Undertaking an office refurbishment is an exciting time – but there is a lot to think about! Maybe your design is looking dated, or perhaps you need more desk space and less meeting rooms?

With a lack of new stock coming to market, more businesses are choosing to refurbish their existing premises with a new fit out rather than moving to a new space altogether. What comes next presents a fantastic opportunity to create something special for your staff.

An office that looks great can help attract and retain talent and instil a sense of pride amongst your staff. It can also be an opportunity to boost productivity, break down silos and embrace new ways of working. An office refurbishment is about more than just choosing new carpets or moving partition walls, so if you’re planning to refurbish your space, don’t forget to consider all these factors to ensure your office refurbishment is a success.

Choosing an internal project team

Getting the internal project team right is paramount to a successful refurb. First you need to find the best person to lead the project. They need to be a senior decision maker who can get people on board, whilst closely managing the external project teams who will deliver the project. Depending on who’s involved with your project - you will need someone to manage the relationships; from architects to M&E engineers and your fit out contractor. Someone who is super-organised, can work to deadlines and manage budgets would be a great choice!

Consider the why and then the what

There are dozens of reasons to undertake an office refurb – what are yours? Once you have identified why you are refurbishing, it’s easier to determine what it’s going to look like and what you need. For example, if you want to attract new talent, what would those people want? Communal working spaces, breakout areas, or workstations? An office refurbishment is a great catalyst for behavioural and cultural change so if you want to boost collaboration, break down silos or implement wellbeing initiatives, now is the time to do it!  Once you have outlined all these factors, you can use this as the basis for your design brief.

Choosing who will deliver the project

Deciding the right business or businesses to deliver your project is the next decision. You could choose a Design and Build partner with all services under one roof or opt for a collective of consultants from different businesses, who will work together to deliver each aspect of the fit out. Whoever you choose, check their credentials and experience on past projects. Ask for references and to see examples of similar scale projects they have worked on. Most importantly, make sure you choose a partner who understands the needs of both your business and your people.

When to refurbish

Logistically, there’s a lot to consider before starting your refurbishment. Will you take a phased approach and remain in occupancy throughout the renovation, or will you move to a temporary workspace while your refurbishment is carried out? It’s also good to consider undertaking work during your business’ quieter periods, when people are most likely to be on holiday - like Christmas or the summer holidays.

Refurbishing older buildings

If your office is in an older building, it will have its own set of challenges compared to fitting out a new office space. The presence of asbestos, a lack of raised flooring, the age of shared amenities, and older mechanical and electrical services all need to be considered. This could mean that you’re building elements into your fit out that in newer buildings might already be provided as part of communal services - such as showers, changing rooms or bike storage.

Keep staff updated

Change can be hard, however keeping people informed throughout the project can help alleviate any concerns. Holding update forums, sending newsletters, or having change champions are great ways to keep your staff engaged and updated throughout the project. Talking to people about what’s going on is also a great way to get feedback on design decisions, so any problems or suggestions can be addressed as you go along.  

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