisions on how to improve it for your employees.
Do you need to knock down walls? Not if you really don’t want to; perhaps you can’t anyway! If you’re renting office space, you can’t go around knocking walls down without permission! If you do own the space, this is something you could think about, but only if it was really necessary. The time and cost impact of a renovation involving building and construction work is obviously going to far higher than one which focuses on layout and decor. If you do want to go down this route however, be sure to get plentiful quotes from building companies and find one which has a very strong reputation. We have all heard stories about jobs which were started and never finished, and by doing your research before you make a decision, you can avoid that happening to your business.
An office renovation might seem like a rather large project to undertake at first, and we’re not going to lie, in so many ways it is.
What we do want to point out however is that the time and cost is worth it, provided you get it right.
Careful planning, shopping around, getting help and advice from quality office space designers, and understanding what makes a productive office, will serve you well. You can cut costs where you need to, but never cut corners when it comes to quality.
The office of the future may be some way off in terms of robots and super-productive technology, but the modern day office is a comfortable, functional, attractive, and productive space for employees to work in, and this is far easier to achieve than you might think.
Do you need designer price tags when it comes to your office furniture and design? Not necessarily, but in terms of support (ergonomics especially), you do get what you pay for. Again, it’s about shopping around and knowing what your budget is. If you can avoid overspending, you’ll be able to quickly create a space which your employees want to work in, which makes them excited to come to work every morning. If you can do that, you’ll find that morale is on a high, ideas are flowing, people are smiling, customers are happy, and profits are certainly on the rise.
When you put it that way, surely an office renovation is something every business should be considering from time to time?
Thank you for reading!