Staying in your office forever can have drawbacks over time. Offices get outdated, and they start lacking the materials and capabilities that a growing company needs.
That’s why an office remodel can help revitalize even the most outdated, ’80s-looking workspace. Not to mention, renovations can be an incredible perk for your employees, even increasing overall productivity.
But as someone who has watched an office being built – literally – all around my employees, the process can be tricky to pull off while work is still happening. Here are a few things I learned to make your office renovation meet all of your company’s needs.
If this is so obvious, why do so few companies do it?
During any office remodeling or renovation project, maintaining open lines of communication with employees helps to mitigate decreased productivity. The more information you can get from and provide your employees, including timelines, the more clear-headed your workforce will be throughout the changes.
Moreover, I encouraged employees to provide feedback on the changes I was thinking about making. After all, the employees who are in the office daily can offer valuable feedback and suggestions I had never thought of to make the workplace run more efficiently.
How do you do that? Make a survey! Customized questions about your workplace can help you to get the best answers. If possible, ask questions that require a more in-depth reply than just a simple “yes” or “no” response.
Some example questions I used:
- What do you like/dislike about the current workspace?
- What changes would you make to the existing workspace?
- What areas of the office support your work? What areas are lacking?
- How much time gets spent in meetings? Are meeting rooms sufficient in space?
- Does your existing workspace help keep you connected with colleagues, peers, prospects, outside and inside the business?
- Is there enough privacy to be successful?
- Where is the majority of your workday spent in the office?
You’ll likely find your employees have some great ideas that never came to your mind. Consider working some of your employees’ ideas into your office remodeling project wherever feasible.
Just because you are overhauling your workspace does not mean the work stops. But trust me, it’s entirely too difficult to store your office equipment and supplies somewhere you can’t get to them easily. I quickly realized we all needed access to our stuff, even while the hammers were going.
Luckily, I figured out this moving container lifehack. The flexibility of a portable container meant a short walk to the parking lot to grab an additional monitor, rather than a long commute across town to some storage space.
When do you need help? Where do you need help?
With a phone call, one of these portable storage units can be delivered right to your office door. (If you need more than one, you can arrange for that too.) With a loading capacity of up to 3,000 pounds and roughly 300 square feet of space in each container, I found you can probably fit your entire office into one or two units.
Also, if you’re flat-out moving your office, there are cheaper ways to move your office rather than getting a massive, one-size-fits-all-quote from a single moving company.
If you need professional labor to move your office in and out of a storage space, a lot of these moving container companies offer discounts for booking both at once.
For storage-purposes though, most of these containers are water-proof (i.e., they can be stored outside), so you can stuff all of your technology, equipment, and supplies without fear of weathering. Across the board, this is a more cost-effective and convenient alternative to off-site storage. It allowed my firm to maintain productivity while staying within my budget.
Whether it’s noise pollution interrupting conference calls, or fumes from metalwork, sometimes no matter how hard you try, the best-case scenario is to encourage your staff to work from home. In times like this, a virtual office offers a flexible workspace solution.
If you incorporate web-based chat software such as Slack, G-Chat, or Skype, you can still communicate with your team without missing a beat. Slack offers a free version that works for smaller companies, though there are alternative, cheaper to license clients out there, such as Mattermost, if your renovation timeline warrants the investment.
My staff saw this as an added benefit to work because they finally got to work from their living room in their pajamas. (However, it is important to communicate to them that this is not a long-term solution. Sorry, team.)
If your office remodel consists of just a few smaller cosmetic changes, you don’t want to disrupt your current operations with a total uprooting. Find ways to make the upgrades seamless.
For instance, if you are planning on painting the office, consider finding contractors who are available to complete the work on a weekend or after business hours. By doing so, you are eliminating the risk of distractions that lessen productivity. It’s crazy to me how many companies try and do something like paint during office hours!
Once you’ve surveyed your employees and made all the appropriate decisions about the office changes, you’ll want to be sure to communicate these concepts with your chosen contractor.
But make sure you ask your contractor for their advice too! So many people skip this step, when a contractor has seen it all, and will probably have expert ways to help your space out.
Do you want a brighter environment? If so, contractors may know ways to enhance the natural lighting, how to make improvements to your existing office lights, or how to use other approaches to brighten the environment. Perhaps you want to improve the acoustics, so the office isn’t deafeningly loud? If this is the case, your contractor might advise on solutions that help to dampen noise. For my office, she helped me find dividers with special materials to help out in our call-center.
There are two important traits for leading a team during an office remodel. The first is to maintain an open line of communication (e.g., an open-door policy). The second important trait is to never stop conveying certainty to your employees.
Understand that these projects rarely are completed without a hitch. Demonstrate realistic patience and flexibility if a curveball is thrown your way. (And if you trust your ability to hire the right contractor, you’ll be better off when things don’t go to plan.)
If you are feeling stressed, there is a good chance your employees are too! Attitude and disposition are reflective of leadership, so keep a positive outlook and a smile on your face.
Because at the end of the day, this is all temporary; there is a payout at the end of the long journey, and it comes in the form of a brand new office space. Hopefully, it comes complete with all the bells and whistles, and some money saved along the way!