Although economic recovery, particularly in London, is taking firm hold, many businesses considering an office refurbishment nevertheless want some assurance that it will be money well spent. And, as with any other significant financial outlay, many company directors want to see a sound business case before giving the go-ahead.
At Thames Contracts we have over 20 years experience of talking to business owners and understanding their office design needs and how they relate to their wider business concerns. So here we take a look at a number of ways in which a refurbishment can deliver genuine cost savings and return on investment.
Considering these factors against your own particular circumstances may help you to identify whether refurbishing your workspace would be a good investment for your business.
Avoiding an Office Move
Many businesses are starting to take on more people to deal with the upswing in economic activity, but the question is: where to put them? The prospect of moving to larger offices can mean even greater financial outlay and greater upheaval than undergoing a redesign. So, if an office refurbishment can result in accommodating more employees for the same rent, then this is often a compelling financial argument.
At Thames we employ space planning techniques combined with ingenious workstation design to maximise the number of people who can work within a given floor area – while still providing adequate workspace, storage, privacy and so on, as required by the type of work going on.
Another way to accommodate a larger workforce is to enable flexible working. With the right network and communications facilities in place, not all your staff need to be physically present in the office all the time. Giving staff flexible working facilities enables businesses to increase their headcount but without increasing the amount of office space they need. Being able to take advantage of flexible working on a regular basis also enhances employee morale, with benefits to productivity and staff retention.
Reduce Travel Costs
Travel and subsistence costs can be a real drain on a company’s finances – and these costs can often be significantly reduced by encouraging meetings to take place at your own premises rather than elsewhere.
However, your staff may be reluctant to suggest that clients or suppliers meet at your company offices if there are not good meeting facilities, if the reception area is scruffy or unwelcoming or if washroom and refreshment facilities are limited. Or, your sales people may feel less than enthusiastic about making a pitch to a client in old fashioned or ill-equipped meeting rooms.
While there will always be times when it is best to meet a client at their premises, being able to meet and entertain clients or suppliers in your own offices helps to forge a stronger relationship, compared to always going to the client’s offices or meeting in a neutral location.
Thames can carve out state of the art meeting facilities, either by upgrading existing rooms, or creating dedicated meeting space using solid or glass partitions. We can also ensure that receptions are appropriately smart and impressive and that facilities such as washrooms and kitchen areas are fit for both employees and guests.
In addition to face to face meetings, a refurbishment can also help to enable the use of technology to reduce the need for travel – for instance, by updating the comms infrastructure required for reliable videoconferencing systems.
We have written elsewhere about the relationship between office design and workforce productivity (see related articles below) but it worth repeating a few key points here as it can have a great impact on a company’s bottom line.
A good office design which addresses the flow of traffic around the office, siting of key equipment such as printers and photocopier, storage and lower noise levels will all help to provide greater personal comfort and fewer distractions for staff, meaning better focus and concentration on their tasks.
And a design which makes teamworking and networking easier can have a positive effect on productivity where performance depends on team members collaborating together on tasks.
The visual appearance of an office can also have an impact. Stronger branding and identity (e.g. use of company logos and colours in reception areas, walls or flooring) can help to promote a sense of company loyalty and commitment, while simply making the office a nicer place to be, can help with staff retention issues.
Greater Energy Efficiency
A refurbishment is the ideal time to re-evaluate services such as heating, lighting, air conditioning and power supplies. These can often be updated to make use of more energy efficient options – reducing your carbon footprint and your energy costs.
Using low-energy light fittings is an obvious way to save costs but there are a many other techniques to help minimise unnecessary power use. For instance, fitting windows with “daylight blinds” helps to control unwanted glare for screen users and redirect daylight into the room, reducing the need to have the lights on, while the use of mirror reflectors in the ceiling reduces the number of lights that need to be on to provide adequate lighting. Provision of flexible switching options is also important so that employees can tightly control which lights are on, rather than only having a choice between “everything off” and “everything on”. And simply ensuring that light switches are clearly labelled can help to prevent each employee having to experiment with all the light switches to achieve the right combination. Occupancy sensors can also be put to good use in lesser used areas such as storerooms, washrooms, stairways and so on, and can help to make sure that lights are not left on overnight.
Heating and cooling costs can also be kept down by designing out sources of discomfort for staff, such as draughts and being in direct sunlight. Simply fitting timer controls can help to ensure that heating is switched off at the end of the work day.
If you’d like to know more about how a refurbishment can help control your costs, call Thames to discuss your requirements today.