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How to Minimise Disruption During Your Office Refurbishment

Office Renovation Disruption

Do you need to refurbish your office, but you're concerned about the disruption during the project? You may even have decided not to go ahead with the project at all because of the disruption. If so, you’re not alone. Every week, we speak to companies planning office refurbishments, and disruption is a common concern.


Even if the finished office is a success, you could face weeks or months of disruption while you plan, design, and then deliver your refurbishment. The delivery phase can be especially disruptive for your people. It may even be tempting to avoid the disruption by not going ahead with the project at all. However, that won't fix the underlying issues that made you consider a refurbishment in the first place.


We’ve been refurbishing workspaces across London and the UK since 2008. We know that disruption is a huge challenge for our clients, so we prioritise a seamless, hassle-free experience. In this article, we'll go through 5 crucial steps to minimise the disruption caused by an office refurbishment at your company. By the end, you'll be able to plan and manage your project so that the finished office is delivered with minimal disruption to your people in the meantime.


Effective Planning

To minimise disruption during your project, create a comprehensive and effective project plan. This helps with project alignment. It also helps to anticipate potential challenges during the project and minimise surprises.  


The first part of creating an effective plan is to create a project brief. This describes why you are refurbishing your office, the goals of the project, and key constraints such as budget, timelines, or design regulations. You can then share this with your refurbishment contractor and keep focussed on it throughout the project.


For the delivery phase, your contractor needs to provide you with a clear, comprehensive, and realistic project programme that tells you exactly what is happening and when. This will give you visibility of project progress, allowing you to keep your contractor accountable.


Clear Communication

Effective communication is another essential part of ensuring your refurbishment is hassle-free. Ensuring that everyone (both internal and external) knows what they need to know is crucial. This will keep everyone aligned, engaged, and on track. As a result, you'll save a huge amount of time and effort by reducing the chances of conflict, poor decisions, and the resulting rework.


To ensure good communication during your project, create a suitable internal project team. This gives you the necessary perspective and authority, but prevents too many people from getting involved.


A RACI matrix can also be helpful to plan who needs to know what and when. Communication is also important during the planning, design, and delivery stages of your project. It all plays a part in improving speed, decision-making, and alignment.


Appropriate Design & Build Company

Not all design & build companies will be right for your refurbishment project. The scope, size, and style of your project, as well as whether you choose to remain in the space or not, will affect whether a company is suitable for the project. As a result, you need to ensure you choose a suitable design & build company. This company needs to be qualified to design and deliver your refurbishment. They also need to be able to deliver it with as little short-term disruption as possible.


Ask your potential refurbishment companies about how they minimise disruption during the project. It can also be helpful to speak to their previous clients to see how this works in practice.  


Phased Works

One way to keep your company running effectively during the project is to split the project into several smaller phases. This allows your people to work in most of your office, while different areas are refurbished separately.


Works can be completed in one area of your office while your staff work from another area. Your staff can move into the newly refurbished part while the other area is renovated. When phasing works, we recommend splitting it into 3-5 phases, so that your staff are not too cramped during the works. Starting with the least disruptive phases makes it easier to keep your office operating.


Another way to make the refurbishment less disruptive for your people is to carry out the works outside of working hours, at nights and on weekends. This prevents noisy, dusty and potentially dangerous work happening in your office while your staff are working. However, this does limit the working time and increases labour costs.


Temporary Workspace Solutions

If it’s not possible to keep your people in your office while you refurbish it (or it would be impractical) then you can arrange for them to work elsewhere. This enables them to work away from the disruption and distraction of a construction project.


There are two main options for temporary workspace: serviced office or home working. You could lease a serviced office for 1-3 months, and move all your people there during the works. Alternatively, you could ask your staff to work from home during the project. In most cases, home working will be more practical and cost effective. You could even ask some staff to work from home and then phase the works to enable some staff to remain on site.


Managing Disruption in Your Project

Knowing how to minimise disruption during your project is a crucial part of a successful office refurbishment. With effective planning and clear communication, you can ensure everyone involved knows what is happening when. This will maximise alignment and minimise mistakes. Choosing an effective contractor will make your project a lot less disruptive. Finally, implementing a phased work schedule or a temporary workspace will remove your people from the space. This will improve the simplicity and safety of the project.


While disruption is an inherent part of an office refurbishment, it doesn’t have to derail the project. Minimising the disruption will make your project a lot less stressful and time-consuming. It will also make your project a much more positive experience for everyone involved.


To take the next step, get your own copy of How to Plan an Office Refurbishment. It's a seven-part guide to take you through the entire planning process, including brief creation, contractor selection, and logistics & planning. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of what will be involved in your own office refurbishment, where you need to start, and where you need to learn more. Download your guide here to set your office refurbishment up for success.


To learn more about preparing for an office refurbishment, read You’ve Been Asked To Manage An Office Refurbishment. What Next? There, we’ll explain the 5 essential stages you need to go through to set your project up for success – before you reach out to any design & build companies.

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