Whether your company plans to save money by downsizing or celebrate growth with shiny new premises, office relocation and an office interior refurbishment – coupled with all the extra responsibilities they bring – can feel overwhelming if it’s you with the project management brief.
In order to identify the right location for your business future, pinpointing what was wrong with the old one is crucial. Likewise, undertaking budgeting, space planning, an office refurb, fit out and future-proofing with due consideration for the needs of all stakeholders and minimal work disruption all require meticulous planning.
PLANNING A SMOOTH OFFICE RELOCATION – YOUR GUIDE TO SWITCHING WORKPLACE WITHOUT A HITCH
When the email arrived declaring you were in charge of the big office relocation and refurbishment, how did it make you feel? Excited? Overwhelmed? Scared? It’s only natural to feel all those emotions but when you’re responsible for moving a business from one workplace to another, careful planning is crucial and will leave you feeling in control.
Any worries will be lifted instantly when you appoint a professional refurbishment company who has worked on a number of relocation projects. They will provide guidance and support at every milestone, as well as bring space planning, fit out and design expertise to the project.
They will provide guidance and support at every milestone, as well as bring space planning, fit out and design expertise to the project. If you’re starting with a blank piece of paper but need to make a relocation and office refurbishment plan, read on. We’ve compiled a guide to office relocation and fit out that will provide you with a useful framework. If there’s still anything you’re unsure of, just ask.
AGREE A BUDGET – MANAGING EXPECTATIONS (AND THE BANK MANAGER)
An office relocation will be one of your business’s biggest ever physical investments, and aligning a new workplace with financial resources should be your primary exercise. You’ll need to involve stakeholders and directors in initial conversations – way before you start dreaming of an in-house cinema or rooftop swimming pool! Budget for: the packing and removal at your current workplace; space planning and design services for the new office; increased rents/business rates or the cost of purchasing a more expensive premise; the fitout within the new workplace and new running costs.
IDENTIFY WHY YOU’RE MOVING OFFICE; MORE SPACE, DOWNSIZING OR BRAND REPOSITION?
Businesses need to move for a number of reasons but the specific grounds for your relocation should be clearly identified at the start to ensure your move works for your business immediately and in the future. Consider whether you’re moving to accommodate more staff or if you have future expansion in mind. Perhaps you’re downsizing to save money or would like to sublet some space. Maybe your current office set up is hampering staff engagement and productivity? Some companies move to a new ‘statement’ address and want an interior that reflects success or standing in the business community
FIX IT - WHAT’S WRONG AND COUNTERPRODUCTIVE IN YOUR CURRENT OFFICE?
An office relocation is the optimum time to address issues in your current workplace set up. If you have a public-facing business, think about the customer journey and how it could be improved. If you’re short on storage, find yourself traipsing to a different floor to collect a print out or have nowhere to hang your coat, draw up a list of irks and issues. However, this isn’t a job for a lone wolf, so see the next point...
IT’S GOOD TO TALK - BRAINSTORM WITH STAFF AND STAKEHOLDERS
Feedback is essential in planning your office relocation but what you’ll gather from staff and stakeholders will be quite different. Staff will have plenty to say but rather than rely on water cooler moments or communal kitchen banter, start a formal consultation process. A questionnaire to all staff - no matter their job description or seniority – will give you a clear idea of what can be added or improved in a new workplace. The feedback from stakeholders is more likely to shape branding, image, integration and engagement, as well as temper wild staff requests with return on investment. What do you mean there’s no budget for an in-house nightclub?
OFFICE PLANNING – WHAT AND WHO GOES WHERE?
Once a new premises has been secured, your fit out partner will meet you onsite to discuss your brief, perform a site survey and take accurate measurements.
If you are not the owners of the building, you’ll need to consult with your landlord as to what you can do inside and out. Even if you do own the building, you’ll need to establish if there are any planning restrictions, covenants or listed statuses. At this stage it’s useful to communicate the number of staff who will be relocating and how much, if any, furniture you intend to move with you. A fit out company will use 2D space plans and 3D designs to illustrate how your new footprint can accommodate staff, storage, meeting rooms and equipment.
With professional space planning it’s possible to rearrange the position of items on screen to avoid costly mistakes at the installation stage –a great feature if you’re thinking of radically changing your office layouts, adding partitions or removing internal walls. The use of 3D designs also makes it possible to play around with colours, materials and interior specification – giving an accurate representation of the finished product before anything is ordered.
NEW OFFICE = MORE PRODUCTIVITY AND ENGAGEMENT
Relocating to a new office presents an exciting opportunity to change the work ethos in your business through better design. More companies than ever are adopting the agile way of working – freeing people from set desks and planning an office according to tasks and projects, rather than departments.
Employees are encouraged to be more creative and engage with other members of staff thanks to new-found mobility, while an agile office setup can usually accommodate more people in the same square footage than conventional desks. You can use your new office as a ‘blank canvas’, working with a refurbishment design team to plan break-out areas, informal meeting spaces, quiet zones, pods, workstations, communal kitchens and formal meeting rooms.
An agile environment will boost staff morale, increase pride in the workplace, help retain team members and attract new talent.
COMMUNICATE THE TIMESCALE – WHEN, WHERE AND WHAT
Make staff feel involved and informed by sharing as much information with them as possible. Draw up a key milestones document and circulate it every time something is added or amended. Up-to-date employees will be able to plan their own projects and pack-up around the relocation, making the overall move much smoother and lessen the impact on the operational business.
KEEPING YOUR BUSINESS OPEN – ASK FOR SMART SCHEDULING
While an office relocation fills many with excitement and optimism, there are some logistics that can have a real impact on a business.
There are two possible times when your business may have to close: during the actual relocation and when office refurbishment works are being carried out in the new premises. However, both a removal company and an office fit out team should be able to schedule works to take place after hours and at weekends to minimize disruption.
In case of refurbishment , it is possible to create short-term office areas allowing installers to work in one section of the building before swapping over with the workforce. Reception areas can be relocated and recreated, and it’s even possible to set up a ‘pop up’ office in a temporary location while work is underway.
FIRST FIX – WHAT’S LIES BENEATH
How many offices have you worked in where employees complain it’s too hot or too cold?Perhaps the gripe lies in the photocopier being too far away from the printer?
An office relocation is your chance to orchestrate a better planned workplace that increases productivity and efficiency. Your new workplace can be future-proofed during the first fix stage – the work that’s carried out when the floor is taken up, the ceiling taken down and the walls stripped back to brick. You might like to consider air conditioning, floor-set power sockets, a better data provision with more accessible points, task lighting that actually sits over desks, flush-fit integrated screens with channeled wiring, touch technology and media walls.
SECOND FIX – APPEARANCES COUNT
How people perceive your brand can be a deal breaker, so use your office relocation to purvey a new image or smarten your business identity.
Whether you want to attract new clients, demonstrate wealth, break into a new market, reinforce a corporate design or outpace the competition, the interior design within your workplace should send the right signals.
Public-facing areas - such as receptions, waiting areas and cloakrooms - can be elevated to new levels with the power of bespoke furniture, and quality fixtures and fittings. These areas are where you can show off and display prowess. Colour schemes, soft furnishings and wall art throughout any workplace can be used to energise staff, create distinctive zones and subliminally create distinctive zones and subliminally reinforce company branding.
All of these elements can be meticulously planned in the design and specification stage, with 3D visuals creating an almost lifelike vision of how the final interior will look.
Download the guide
Now you can breathe a sigh of relief, because our Guide to Smooth Office Relocation contains a wealth of information from the MPL Interiors team. From designer to project manager, craftsman to an installer, we’ve been providing a ‘concept to completion’ corporate refurbishment service to blue chip companies for well over twenty years.
This step by step guide outlines the entire office refurb process, sheds light on the use of 3D design and explains how we work with our clients to produce office interiors and exteriors that promote their brand identity. There’s even a handy office space calculator – just another aspect of our service, designed to help you switch workplace without a hitch.