When it’s time to decide on relocating to a new office or refurbishing your current workspace, you’re making an investment in the future of your business. But the greatest struggle that comes with this, is where do you start? Fitting out your office space can be daunting. To avoid such struggles, our first recommendation of course is to seriously consider leaving that headache to Nairobi Garage – naturally! However, if you’re set on the idea to fit-out your own space – read on.
Fitting your office will involve an end-to-end process of making your internal space suitable for your team. It’s the transformation of a concrete shell into a productive and inspiring working space for your business. The importance of getting it right is not to be underestimated, nor the time and cost that will go in to it – so be ready!
Here are a few tips that can guide you the next time you are looking into fitting-out your office space.
The team may include one person from every department or several in your operations team who have time on their hands to dedicate to managing the project. An internal team is important as it helps explain the different requirements for the company. The team is also expected to bring about savings by more efficient and successful project handling. The team which also needs a project manager is equally important as it helps capture or report the project status.
Space planning is the first stage. This helps have a reference in terms of what needs to be placed where, and how much space you’ll dedicate to the various activities such as meetings, lunches, break out, open-plan areas and private offices. The plan also makes it easy and reduces confusion as you move into space. This can be done by the project lead or if you will to hire an office space fit out specialist, this should be their first task.
Try to plan your floor early on, as this will be helpful also in your negotiations with the Landlord over how much you’re willing to space on the space, given that there may be a lot of unusable space caused by columns or badly laid out floor plates. You’ll only know that when you get in to the space planning exercise.
It is always good to put together a budget that helps you realise how much you will be spending on the project. Items to consider while putting together your budget will include Costs associated with the move, how much and how long you might have to store equipment and furnishings, the overall design of the fit-out, the costs of new furniture and probably IT and telecommunications infrastructure.
The research helps you realise what really works in your workplace and what doesn’t. This helps you realise your limitations and aspirations. Research also helps you scale-up or scale-down your research in that you can tell what you need especially in the areas of technology.
As you research your options, you can put together a mood-board or inspiration board to create a picture of what your office space fit out will ultimately look like.
A fit specialist comes in handy while fitting up your office space, especially if you’re on a tight time-frame. The fit-specialist helps you evaluate your workspace options architecturally, mechanically and electrically, and financially. Their expert insight will help you make the right decision. A fit-out specialist will help you in drafting plans and drawings through CAD or 3-D design technology. They will also help you in Spatial assessment and planning, furniture and amenities sourcing and fit out, risk assessment, design and decorative consultation and probably following relevant workspace design regulations.
Typically you will need an interior designer or architect to do the design. Then a Project Manager will oversee the contractors and the build-stage. You can often find fit-out specialists that offer both of these services – and can also procure the contractors and sub-contractors for you as well. But be warned that these services do not come cheap.
As the ultimate end-user of the office space and the one footing the bill – you will be well advised to ensure you still remain involved with all stages of the fit-out. To ensure milestones are met and decisions are not made without your approval. If mistakes are made, you may need to decide either to pay more to correct or sacrifice the timelines you wanted to keep to – which can be frustrating and stressful. In short – don’t think just because you’re paying a professional fit-out company to handle that you can afford to not be involved.
Your design should, reflect your culture and brand your product. At this point one can actually involve their marketing department in this process, they probably know the brand better. Kick the collaboration process off early and ensure you create an office that reflects your company’s values. Also as part of the design, you will also want to research the latest office design trends so you have a good idea of what you want and how it will benefit workplace productivity.
The open-plan office is still a popular layout, but new designs focusing on accommodating workgroups, collaborative teams, and remote working are trending in more forward-thinking workplaces. Choose the right colours as well that are in line with your brand colours for finishing touches like cushions and artwork.
After all the planning, and ensuring that everything is in place. You may now want to bring in your furniture. You may make use of the old furniture or even buy new furniture. You may need to hire an interior designer who will help you with the getting the right furniture with the right fabric that suits your space.
Look for furniture to source locally, to give your office space fit out an element of sustainability. For desks and chairs, if you’re going to need more than 100 each, you probably want to look at importing them yourself than buying locally from importers who will have added a significant mark-up.
While moving offices also consider new and emerging technologies such as Cloud Computing. This will help you get rid of outdated infrastructure, thus freeing offices of equipment and allowing more room for free space. Technologies like Cloud computing also offers flexibility enabling some staff to work from home, which contributes to the overall agility of the workplace.
After everything is set and it is time to move into a new location, ensure that you get the best and reliable movers to help you move to your new location. During the move ensure that everything is in order. Ensure that your data is well backed up and also ensure you staff is well briefed. Once you settle in do not forget to set up an orientation and welcome session or training pack for their brand new workspace.
If all of this sounds rather daunting – think about whether you might be better off spending your energy on running your business and leave the hassle of office space fit out to us!