Find out everything you need to know about the perfect office refit
What are office refits all about and why do businesses need to think about them? To answer this question, we at first need to take a step back.
Like all things in life, interior spaces require the occasional upgrade to keep things fresh and exciting. Left alone for too long and they have a habit of showing their age.
This is particularly bad news if the space in question is one which is supposed to inspire productivity.
In order to get around this bothersome problem, a properly thought-out refit or office refurbishment will restore life to a workplace that motivates employees.
As necessary as it might be, we understand that a refit is a big investment. Indeed, some refits can be so considerable that they rival the cost of a brand-new workplace in a pricier part of town.
With this in mind, we’ve had our expert team come together to create a straightforward guide that promises to gently lead you through the entire process.
Before getting carried away with the particulars of office refits – and certainly before any discussion of games rooms – you’ll need to settle on a budget.
If you’ve not previously carried out a refit, it might be hard to estimate just how much you’ll need to set aside for such a project. Unfortunately, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach that will make it any easier to determine how much or how little you’ll need to spend.
This is where our guys come in. They’ll be happy to talk to you and your team to find out exactly what your requirements are. From here, they’ll be able to give you a good idea about how much you’ll need to invest.
Naturally, things are going to be a little costly for any office refits which involve extensive construction work. On the other hand, you’ll stand to save money if you’re only planning to refurbish certain parts of the building.
Once you’ve established the budget for your office refit, you’ll be in a good position to turn your mind to the more exciting aspects of the project. Namely, how you’re going to change things up and what kind of style you’re going to introduce.
Whilst a workplace should always look great, it needs to be functional too. To get this balance right, it’s worth asking yourself “what kind of commercial interior design will help me and my team complete our goals?”.
If, for example, your business relies on collaboration, you’d be better off introducing open-plan spaces than partitions. Equally, if you need space for people to get their heads down, it might be worth installing some office pods.
Ultimately, the better you can answer this question, the better your office design and refit will be.
Should you struggle to identify the ways that your workplace could be improved, you’ll certainly benefit from carrying out an extensive workplace assessment.
Typically carried out by individuals or employers who are dissatisfied with their workstations, this process is actually a useful method for discovering how to fine tune your office more generally. To carry out an assessment, you need to identify each hazard and inconvenience you find in the office and find a way to remove it.
After completing your assessment, you’ll find that you have a decent number of things you’d like to change about the way your office looks. These solutions will inform the style of your refit and ensure that workplace efficiency is improved.
If all of this sounds a little tedious, our team will be more than happy to take the lead and propose ways that your office live could be improved by adopting a certain style.
When planning an office refit, it’s crucial that you remain mindful of practical limitations. In short, don’t go wishing for natural light if you’re down in the basement.
Instead, play to your strengths and think about ways that you can accentuate the unchangeable elements of the space. If you are in the basement, think about how you might use artificial lighting to create the ideal ambience. Similarly, if your office benefits from being out in the open, think about ways you could open it up to make everyone inside feel a little more connected to the natural world.
When it comes to tackling the stuff which is out of your hands, our office designers will gladly step in to provide a range of creative solutions. The acoustics of the room make it hard to hear yourself think? No problem, suspended ceilings will see to it that the noise will be dampened following your refit. Can’t justify getting builders in to create a new meeting area? Easy, we’ll get some bespoke office pods in to make this possible.
In short, there will always be solutions that can be implemented to get around practical challenges, but it helps to set out with a vision that accommodates rather than resists these things. Obviously, this is a fairly straightforward pointer to work with but our office design experts will certainly be able to suggest the best ways that you can play to your limitations rather than being held back by them.
Whilst office refits were undoubtedly easier before the days of routers and Wi-Fi connections, it’s essential that you think about ways of integrating technology into your refurbished workspace. More specifically, look at how you might introduce new devices that will allow everyone to work more efficiently.
To provide an example, our team recently introduced a number of television screens to the Norwich City Football Club offices. Strategically positioned to allow employees to have an eye on them no matter where they’re sitting, the addition of these screens helps keep everyone fully up to scratch with the news which surrounds their industry.
There are obviously bonus points for picking out any piece of technology that complements the overall style of your office, but function really should come before form when it comes to technology.
Having gained quite a bit of experience when it comes to creating workplaces that feature plenty of tech, our team will be happy to provide you with some options. They’ll also be happy to suggest the most appropriate technology for keeping staff entertained should you have space for some gadgetry in your break out space.
Far more than the scenery and greenery of your workplace, office furniture can make or break your efficiency. Indeed, studies have revealed that ergonomic desk chairs and sit-stand desks will improve the overall posture of the user. By improving the overall posture, these furnishings ultimately improve the overall ability of the user to work well.
You don’t have to compromise on good looks to get these results, either. No, you can rely on office icons like Herman Miller and Humanscale to provide a stylish yet highly functional finish to any office refits. Indeed, providing that the colour choices match the overall scheme, it’s totally possible to get an aesthetically pleasing workspace that’s powered by ergonomic furniture.
Of course, office refits are a great opportunity to refresh how your team works. This means that rather than replacing furniture in a like-for-like fashion, you instead choose to introduce new elements that help with the workflow. If you’ve heard grumblings about the place being too loud, you might consider furnishing the place with some soundproofed office partitions, for instance.
You’ll be pleased to know that it’s possible to increase the amount of office space you have without having to relocate to new premises. Indeed, it’s entirely possible to maximise the amount of room available to you and your team by carefully appraising the layout of your office.
This is something our office designers have got plenty of experience in. Having completed multiple refurbishments which required a greater amount of space to become possible, they’ll be only too happy to conduct a review of your office and identify ways that you can optimise the space.
Whilst we’re confident that our guys are the best at increasing space, we’re also the first to admit that it’s not a dark art. By simply removing bulky storage units, introducing streamlined furnishings, and cutting back on unnecessary flourishes, it’s really quite easy to transform the dynamic of a given workspace.
It’ll come as no surprise to learn that employees are really quite fond of having a large amount of room to work in. Bringing with it a general sense of calm, a more spacious office will prevent anyone feeling claustrophobic and as though they need to run outside at any given opportunity.
An increasingly popular feature in modern offices, breakout spaces provide the ideal environment for casual meetings and lunch breaks. If you’ve got the space available, you’d be wise to design one of your own.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to the design of these spaces – they needn’t be extravagant or nature-themed – but they should offer a nice alternative to the larger working area of your office. Think of them as the place that your staff can recharge in once they’ve spent some time with their nose to the grindstone.
This means creating an area that encourages relaxation and invites employees to come in and enjoy time away from their desks and computer screens. This can be easily achieved by introducing playful pieces of furniture and keeping things as open as possible. Such an environment will naturally inspire feelings of calm and provide the perfect antidote to a stressful workspace.
If you’re known as a bit of a creative company, a well-designed breakout space can also serve as a place to entertain clients. Whether it’s an informal catch-up or a more conventional meeting, visitors to your office will no doubt relish the opportunity to discuss matters in an alternative setting.
No matter the size of the project, the wellbeing of staff is at the heart of all our office refits. The reason for this is simple: happy and well looked-after staff make for productive staff who enjoy coming to work every day.
To keep everyone feeling comfortable and positive you won’t need to introduce a games room or bar (although you very well could!) but can instead make significant improvements with subtle and easily implemented changes.
To begin working in this area, it certainly helps to think in green. Indeed, the presence of plants has been proven to increase creativity levels by 45% and productivity by a similarly impressive 38%. PHS Green Leaf, the team behind this research, suggested that this is because plants increase the air’s humidity and reduce the levels of dust in a room. See, subtle changes really can make the world of difference.
Another small change that brings big benefits is the option for staff to vary their posture across the workplace. To achieve this, you’ll simply need to introduce some sit-stand desks that employees can make use of whenever they’re starting to feel stiff and cramp in their office chair.
A final subtle change is to review and refine the way that sound travels around the office. Indeed, the acoustics of a working environment play a huge role in defining how productive that space will be. Not convinced? A recent study revealed that an incredible 53% of workers are regularly interrupted when trying to get on with their tasks. This is a fairly alarming statistic and it certainly stands a chance of being reduced if sound levels are properly managed.
Ultimately, office refits are a great opportunity to reconfigure your workspace. Allowing you to fine-tune the things that work well and replace the things that don’t, it provides you with the chance to make improvements and changes that can drastically enhance the performance of your business. If you’re interested in the kind of office refits that promise to bring big gains to you and your business, get in touch with our team today.
The team at Bluespace are professionals from design right through to the installation team on site. Furniture decisions can be quite stressful but Bluespace led us through the choices, worked with stakeholders and kept within our budget. The Centrum on the Norwich Research Park was a challenge – the space performs lots of functions: a busy café-restaurant, a place for a private chat or to work on the laptop between meetings, a networking venue and presentation space alongside meeting rooms! Bluespace proposals made the space work for everyone. We’ve had lots of praise for the choice of furniture and I’m sure this has contributed to Centrum’s success. I look forward to working with Steve, Jonathon and Fran again.
Dr Nick Goodwin
Norwich Research Park/Centrum