As the warmer weather sets in and the days are getting longer, it seems like there are finally good times ahead for UK businesses too. We have all been hunched over our laptops at the dining room table, putting up with video conference meetings and trying to figure out IT solutions when we don’t have the same software as our colleagues, but it looks as though a return to the office is not too far away now.  Here we look at what you need to know if you’re planning an office refurbishment.

It may still take a few months yet for everyone to get back to the old way of doing business, but we can certainly start thinking about how we are all going to approach the office when the time is right.

And, if we’re being honest, the last twelve months spent working from home have given us ample opportunity to think about what we’d like to change about our office space, and what we need to. There are going to be new health and safety considerations to factor in when we return, and some of those will require more than an additional handwashing station and more frequent deep cleans from a professional crew.

The pandemic has also made us much more sensitive towards issues surrounding mental health, and a lot of us would like to take the lessons that we’ve learned and use them create a workspace and environment that fosters positive thinking and a welcoming attitude (and no, this not just a long-winded way of saying more natural light!). 

From numbers and safety to accessibility and space, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration when you’re committing to an office refurbishment, and here are just a few of them.

Why set about planning an office refurbishment?

Let’s start with a simple but important question. Why are you doing this? It’s not a trick question, either, it will have a real bearing on how you move forward. Right now, with the world as it is, it seems fair to assume that a lot of businesses will be committing to a refurbishment for health and safety reasons. They will be wanting to make sure that social distancing can be maintained, that there are additional handwashing stations and that items like Perspex screens can be easily installed.

But maybe it’s more than that. Maybe you’re using this long-overdue return to the office as a way to rip out a lot of old furnishings that have been screaming for an update for years. Maybe you’re adjusting to a bigger or smaller workforce. Or maybe you’re wanting to make sure that there is a nice positive energy to the place when your employees come back. Once you know the “why”, you can move forward.

Do You Need To Get Your Own Team Involved?

Planning an office refurbishment is not a solo project, no matter the size of the business. You’ll obviously need to consult with your finance department and any business partners to make sure that the costs of the refurbishment don’t spiral out of control. There’ll be a lot of admin to take care of as you bring in an external firm to take care of the office refit.

It will also be worth talking to the senior members of your various teams to see if they have anything they would like to add to their wish-list. An office refurbishment is a great way to wipe the slate clean, to stop that practice of simply finding a desk for people wherever there’s room, and to really think outside the box to create the best working environment.

Find The Right Contractors For The Job

Choosing contractors for an office refurbishment is obviously a huge step. You are going to want to make sure that you have absolute confidence that they understand what you are trying to do, that they have the requisite experience to pull it off, and that they have the vision to build on your ideas to create something suits your business and location down to the ground. Oh, and good reviews from happy customers never hurts either. It’s not just about putting a new coat of paint up and laying a new carpet down.

You want a firm that can handle creating new work environments, considering opportunities for light and space while being aware of the practical necessities such as how are you going to connect the power and water supplies for all these gorgeous new spaces. It’s also an opportunity to final upgrade heating and air conditioning, fit new windows and make sure the acoustics are good too. 

Planning an Office refurbishment is a huge task, in short, and you need to be sure that you can rely on your chosen firm to handle everything from planning and construction to putting up the last Perspex screen and screwing in the final lightbulb. Amos Beech has been in the business since 1990 and provides office refurbishment and fit out for businesses in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Think About What’s Next

Once you’ve selected a contractor that you’re happy with and you’ve agreed on a plan, there is a certain amount of sitting back and letting them get on with it to be done. However, it’s important to remember that the expenses don’t end there. You will want to bring in new furniture to go with the office’s new look (and, in an era where we’re trying to keep everything as clean as possible, new furniture is probably a good idea anyway). 

You will also need to think about how you’re going to bring your staff back to the office. Safety is obviously at the top of everybody’s list, so it’s going to be important to think about whether a staggered return is something that will work for you. Make sure that you’re talking to your employees on a regular basis about whether they feel comfortable coming back into the office and remember to share all of the information on the new safety measures you’ve been taking. The new space will be somewhere where they feel happy, productive and inspired, but don’t rush them into it. 

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As an experienced business and finance writer I understand the corporate landscape and the driving forces behind it. Over the years I’ve shared my insight and knowledge with key industry publications and dedicated my time to showing how business leaders can make their organisations more effective.