The cost of refurbishment is likely to be one of the biggest single outlays that your business will ever make, so it’s imperative to set a realistic budget. Most reputable suppliers will provide a full, complimentary estimate. It is at this stage you need to think about how your business is likely to change over the next 5 years and plan for this within the first phase. Whilst your workplace needs to reflect your current business values it must also be able to adapt to any future changes that might be around the corner.
In speaking with existing customers over recent months, Director Steve Bays noticed many companies were considering a move because they felt that they had little or no space available for the additional staff they required or felt that the space was not enticing enough. “It was during one such conversation that I commented to the customer that, if he were to think about re-organising and refurbishing his existing office space and furniture, it would quite likely give sufficient space to house at least an additional four staff and make the office inspiring to work in,” says Steve, “so he asked me to look at preparing some alternative layout drawings to demonstrate.”
Best tips for creating an engaging workspace on a budget:
Think about flexibility and a space that can have multiple functions instead of one single function. It is also important to factor in and think about change which happens rapidly in a small organisation.
Spend wisely: Finishes, wall coverings and even furniture does not have to become too costly and it is important to choose wisely. It is important not to get caught up in the latest trends, fads and gimmicks — forget the foos table, the slide and the pool table. These objects can take up essential floor space and often doesn’t communicate your brand or your company culture. If your business does not have too many visitors then you may be better off getting rid of the reception desk. And opting for a classic style furniture will stand the test of time, can be changed or upgraded easily.
Carpets or carpet walkways are an economical choice and quite easy to replace. Stone flooring or other bespoke flooring can prove costly — sometimes a bright, bold, coloured rug or carpeted walkways are a more cost effective solution.
Let there be light: Fluorescent light & naked bulbs can create a harsh lighting scheme by replacing with halogen or cfl bulbs that diffuse light beautifully and can transform a space as well as how it feels. Higher levels of light are required for some areas, such as where detailed desk work is convenient.
Make space for somewhere creative and informal: Create a non-designated space where staff can meet, sit and talk informally or even have lunch around. A space like this can bring a team together on a daily basis & brainstorm ideas or simply catch up.
Review the floor plan: Offices are dynamic environments with people coming and going and conditions changing. Just because a previous layout or set up might have been functional it doesn’t mean that it will stay that way forever and it might be beneficial at this point to consider overhauling the floor plan. This process can also identify excess furniture and outdated technology taking up office space.
Recycle rather than buy new: Re-using existing workstations can cut costs if they do not need replacing and can be easily replaced with the addition of new tops and new screen fabric. These costs are much less than new furniture and you won’t have any disposal expenses for your existing furniture.
Employ a contractor and buy in bulk: It is wildly accepted in the UK, Europe and even the US that a package deal from one supplier is one of the most cost effective ways to complete a fit out and is also the quickest. So if you are considering or planning on a major refurb or simply replacing & updating furniture consider buying the same desks, chairs and other office furniture for all staff at once from one supplier.
Plant & art can boost productivity: Putting plants in an office makes workers more productive. Psychologists have found that greenery in the workplace can increase production by 15 % and some studies even suggest that potted plants can reduce the number of sick days taken and are also an easy & cost-effective way of revamping a dull & drab workspace, whilst also helping to increase staff concentration & improve air quality whilst adding some colour. Art can also brighten up any interior an inexpensive way of introducing art into the office would be to invite local art students to perhaps paint a mural on one of the walls so that it becomes a main focal point/feature wall or introduce some simple bold prints to help boost productivity and create an aesthetically pleasing environment.
Century Office are a leading UK office and contract furniture supplier, with over 40 years’ experience in the industry. They provide workplace solutions and offer a tailored approach for architects, interior designers & facility managers for small offices to large corporations as well as educational facilities. Visit www.century-office.co.uk.