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Do I Need an Office Fit Out or Not?

Should I do an Office Fit Out?

If you're experiencing challenges with your current workspace, you may be wondering if it’s the right time to do an office fit out. You might be considering refurbishing your existing office, taking another floor in your existing building, or moving office entirely.

Office fit outs can be time-consuming. Depending on the size of your space and the scope of your project, it could be 6-18 months before your project is complete. In that time, you’ll have to brief design & build companies, select the best company, manage them throughout the project, and be on hand to respond to their queries.

Office fit outs also require a big monetary investment. The project will likely cost your company between £50 and £100 per square foot. This means a 10,000 sq/ft office fit out might cost £500,000 to £1,000,000. Given the effort and investment involved, you’re probably asking yourself “do I actually need an office fit out or not?”

At Zentura, we regularly speak to companies that are struggling with various workspace challenges, but are not sure if they should or shouldn’t do an office fit out. There are a lot of complex factors impacting this decision, and it’s rarely straightforward. Here are several questions you can ask yourself to help you make the right decision for you.

Is Your Current Office Space Meeting Your Needs?

Just because your office design met the needs of your company 5 years ago, it doesn’t mean it’s appropriate today. The size of your workforce may have grown, your company structure may have changed, or you may have implemented hybrid working. Any of these changes may well mean that your office no longer meets the needs of your staff and company.

Having a workspace that suits the way your people and company works is essential. Staffing and real estate costs are probably the two highest overhead expenses your company faces. If your workspace is not well designed, the productivity of your people will be limited, and you will be wasting a lot of expenditure.

To decide if you need an office fit out due to your current space being inappropriate, you’ll need first need to consider what your key workspace needs are. If you already have a workspace strategy, this document should detail exactly what your workspace needs to achieve for your company. You can then compare it to your current situation to see if that is the case or not. Getting feedback from a variety of staff on what is working well (and not so well) is also helpful to see if your office is meeting the needs of your staff.

Is Your Branding Outdated?

Over the years, brands and cultures evolve. If your office has stayed the same for more than 5 years, it probably feels slightly outdated and shabby. If this is the case, then your staff will likely find it a bland, uninspiring place to work. This will lower their performance.

Having an on-brand office is important because it’s a central part of staff engagement. Staff engagement is the connection your staff feel to your company’s brand and values. Companies with a highly engaged workforce are 21% more profitable than average companies. For your staff to be as connected as possible to your company, they need to have a workspace that brings that brand to life.

To decide if your office branding is outdated, compare your office design to your brand guidelines and values. This is about more than the wall colours and reception logos. It extends to the layout, furniture, and features. It all affects the experience your staff have throughout the day. If your office doesn’t truly reflect and enhance your brand, then it may be time to consider an office fit out.

Are you planning to expand your business?

As well as considering how your business has changed in recent years, you also need to think about how you're planning to change in years to come. Staff growth is an especially important part of this. If your leadership are planning to grow revenue by 20% over the next three years, then this will probably involve a similar increase in staff count.

If you have signed a long-term lease on your existing space, or your existing space is already overcrowded, then this is an especially important consideration. Overcrowded spaces are distracting and unproductive places to work, which lowers overall performance. Even if your company has enough space at the moment, it's important to consider how you will fit more staff in when they are hired.

So how do you know if your office is overcrowded, or is likely to be in the future? Exactly how much office space you need will vary on the size of your workforce and your office design, but will normally be between 120 and 200 sq/ft per person. To learn more, read “how much office space do I need?

Are You Experiencing High Employee Churn?

If you are experiencing high employee churn then it may be time to consider an office fit out. A recent study found that high performers are 400% more productive than average ones. Recruiting and retaining high-performing staff is absolutely essential to the success of your business.

Replacing staff is also expensive. It costs around 30% of the annual salary for a junior employee and up to 400% of the annual salary for executives. If you have high employee churn, then you will be spending a lot on replacing staff. Even worse, these staff will be inexperienced, reducing their productivity.

To decide if your current office is contributing to high employee churn, hold leaving interviews or surveys with leaving staff. There, you could ask them about their reasons for leaving, and see if the office is a contributing factor. You could also do the same for interviewees that refused job offers. If the workspace design, location, or experience gets regularly mentioned, then you should certainly consider an office fit out.

Can You Afford It?

As mentioned earlier, office fit outs are expensive. It’s important you take your company’s available funds into consideration when deciding if you should go ahead with your office fit out. If you are a bootstrapped startup, or your industry faces an uncertain future, it may not be an appropriate time to make a big investment in real estate.

However, there is more to the cost consideration than the initial outlay. You will also need to consider the return on investment that an office fit out will provide. Even if your company is cash-strapped, an office fit out that significantly improves the productivity of your people will rapidly pay itself off. To learn more about the return on investment you can expect from your office fit out, read “What is the ROI of an Office Fit Out?”

Making Your Office Fit Out Decision

Overall, an office fit out can be a worthwhile investment for businesses looking to maximise the performance of their staff and real estate. By creating a workspace that brings your brand to life, enables future growth, and reduced employee turnover, an office fit out can help improve your company.

However, an office fit out may not necessarily be right for you. If you are currently lacking funds, you may not able to afford a fit out in the short-term, regardless of the long-term benefits. If you are going through a lot of short-term change, then it would be worthwhile to wait until your situation has stabilised before making a long-term investment in an office fit out. If you are not clear as to the business case for your project, then you won’t be able to justify the project to your leadership team.

To learn more about whether you should go ahead with your office fit out, read about the “Top 7 Benefits of Office Relocation”. There, we’ll walk you through 7 of the most important benefits of an office relocation, and how you can maximise their impact on your project. To find out more about the specific ways an office fit out can help your business, download “10 ways your office can make and save you money”.

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