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Pros and Cons of Phased Office Refurbishment

Updated: Nov 21

Occupied Office Refurbishment

An office refurbishment can be a big project. Often, churn works and light touch refurbishments can be completed outside of working hours. This causes little disruption to your staff. But when you need to carry out a more comprehensive refurbishment, what will you do with your staff? How will you keep your business running during the project?

While asking your staff to work from home for a few weeks might seem easy, no in-person communication between staff creates a lot of challenges. In addition, there are a lot of cultural challenges to having a dispersed team. These can cause serious problems and make your project even more complicated.

But what if there was a better way? A way of keeping all your staff in the office while the project is going on. With a phased project programme, this is possible. Your staff work in one part of the workspace, while the other half is refurbished. Once complete, we move your team into the refurbished half and complete the project.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to this approach, and it’s not the best option for every company. In this article, we will run through those benefits and drawbacks, to help you decide if this is an option for you.

Pros of Occupied Office Refurbishment


The crucial advantage that a phased office refurbishment provides is continuity. For many companies, working from home is not possible. If you have specialist equipment that is shared by different people, or equipment that is not suitable for domestic environments, then you will need to keep your people in the same place.

Many companies have complex IT requirements. For example, having an entire team of traders working from home for a short period would be extremely expensive. It would also be impractical, as domestic power supplies are not sufficient for their needs. This would not only make them less productive but creates a serious fire hazard.

Administration and Logistics

Reduced administration workload is another advantage of keeping your staff in the office. Relocating tens or hundreds of staff and their personal effects, as well as any specialist equipment to a completely new location is a lot of work. By keeping all your people and equipment in the same space, you reduce a lot of that workload, making your life much simpler.

There are also further wellbeing considerations to having all your staff working from home for several weeks or months. Many of your people may not have adequate Wi-Fi or digital services to be able to work from home. You will also need to ensure your staff have an ergonomic workstation. While the kitchen table may be fine for one or two days of home working a week, months of working in a poor body position will cause your staff significant health problems.

Cons of Occupied Office Refurbishment


While there are significant advantages to a phased refurbishment project, it is not suitable for every company. While we make every project as simple and hassle-free as we possibly can, office refurbishments are always complex. Splitting the project into 2 or 3 parts is going to make it a lot more complex.

Most occupied office refurbishments also include out-of-hours (OOH) works. Especially noisy and disruptive tasks are carried out early in the morning or at weekends. As these works have to be completed in small parts around normal working hours, they take longer and are more complex to manage.

While not directly related to the work, increased staff density can also make your office refurbishment. If you are trying to fit your staff into half the space they are used to, you will have to consider the compliance implications around fire safety, staff density, and air quality. Making sure all your people have access to the space and facilities they need to work effectively is also essential.

Increased Works Costs

The major disadvantage of phased office refurbishments is the increased costs. A major part of this is the increased labour costs. As a result of phasing, contractors have to move on and off-site multiple times during the works, increasing their overhead costs. Working in an occupied office is also slower because contractors have to take care to be as quiet as possible.

Out-of-hours labour is around 50% more expensive than in hours, depending on whether it is carried out in the mornings, evenings, or at weekends. It also tends to take longer to complete, because the equipment has to be dismantled and set up each time, rather than left ready for the next day.

The complexity also causes a rise in project management costs. As the works are effectively split into 2 or 3 parts, this requires a lot more project management. The out-of-hours works also require more management.

Is Occupied Office Refurbishment Right For You?

Ultimately, the most important thing to consider is what will keep your staff and company performing as well as possible. If you have a particularly long project that cannot be phased, then a temporary relocation may work well for you. This is an excellent option if there is a vacant floor in your existing building that you can use. If your project will last less than a month and your staff don’t need access to specialist equipment during the project, then asking staff to work from home temporarily is a good option. If, on the other hand, your staff need access to equipment that isn’t practical to move, or they need to be in the same space frequently, then a phased office refurbishment might work for you.

A well-designed office refurbishment will increase your company’s performance significantly. Whether it’s a light-touch refresh, a mid-touch refurbishment or a complete strip out & fit out, we have the track record to deliver your project with minimal disruption to your business.

At Zentura, we provide both phased and non-phased office refurbishments for companies in London and the southeast. If you’re not sure what the best option for you is or would like to get started with your office refurbishment project, schedule a call with one of our office refurbishment experts today.

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