After time and money, space is the resource that presents the most challenges for a growing business. Even in an era of workshifting and remote work, modern companies still need a location to house employees who are developing intellectual property, performing highly-secure transactions and maintaining high degrees of customer privacy. These employees, along with any sophisticated equipment and its infrastructure, require the flexible use of well-designed, well-lit and accessible workspaces.
Space planning is required while moving the office. Here’s an 8-step actionable checklist to help you through the process of space planning:
1. Determine the problem with your existing space
- Is it crowded?
- Is there enough privacy?
- Is it well designed?
- Is there enough storage?
- Does the workspace promote employee wellness?
2. Determine if these problems can be resolved in your current space
Moving, no matter how well executed, is an expensive and stressful event that companies wisely avoid if they can. Once you’ve determined what the problems with your current space are, it’s important to consider if they can be solved using creative design and furnishing solutions. Office chairs with higher backs and sound buffering headrests, in combination with noise absorbing floor coverings, can help to reduce noise and increase privacy. Installing window treatments to maximize natural light, as well as providing personal lighting, can help reduce eye strain and the stress. If there are building environmental issues affecting health and safety, work with your landlord to see if they can be resolved. If they cannot be resolved, a move may be the best solution for all concerned.
3. Assess current needs and plan for future growth
During the problem identification phase in step one, you will probably hear “what we don’t have” and “what we need” repeated throughout your consultations. All of these needs and wishes will go on a requirements list to share with any real estate agent you might work with to find a new location. In addition to listing these specifications, you’ll have to predict your future growth and the space-needs those projections present. Work with a workspace consultant to help identify your current and future needs to help prevent the unexpected financial costs of moving to a new office space prematurely.
4. Assess infrastructure needs
Employees and customers are as influenced by what surrounds an office as much as they are by the business it houses. What needs do your employees and customers have in accessing the new space? Do you need parking for your suburbs-based employees, customers, visitor meetings? Do your employees want easy access to the subway system or commuter transit? Is it important to have parks, restaurants or other business services such as printing or supply warehouses nearby? These needs also go into your checklist of space planning..
5. Set a timeline & budget
Time and money, before space, are the two resources that present the most challenges to a growing company. Property investments, whether that’s a purchase or a lease, combined with renovations and business-specific structural or safety standards, are all expensive and demand expertise to implement. Realistic timelines and budgets, set early on, help to manage expectations and encourage careful planning from the outset. Office furniture is a large part of an design budget. Consider blending new, used and remanufactured office furniture to keep the costs down while still getting the look and delivery time to meet your budget and timeline.
6. Set design, branding and materials specifications
A new office means a new look and feel. Deciding what design styles suit your company’s image and culture is not quite as simple as choosing between modern and traditional, minimalist or ornate schools. For many companies, the curves or edges in a corporate logo are reflected in their choice of office furniture and fixtures. Brand colours and their complementary shades are generally picked up in flooring, fabric and wall coverings. The choice to use materials, finishes and furnishings that have the least harmful environmental impact will also require sourcing at this phase.
7. Plan packing and shifting
When it’s time to plan the physical move, use colour-coded stickers for furniture and equipment that will come to the new location, be recycled or donated or otherwise not be moved to the new site. Employees’ personal items to be shifted should be packed in sealed and labeled boxes for easy transport the Friday before a weekend move. While it’s common for an entire office move to be started on a Friday evening and completed on Sunday night, some adjustments and set up on Monday morning are still to be expected.
8. At any point in the process, ask for help
Space planning is not easy. You can bring in a consultant or assistant at any point in the process to help you and your team along. There is never any need for you to do all the heavy listing. Envirotech Office can help throughout all stages of the space planning process; workspace consulting, office furniture liquidation and the purchase of budget-friendly office furniture.