Before you invest in a radical new office fit out project there are several questions you should answer to ensure the smooth delivery of any project. Haphazard planning certainly isn’t the way to go as adding design elements here and there could mean your costs creep ever higher whilst jeopardising the potential ROI of your fit-out project. Even small office fit out projects can cost considerable sums of money without the correct planning and management; this checklist should assist in achieving a successful office fit out.
1) Assess your current space
The first step is to ask yourself and your employees ‘why do we need to make changes to our office space?’ Here are a few questions which can help to really identify what your current office is lacking and will help in formulating goals and creating your new office design:
Are we maximising use of valuable office space? – You may have more desks than you need, especially if some employees work remotely. This space could be repurposed to add value to your organisation.
Does your current space allow for all the changes you require? - A specialist office fit out company can maximise the potential of your office however some design choices may not be feasible. In this case it may be worth considering an office relocation.
Why isn’t the current space meeting our needs? – Is your drab, uninspiring office lowering staff morale and hampering your recruitment efforts? Is your culture threatening innovation and collaboration? Try to locate the weak link in your company which can then be addressed when setting goals.
Are we likely to outgrow our current space? – In this scenario any fit out project could potentially be costly as substantial business growth could mean your company has to relocate elsewhere, jeopardising future ROI.
2) Define your Goals
Changing your corporate image, attracting higher quality job applicants, increasing retention, productivity and wellbeing are all possible with the right office fit out partner, however these terms alone are often vaguely defined, offering little way of measuring success.
Setting Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic objectives over a set period of Time (SMART) is the ideal way of measuring tangible business results, which can also inform your office design company of the types of spaces your fit out will require. Our article on maximising the ROI of any office design project provides a solid starting point towards helping to define your companies objectives. Below is an example of a SMART objective and how our design team would respond:
Objective: Reduce employee turnover by 30% within a year of completing the office fit-out project.
Our response: In this scenario our design team would look at why your employees are leaving. is it the lack of quiet spaces affecting concentration? Is it due to a drab breakout space without adequate facilities? Depending on the scenario we may suggest implementing both collaborative and quiet working zones, using colour and lighting to create a welcoming and homely feel.
3) Is your project feasible?
A feasibility study is a vital document which should be produced during the early stages of any proposal, allowing decision makers to ensure a project is in the best interests of your company. An office fit-out project can cost over £100,000 and directly affects the place where your workers spend on average 1/3 of their life, therefore an unsuitable project can jeopardise your employee’s productivity, wellbeing and your finances for years to come.
We recommend conducting a feasibility along with other forecasting and scenario planning tools to make sure this investment is right for your business. The best office fit out companies can assist with certain aspects of a feasibility study, especially regarding structural considerations but also maximising the potential ROI for your budget.
4) Choose your internal Project Management Team
The best office fit out companies will carry out your project in phases as to ensure your business can continue running efficiently without jeopardising productivity. Despite this, there is likely to be some level of disruption to your company therefore it is important to establish a project manager who can act as a point of contact for employees and your top management team if there are any concerns regarding the project.
Typically, your internal project leader should be a skilled organiser, negotiator and a good communicator. A project team ideally needs a cross-functional mixture of skills including your office manager, finance, operations IT, HR and marketing to ensure the project is run to budget and is delivered on time with minimal disruption.
5) Set a Budget
Setting a budget can be quite a challenge especially if this is your first foray into an office design project as you can expect to pay anywhere from £15 per sq. ft. to as much as £60 of sq. ft. depending on the type of fit out and the specification. At this stage we’d recommend reaching out to a number of office fit out and design specialists who can work with your budget to maximise the return on your investment.
6) Select a Fit-Out Contractor
Arguably the most important part of the office fit out process is selecting a design partner who can understands your vision meanwhile meeting your company’s needs. We propose following the below few steps to ensure your project is delivered competently, on time and with minimal disruption:
Research – Look for office fit out companies within your local area, e.g. Manchester through Google or asking your network. Take a look at their completed projects, experience and qualifications and their reputation but also the clients they have dealt with, shortlisting companies which match your design ambitions.
Contact- Get in touch with your shortlisted office fit out companies and understand the extent of their service offering, e.g. are their designers using the latest 3D design software to ensure the finished space will meet your expectations? Will they manage the entire project? This is also an opportune time to ascertain whether your design ambitions are feasible with the budget provided.
Due diligence – The best office fit out companies provide references for past projects, with many able to arrange site visits with previous clients. You should also check their financial position and whether they have the correct health and safety documentation and whether they have the correct insurance.
If you follow these steps you’ll be well on your way to moving into a brand new office space, capable of meeting your companies needs now and in the future. If you’re exploring a potential office fit out project, why not add us to your shortlist? Get in touch!