We have the huge corporations like Google, Apple and Facebook to thank for the current ‘open plan’ office space concept, which promotes dialogue and employee interaction, and gone are the closed-off spaces that we called offices. The workstation is typically partitioned with half-height panels that give the worker a balance of space and seclusion, and in many layouts, workstations are completely open, and this seems to work.
Identifying your Needs
If you spend half a day observing your office staff, take note of what they actually do. If most are at their workstation and not engaging in dialogue with colleagues, then an open layout is not really essential. If, on the other hand, your team like to hold informal meetings where they exchange ideas and overcome obstacles, then you should have areas for this to happen. If your employees like to leave post-it notes, create a post-it board, where all messages can be pinned, and a portable whiteboard might be a good addition.
Making the Most of What you Have
Once you have a vision of your ideal work space, take stock of what you have already. You might need to knock down the odd partition wall, or widen a doorway, but do focus on making best use of available resources, which will keep costs down. Talk to a company that specialises in office fitouts and they would have an in-house design team who can help to create a work space that is efficient and comfortable.
Asking for Quotes
Once you have a firm idea of what you want to do with the space, an online search will help you find local office fitout contractors, and you can shortlist 2 or 3 and ask them to quote for your project. Do make sure that you view a few of their previous projects and if you can talk to some existing customers, even better.
When negotiating with a commercial office fitout contractor, it is important to clarify that the quoted price is all-inclusive, regardless of obstacles they might encounter. You should also check that in the event there were minor issues, they would return to fix them, which is standard practice in the industry.
Ideally, you want an office fitout contractor that handles everything, from carpets to communication and everything in between, and with their contacts, they can source quality office furniture and IT hardware at a lower than retail price. You have enough to worry about co-ordinating the relocation without having to deal with the renovations, and any large office fitout company would assign you a project manager, who would liaise with you at every stage of the project.
Tailored to your Staff and Their Practices
The perfect office environment is one that is designed around those who work in the space, and this can be done by observing your staff for a few hours, plus you can hold a meeting and ask your employees what they would like to see with any renovation, which makes them feel like their opinion is valued.
Find an established office fitout contractor and you really can’t go wrong with your new office layout.