Fitting out a new office and creating the best environment is not as straight forward as some might think. It is a major operation involving a lot of upheaval. For most businesses, it is not a regular occurrence. One source claims most companies will only move once in seven years.
There are several factors to be considered and it is important to give each equal importance.
Thinking about your staff
Most workforces are made up of a huge mix of personality types and it’s important to consider all of their needs.
The way in which an office environment is laid out has great effect on the efficiency of staff.
You need to think about the characteristics of your staff group.
Are they lively, energetic, more extrovert than introvert? If so, they may function better and feel happier in a more open environment. If your staff are more introvert in character, they will respond better to more separated working conditions, allowing them more privacy.
In reality, most offices are filled with a mixture of introverts and extroverts and so we tend to design spaces which feature elements of open plan working (great for the extroverts of the workforce), with the option of having quiet zones and meeting rooms that more introverted staff can enjoy.
If someone feels uncomfortable and anxious in their working environment they will not work to peak efficiency. In a 2003 survey, only 37% of those interviewed said they felt their environment had been designed with people in mind.
The working environment will also affect staff retention.
In one piece of research 72% of workers sampled said they felt their working environment was good, and 78% of these had not thought about leaving their job. If you can get the environment right, you will lose less staff.
You will also need to make sure that the new environment can deal with any disabilities your staff may have.
Ask yourself if the actual location of the new office going to work?
Does it suit your business, is it in the right area, is it going to be a viable location for people, your staff and customers, to be able to get to?
Make lists of the equipment you will need, from desks, chairs and tables, to telephones and other equipment. Are you taking all your old equipment or will you need to purchase new? Think about where it will be located, where cables are to be sited and that there is enough room.
Spatial & Environmental Considerations
You need to work out how much space each staff member will need to be able to do their job. Work out how much room a desk will take up, and what individual storage space is needed to go with it.
Space is also important if the work involves making a lot of telephone calls or conversations with co-workers. Putting desks close together can result in a noisy environment where people are straining to hear what others say. For the same reason, you need to consider whether you need separate meeting rooms, and if so how many.
You will also need to consider whether you are going to expand, which will mean more staff and less available space. For more information on signs you need to look for a larger office space, take a look at this article from Rombourne.
Make sure that lighting and temperature, as well as noise levels, are the best to get optimum levels of comfort for your staff.
Using natural light as much as possible will be beneficial. Making sure that areas are appropriately lit is obviously important, but choosing the right kind of lighting that is constant, does not emit too much heat, and does not require continued maintenance are all important factors. Choosing LED lighting for example may be a sound long-term investment (our electrical contractor arm, Commercial Electrical, can help you with this).
Workers who are cold, too hot, or feel they can’t breathe properly will not perform at their best.
Ask yourself if your new premises have sufficient ventilation, protection from sunlight and heat during warmer months, adequate heating for the cooler seasons, and whether you need to invest in air conditioning.
It seems like a lot to think about, and we would have to agree with you on that. Your new office space should be an investment that helps you nurture your workforce and, essentially, increase productivity. Taking a few hours to consider exactly how a new space should work is one of the best investments that you’ll make.
We can, of course, take the stress out of it with our office fit out and refurbishment service — part of which includes a free office design to plan out these core considerations.