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Office Refurbishment v Office Relocation - Which is Best for Me?

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

Office Refurbishment v Office Relocation

Is your lease ending, and you don’t know whether to renew or look for a new space? Does your office design have problems that you don’t think can be fixed? If so, you need to decide whether to relocate or refurbish your office. It’s a big decision that will have a major impact on business for years to come, so you need to get it right.


In this article, we’ll walk you through the 5 essential aspects you need to consider when making this decision. By the end, you’ll be able to decide whether your company should relocate or refurbish office. But first, what exactly is the difference between refurbishment and relocation?


What is The Difference Between Office Refurbishment and Relocation?

Office refurbishment is the process of adapting your current space to bring it in line with your current and future workspace needs. Office refurbishments can vary in scope from replacing some of the furniture to stripping your office back to a shell and rebuilding it. It gives you the opportunity to rethink your workspace without all the added complications of moving offices.


Office relocation, on the other hand, involves fitting out a new office from scratch. You then have to relocate all your people and equipment to the new office. You have a completely blank slate to work with, and an excellent opportunity to completely rethink the way your company and people work.


Space

The first aspect to consider when making your relocate vs refurbish decision is the size of your current space. If your office is overcrowded or far too large, then you should probably relocate. However, overcrowding doesn’t always mean you need to move office. The average company has 30-50% more real estate than it needs! To learn more, read How Much Office Space Do I Need?


Space is about more than quantity - quality is also key. If your office doesn’t have enough collaboration or hybrid working spaces, then this needs to be fixed. Whether this is best done in your current or a new office depends on how easy it is to refurbish your existing space.


The bottom line when it comes to space is whether you can achieve what you need to within your current space. If so, then you should look at the other factors to decide which option is best for you. If not, then you have no option but to relocate.


Disruption

Another key consideration is the level of disruption during the project. As well as taking up a lot of your time to plan and manage, office fit outs can disrupt your whole team. A project will temporarily reduce the productivity of your team. This will affect performance during the project and as they adjust to the new design post-project.


How much disruption an office refurbishment creates depends on the scope of the work. Aesthetic changes to certain parts of your office could be completed out of hours, almost eliminating disruption. Completely gutting and rebuilding your office, on the other hand, will make it unusable for months.


Office relocations take a lot more time to plan than office refurbishments. This is because relocations have several extra steps such as searching for new offices and negotiating terms. Your people will also take some time to get used to a completely new office in a new location. However, the actual work tends to be less disruptive because your staff can continue to work as normal.


Office relocations tend to be more disruptive than office refurbishments, as they take a lot more planning and your staff will need time to settle in your new office. However, while disruption can be very frustrating, it’s a short-term consideration, so you need to keep it in the context of the long-term benefits.


Cost

Cost is a crucial part of any stay-vs-go discussion. While it doesn’t change what is best for your business, it does limit what is possible. If your company has a low budget, there is no point in planning a relocation to a cutting-edge workspace.


Office renovation costs vary widely, depending on the scope and size of the works. Often, they are more cost-effective than moving office. This is because refurbishments often use a lot of what is already in your office, such as furniture and HVAC.


As well as the cost of creating an office from scratch, there are also several additional costs involved in relocating your office. Finding a new space and negotiating the lease will require expert help. You will also need a removal company to move your equipment to your new office. It is also worth considering how your current lease compares with modern market rates, and if you are likely to get a better (or worse) deal on a different space.


It's important that you consider the return on investment over the lifetime of your office. A relocation may cost more initially, but if it makes your people a lot more productive, then it will be a very good investment. You will also need to consider the operating costs. Moving to a new office with modern and efficient systems will cost a lot less to run.


Culture

Your workspace has a big impact on company culture. There are 3 major ways to improve your company culture through workspace. These are creating a brand experience that reflects & enhances your culture, increasing collaboration space to aid communication, and creating an office that improves the physical & mental health of your staff.


If your brand and culture have evolved over recent years and your office hasn’t kept up, your office will feel tired and outdated. In this situation, a refurbishment is perfectly adequate. It can lend a fresh feel to the space while avoiding the extra complexities of relocation.


However, office relocation does offer several benefits from a cultural perspective. A new office in a new location offers a great opportunity for a culture reset. This is especially relevant for companies that have recently merged, as it allows both cultures to be combined in an all-new space.


From a cultural perspective, the relocation v renovation debate tends toward refurbishment, simply because it can accomplish just as much without the extra cost and disruption of moving offices. However, a brand new space can help reset culture, so it should be considered.


Talent

Talent attraction and retention is a crucial part of the stay v go debate. For the last 3 years, attracting and retaining top talent ranks as the top concern for CEOs globally. This is only going to become more important in years to come, and the workspace is a battlefield in the war for talent.


Offering a great workspace experience is essential to attracting and retaining top talent. If your workspace experience is not as good as it could be, then an office refurbishment may well be right for you. You can completely transform the layout and design of your office, giving it a completely different look and feel.


However, office refurbishment can't change one thing about your office: the location. If your workspace is in a poor building or a difficult-to-access location, then the employee experience will be sub-par, even if the office is amazing. In that situation, an office move will be necessary.


Once again, the default answer to the move/ renovate debate is renovate. Most of the time it is sufficient, and you avoid the added steps of moving office. However, if there is something about your office that is harming your ability to keep & recruit staff that can't be fixed by refurbishment, you will need to move office.


Office Refurbishment v Relocation: Which is Best for Me?

Deciding whether to stay or go is a crucial decision. It will affect so much more than your lease costs over the next 5-10 years. It will have a significant impact on talent attraction & retention, the productivity of your people, and their office attendance levels. It could even limit or empower company growth.


Now that you know about the 5 crucial elements of the stay-vs-go debate, you’re ready and informed to make the best decision for your company. Both options have their respective advantages and disadvantages, so you need to define and prioritise what is most important to you.


If you think refurbishment is the right choice, download your copy of How to Plan an Office Refurbishment. It’s a 7-step guide to help you plan your office refurbishment. This will take you from defining your brief right through to signing the contract. Download your copy here.


If you think relocation is the best option, download our Ultimate Guide to Office Relocation. It’s a comprehensive guide that will help you understand everything that goes into an office relocation, what it costs, and how long it will take.

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