Ultimate guide to planning a new office

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Refitting or relocating your office will always have a notable impact on your organisation. In order to ensure the effect on your business is a positive one, it is vital to know not just what you hope the end result will be, but also why your company is making each change in the first place. Having a clear picture of both factors is a critical component in preparing to create your new workplace.

Start with noting the key reasons for the refit or relocation to inform your decisions when it comes to the design, location and size of your new office.

These are some of the most common drivers for change:

  • Changing workflow or work methods
  • Changing work culture
  • Improving morale and productivity
  • New or upgraded facilities
  • Expansion
  • Acquisition or merger
  • Contraction or restructuring
  • Improving image with clients

Budgeting the project

It is typical for businesses to build and review a budget for their project potentially several times before settling on an acceptable cost and scope. Your budget should at a minimum include all of the following costs:

  • Design and fitout costs
  • Furniture
  • Security
  • IT infrastructure
  • Environmental assessment
  • Fire assessment and countermeasures
  • Energy performance
  • Waste
  • Tax
  • Personnel costs
  • Contingencies for unforeseen costs

Scheduling the project

Creating a detailed timeline is vital to ensuring enough time for each stage of the project to be completed with minimum disruption to staff and clients. Your timeline will depend heavily on your building requirements, lease terms and other factors.

Most workplace redesign projects are staged something like this:

Stage 1: Workplace Strategy

  • Address key drivers
  • Assess current and potential locations
  • Develop concept
  • Review feasibility

Stage 2: Development

  • Design development
  • Technical development
  • Contract negotiation

Stage 3: Delivery

  • Sign fitout contracts
  • Make good on existing locations
  • On-site fitout and project completion

Establishing a clear plan for your project’s timeline will allow you to plan for an accurate completion date estimate and reduce the risk of facing delays.

Understand your spatial needs

Creating a new office environment is the perfect opportunity to enhance your company culture by incorporating this goal into your project planning, as well as the spatial requirements of your desired workflow.

Collaborate with your marketing and HR teams, who will typically managing the effect of changes on your staff and clients to:

  • Assess and adjust your brand and culture strategy
  • Decide on the core culture and brand concepts you want your work environment to communicate
  • Understand and prepare for the opportunities and risks involved
  • Consult with your employees to ensure they will benefit from the changes and feel involved in the process
  • Identify key areas where your work environment is not reflecting your culture and values, and focus on these points in your new design

Remember to also consider your company’s needs in terms of meeting rooms and collaboration areas as well as break areas, amenities and storage.

Meeting your tech needs

Technology is a core component of every modern organisation. Your IT systems are essential to the smooth operation of processes across every aspect of your business. Accordingly, identifying and addressing your technology needs should be part of the early planning stages of the project.

Some key points to consider:

  • The best person to manage the technology side of your refurbishment
  • Power outlets, network connections and wifi
  • Power source and back-up power
  • Secure and capable server rooms
  • Inventory storage
  • Data management
  • Recovery and crisis plans
  • Locations for printers and other machinery
  • Service and support

Setting up your new workplace with the right technology means connecting your proposed solutions to your business objectives, and assessing the gap between your current and ideal environment.

Reducing your carbon footprint

A sustainable approach to your workplace offers a number of direct benefits to your organisation as well as looking out for the planet:

  • Reduction in operation costs
  • Attracting the new generation of staff, who value sustainability
  • Increased job satisfaction and productivity
  • Improved internal and external reputation

Think about these factors to improve the sustainability of your workplace:

  • Use natural light and smart temperature control systems to reduce energy costs
  • Build with energy efficient materials
  • Move towards paperless processes and workflow
  • Incorporate recycling areas into the layout

Choosing a location

It is essential to conduct a property evaluation to confirm that your location supports your current and future needs and also that the lease agreement is in your interests. If you are not planning on relocation it is especially important to analyse the limitations of your current location.

Here are some key factors to consider when evaluating a location:

  • Efficiency of floor space
  • Sustainability and eco-rating
  • Public transport and parking
  • Quality and capacity of building services
  • Surveys of utilities and services
  • Accessibility
  • Conforming to building regulations
  • Corporate presence
  • Local amenities

 

Thinking about moving location or redesigning your office, but not sure where to begin? Get in touch with us and we’ll talk you through it.

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