An office redesign is rarely as simple as a fresh coat of paint and some new furniture, and can quickly escalate into a huge project that you struggle to keep on-track and on-budget.
So before you even start thinking about color schemes or floor plans, it’s important to do your research. Today I’m looking at the four questions you need to answer before starting your office redesign, in order to ensure it meets both employee expectations and business needs.
1) How Is Your Current Office Being Used?
It’s likely that your current office space is being used in lots of different ways by different groups of people. With closer investigation, you may find out that how your senior executives assume the space is being used doesn’t match up with reality.
For example, there’s no point in updating your office breakout area if your current one never gets used. Likewise, your conference room: does that get used once a quarter for board meetings, and the rest of the time sit empty because teams prefer the more informal setting of their own desks? You’ll need to consult with staff across all the teams in your office to build up an accurate picture of the most important spaces in the office, and therefore where to focus your energy in the redesign.
2) What Are You Looking to Change?
Most office redesigns come about as a desire to change something about the company – the culture, atmosphere, or simply to make better use of space.
So the executive team have set aside the budget for an office redesign, but what exactly is the end goal? Has it been inspired by an internal restructure, meaning newly formed teams need to sit closer together? Is there a big hiring push coming up and the redesign is to make space for new desks? Is the aim to get better space utilization by implementing hot-desking, in order to reduce the overall office footprint while still providing enough head-down workspace?
Understanding the business end-goal rather than thinking of the redesign as the goal will help ensure your project meets the expectations of your executive team.
3) What Do You Actually Need?
It’s easy to get carried away when planning an office redesign, with big ideas coming your way from senior executives, designers and architects.
However, the reality is that these ideas often won’t be cost-effective to implement; and the ‘grand vision’ of your new office will require some chopping-and-changing to bring it in on-budget. By creating a list of the absolute ‘must-haves’ for your office redesign, you’ll ensure that only the added extras get removed from the plan: and that you don’t accidentally cut out something essential.
4) What Do Staff Expect From the Redesign?
Employees are an invaluable source of information about problems with the current office set-up. For example, are the noise levels a huge problem in your open office? Are the desks so close together that no one feels like they’ve got any personal space? Do the meeting rooms get booked up weeks in advance so it’s impossible to get a slot for an urgent customer meeting?
It’s important to remember that an office redesign will impact everyone that works there, so it shouldn’t just be your personal project. Consulting with your colleagues will help to improve buy-in from everyone in the company, and help to manage expectations.