Planning an Office Fit-out – A Cheat Sheet
Cheat-sheet: Planning an Office Fit-out
Here at Cre8tive Space we believe in supporting our customers, and those considering an office fit-out, through every stage of the journey. We therefore thought it would be helpful to put together a quick guide on how to plan for such a project, including what to consider before getting started.
Like any project you undertake, great results come from careful planning. Here are some useful pointers for behind-the-scenes preparation:
List your Requirements
To get started, make a list of all staff members, desks or workstations, meeting spaces, breakout areas, catering facilities and general equipment that you currently have. This will effectively be your baseline requirement for the new space you create.
From here, start planning for the future. What will you need as the business grows? What space will be needed for additional staff? Will you need to make provision for clients visiting the premises?
Now consider the practicalities: staff meetings, private spaces for confidential meetings or senior staff, team communication, soundproofing and climate control. These are all requirements that should be included in your initial list, plus anything else that may be relevant to your specific business and your team.
In an Ideal World
Planning an office fit-out offers the perfect opportunity to think big and consider all the things you would like in an ideal world. Visualise what your perfect space would look like, and what additional features or equipment would benefit your business, however fanciful they may seem.
Start this visualisation as if the budget were unlimited. There may be compromises to be made, but unrestricted thinking may uncover valuable ideas that are achievable, one way or another. It may also help shape your priorities and build a clearer vision for the future.
A good fit-out company will undertake cost engineering to allow for all the desirables you have identified, so don’t be too quick to dismiss something as ‘beyond the budget’.
Style It Up
Your office fit-out company will work on design ideas for the space you are going to create. To do this well, they will need an in-depth understanding of your business, your position in the market and your client base. Your office space is an extension of your brand, so should be created as such.
Consider how the space can be designed to support not only your visual brand, but also company values and messaging. Can you incorporate key company colours in a clever or innovative way? You could consider using graphics or vinyl to display quotes, straplines or the company mission statement on the walls or meeting spaces.
Choosing the right visual message for your business will be very individual – from smart corporate signage, to graffiti style lettering and everything in between. It’s great to be creative, but make sure your chosen style doesn’t conflict with the brand your customers are familiar with (unless you are considering a complete re-brand).
It’s a Team Effort
Think about how you can create a space that will enhance the comfort and wellbeing of staff members. There may be steps you can take to improve communication and flow, or provide areas that offer rest bite from working areas, such as a ‘third space’.
When planning how to furnish the space, consider choosing ergonomically designed work stations and think about any additional provision that would enhance staff experience in the office. Could you make space for a regularly supplied fruit bowl, coffee machine or chilled water, for example?
Above all, don’t just plan the space according to how it will look, but think about how staff will feel in the new environment. Showing team members that you have prioritised their needs will pay dividends in terms of motivation, performance, and office culture.
With or Without a Budget
There are two distinct ways that businesses approach a fit-out project. The first is with a clear budget in mind, looking to maximise what can be achieved within it. The other is with no set budget but a clear vision of what is required, perhaps needing guidance on what the cost is likely to be.
Whichever the case, we would still recommend thinking big, as per the second tip. By allowing yourself to get creative with ideas, you may identify new priorities that are worth including in the design, and may be worth raising budget for while you’re about it.
Sometimes a budget has been allocated, but there are additional features that fall outside of this, which present a worthwhile investment. In this case, you can consider finance options to meet your ideals, and enable you to create the perfect space for your business.
Trust Your Instincts
When we are in the thick of a project, it can be easy to be swayed from instinctive decisions by other factors, such as time, money or convenience. This is all-to-often proven to be a bad move with the benefit of hindsight. The planning stage is the ideal time to think clearly and make decisions for future reference.
If a decision feels right, stick with it and if it feels wrong, don’t be persuaded otherwise. This includes the fit-out company you chose to work with. They should be approachable, dependable and attendant to the business’ needs. You need reassurance that you are in safe hands from the start and that you will enjoy a positive working relationship.
Decide who the primary decision makers are, and trust them to make the decisions! It may sound obvious, but if too many people get involved once the project is underway it can really muddy the waters. By all means invite the team to offer suggestions, or vote on decisions, but once this has happened, stick with the plan as agreed.
By following these steps to comprehensive planning, you have the best possible chance of the project running smoothly from the start, and an end result that meets your expectations. An experienced fit-out company will be able to advise on ideas you may have overlooked, or clever ways to add value or cut costs.
If you would like to know more about how we support our clients, or to discuss a specific project or idea, please call us on 01252 756592