When to Refurbish Your Office
Making sure your office meets the needs of your staff and company is essential. If your people are working in an office that hampers their wellbeing, communication, productivity, and/ or engagement, then the performance of your entire company will drop.
However, making sure your office maximises the performance of your staff is a challenge. This is because the workspace needs of your company and staff are always changing. Making sure your workspace is maximising the performance of your people is like aiming at a moving target.
Whenever the needs of their staff significantly change, many company leaders and office managers consider an office refurbishment. Without the disruption and cost of office relocation, you can update your office to suit your evolving needs. However, many changes in your workspace needs are gradual, which means they’re difficult to notice until they have done a lot of damage.
At Zentura, we often speak to companies who are aware that their office needs improvement in some way. However, by the time they have realised that they have a problem, a lot of damage to their staff and/or company performance has already been done.
Monitoring the performance of your office and picking up early warning signs is vital to keep your people performing at their best. Here are 8 key indicators that you may need an office refurbishment.
1) Empty Desks
While there has been a lot of change in the way office staff work over the last few years, one permanent change has been the reduction of office-based desk work. Instead, many staff are doing individual work from home, and spending their time in the office collaborating with colleagues. As a result, many offices have a lot of underused desks, while their collaboration areas are overcrowded.
Having the right amount and types of office space is crucial. In 2019, collaboration spaces took up an average of 10% of the office. In 2023, it is between 35% and 45%. If your office has too many desks and not enough collaboration or breakout spaces, the performance of your people will be limited. You should consider refurbishing your office.
2) Low or Dropping Productivity
The office is no longer the only place to work. However, that doesn’t mean it’s obsolete. Far from it. The office still has a vital role to play in the future of work. By bringing your people together in one place, communication and culture are significantly improved.
In the last 3 years, most UK offices have seen productivity drops of 3-6%. Research shows that a well-designed office can increase productivity by up to 20%. If your people are not performing to the levels they used to, an office refurbishment could be part of the answer.
3) Poor Staff Wellbeing
Your people are your greatest asset. Keeping them happy and healthy is not only the right thing to do, it also has a direct impact on the success of your company. Low staff wellbeing contributes to poor culture, low productivity, and staff conflict. Outdated office designs that cram in desks regardless of staff wellbeing will reduce the performance of your people.
If your staff are regularly raising issues with the office space, then you should consider if many staff have the same issue. If so, a refurbishment might be required. Common staff complaints with your office include a lack of natural light, uncomfortable furniture, and noise levels. Resolving them will remove the frustration, and demonstrate to your people that you listen to them.
4) Recruitment and Retention Issues
Your office plays a crucial role in attracting the best staff to your company. First impressions are crucial, and a well-designed office is central to this. A survey of 1,000 UK office workers found that almost half of respondents agreed that the room where they were interviewed would influence their opinion of whether or not to accept a job offer.
Retaining your top staff is even more important than attracting the best people. If your office is a frustrating and unproductive place to work, your best staff may leave to work for a company that provides them with the workspace they need. If you are having trouble attracting and retaining the calibre of staff you need, then it may be time to consider an office renovation.
One of the most common issues we encounter when planning office projects with clients is overcrowding. So often, companies don’t consider future growth when designing their office. Consequently, their office becomes overcrowded before long.
However, overcrowding in your office doesn’t always mean you have no option but to move. The average organization has 30-50% wasted office space. By redesigning your office using modern space planning technology and expertise, you could prevent the extra disruption and expense of moving.
6) Lack of variety
If all your office has is rows and rows of desks with a few meeting rooms, this lack of variety will be hampering the performance of your staff. They have nothing between a single-person workspace and large meeting rooms. There is nowhere for the informal collaboration that is the backbone of hybrid working, or for impromptu 2 or 3-person catch-ups.
In order to get your staff back to the office as much as possible, your office has to offer a significant upgrade on their home workspace. This means collaboration and breakout spaces, as well as a community atmosphere that makes your people want to be in the office.
7) Outdated Branding
Many companies think office branding is their logo in the reception and a few walls painted in brand colours. As a result, the workspace experience they provide to their staff is much the same as any other office.
Over time, brands and cultures evolve. Your office may have been the perfect representation of your business 5 years ago when you moved in, but is that still the case? Working in an outdated and tired office will harm creativity and collaboration. You don’t always need to relocate again, but refreshing your office to bring it in line with your brand is well worth it.
8) Poor Acoustics
One of the most common complaints we hear talking to companies about potential projects is the lack of privacy. An office that is too noisy becomes very distracting for your staff. It takes up to 23 minutes to resume focus and maximum productivity after an interruption. If your office has poor acoustics, you could be reducing the productivity of your people.
Poor acoustics are not an inherent drawback of open-plan design – they are the result of poor space planning and acoustic design. The good news is that you don’t have to completely refurbish your office to improve the acoustics. By installing acoustic baffles or ceiling rafts, you can reduce the background noise in your office and add a design feature at the same time.
Do You Need an Office Refurbishment?
The workspace needs of your people and company are constantly evolving, so it’s essential to monitor the performance of your office. You can do this by getting feedback from staff and managers on your workspace, and tracking objective data such as staff retention rate and office occupation levels. You should also be constantly on the lookout for these 8 signs you might need an office refurbishment.
Preventing these issues, or picking them up early will mean they can be fixed relatively quickly and easily. If they become a major problem, then they are much harder to resolve, and will often require more than just an office refurbishment.
If you’re wondering if it’s time you did an office refurbishment, read How Often Do I Need to Refurbish My Office? There, we’ll explain 6 key considerations you should take into account when deciding if it's time for an office refurbishment.
If you think you do need an office refurbishment, download our 7-step guide on how to plan an office refurbishment. This will take you from defining your brief right through to signing the contract! Download your copy here.