7 Things to Keep in Mind When Considering an Office Renovation
If you’re planning an office renovation, you likely already know it can be a pretty significant undertaking.
There will be a huge number of small decisions to make about material choice and design. New office equipment can be costly, and major redesigns sometimes require modifications to wiring, plumbing or vents. At the same time, renovation also presents a big opportunity to refresh the office’s design, replace old equipment and upgrade building systems.
With the right planning, you can prepare yourself for the challenges of renovation — and be ready for the new possibilities it opens up. Here are seven things that any business should keep in mind when renovating its office.
1. Functionality and Comfort
When planning your renovation, take the opportunity to consider modern office design strategies, ergonomic equipment upgrades and a floor plan that encourages collaboration.
Some popular design trends have fallen out of favor. Open offices, for example, are out. Most research shows that this configuration makes it harder for employees to concentrate on both individual and collaborative work. However, you will still want spaces for collaboration and team communication. Adding rooms dedicated to breakout sessions can help balance the need for private and public spaces.
You can also use renovation as an opportunity to optimize your office lighting, humidity and temperature for maximum comfort.
2. Moving Building Systems Can Be Costly
Certain office and building systems may work perfectly fine. However, you may be tempted to revamp them while you’re working on everything else.
Upgrades to existing systems — plumbing, electricity and HVAC — are a great idea. Moving them around, however, can get expensive and messy quickly. Doing this may probably require assistance from specialized contractors.
If you want to tear down office walls, you may need to reroute pipes, vents and wiring, which can add significant time and expense to your renovation. Where possible, look for ways to achieve your design goals without moving around existing systems. Identifying the ones you won’t need to touch can also help you avoid unnecessary expenses and keep your renovation budget reasonable.
3. Corrosion and Material Wear and Tear
Every material will wear down over time. Some will go faster than others. You’ll want to consider how well surfaces, fencing and office appliances will stand up to regular use, especially if they’re located outside. Special attention is also needed in areas that are more likely to be exposed to spills and corrosive liquids — like kitchens, tables and eating areas.
With the right planning, you can slow down wear and tear as much as possible. Protective coatings and good material choice can help reduce corrosion — which, over time, can break down surfaces and appliances. Sturdy, waterproof materials — like granite, laminate and finished wood — can be used to create long-lasting kitchen surfaces.
An office renovation is a great opportunity to go green. Fluorescent office lights can be swapped out for energy-efficient LEDs. Older HVAC system components can be replaced with newer filters and parts. With these changes, you can easily reduce the amount of energy your office uses — saving money and cutting back on your business’s carbon footprint.
If you own your office building, you may even be able to benefit from certain certifications — like LEED — with the right sustainable changes in place. They make your company more appealing to customers who take sustainability seriously — and can also boost the value of your property if you plan on selling in the future.
5. Finding the Right Contractor May Take Time
A good contractor will walk you through the renovation process. They’ll probably have a lot of advice to offer about optimizing your office space and making things run as smoothly as possible.
It’s rarely a good idea to jump at the first contractor you find. Instead, you should look for someone who has experience with office renovations — preferably on a project that’s similar to what you have in mind. If possible, field recommendations from other business owners who have hired contractors. Once you’ve selected one, look for reviews and testimonies from other companies.
Often, the goal of an office renovation is to boost productivity by making it more comfortable to work in. Some elements, however, may harm employee productivity, even with all the right precautions in place. For this reason, most offices tackle renovations with multiphase, stepped plans and will renovate certain sections of the office at a time.
Even with a phased renovation plan, you’ll probably still have to deal with dust and noise that make working difficult at some points in the process. A realistic timeline will not only help you keep your renovation costs under control, but it will also help you manage these hits to productivity.
7. Your Employees Probably Have Ideas
Your employees likely have ideas about how the office can be improved. Fielding advice when you start planning renovations can give you a wide range of opinions about what needs to be done in your office. Worker feedback can help you pinpoint the most urgently needed changes.
Employees may request new equipment like standing desks or have recommendations for more ergonomic office chairs and equipment. Take these requests seriously and consider implementing them where reasonable. Often, they can result in big improvements to employee comfort and productivity.
Planning a Successful Office Renovation
Office renovations can be a lot of work — and they also present some serious challenges. You’ll want to consider the different aspects that can bloat your project’s timeline and budget. Wall demolition that requires moving wiring or plumbing, for example, can easily extend a project’s timeline.
You should also take advantage of the opportunities a renovation presents. Overhauling your office will give you a chance to upgrade building systems, switch to ergonomic office equipment and add spaces for employee collaboration. All this can boost morale and productivity, making all those changes well worth it.
Lexie is a digital nomad and graphic designer. If she’s not traveling to various parts of the country, you can find her at the local flea markets or hiking with her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.