Countdown to your office fit-out or move — 7 steps to a new HQ

An office fit-out or move is an opportunity, not a cost. In the last of our eight-part series, we bring it all together with a sum-up of everything you need to know. 

If you’ve followed our series, this is the stage where you get the planning right before you execute the plan. There may be some things you’ve forgotten, so we hope this helps consolidate your thinking. Or it could be you’re just starting to plan this whole thing. Either way, open your workflow app, start up your project management software or grab your notebook. Let’s see if we can fill any gaps (or get you off to the best possible start). 

You’ll see everything laid out in detail in the The Rhino Fit-out Guide and our seven other blogs. It’s a lot to absorb, so here’s a summary.

But first, some frightening facts.

“Alarming” lack of preparation and experience

Online resource, Help Moving Office, says it is “alarming” how little strategic and operational attention most companies pay to the whole office relocation process. According to its own market research, more than two thirds (70%) of office move project leaders are doing it for the first time. It’s no surprise that it lists the three most common mistakes as 1) lack of experience, 2) underestimating what’s involved and 3) leaving the planning too late. 

1] VISION

To kick things off, we’ve created out own list five common pitfalls of an office move or fit-out (and how to avoid them). Not surprisingly, the first pitfall is inadequate preparation, which includes scant research, a lack of vision, short-sighted strategy and an inexperienced team.

Regardless, one of the first things you need to decide is whether it’s time to move or stay put and refit? Either way, every renovation project needs a relocation, and every office move needs some degree of refurbishment. This will help: Refurb or relocate? Three steps to help you decide what your workspace needs.

As part of the vision section you also need to ask five importance questions1) WHY are we doing this? 2)WHEN do we want to move? 3) WHO will be involved?4) WHAT do we want from the new workspace? and 5) HOW MUCH can we spend? The next sections will help you work all this out.

2] DATA

To answer some of these questions, gather the data about occupancy rates and user perspectives through a space usage audit and staff consultation. This will help you work out space efficiency calculations as well as get buy-in early on. (You also need to know about ICE Regs if you have more than 50 staff).

Our Office Move Checklist,includes a round-up of office design trends, our top tips for the pre-planning stage of a workspace fit-out, plus statistics on how offices perform against workplace sentiment metrics. Sorry to spoil it, but according to research, most offices perform terribly when it comes to wellbeing, recruitment and productivity. This is your chance to upgrade your workspace in these respects.

If the answer to this question (WHY are we doing this?) in section one was to attract and retain talent, you need to know that more than half of UK workers would turn down a job if they didn’t like the office space, according to a survey by Furniture123.co.uk, and one third are just not happy with their workspace (Steelcase Global Report). So workspace design is a crucial investment, not an annoying cost.

3] TEAM                                                                                                       

Who do you need on your office relocation or renovation project team? Building the team is crucial. Especially as most office moves rarely end well for the team leader, according to research by the International Facility Management Association: “on average, two thirds of employees who are given the task of managing an office relocation are fired or quit within six months of the move.”

Headed up by a project leader, you’ll need an internal team and external partners and contractors. The project lead is most important, and this blog includes a job description of sorts: Picking the A-team for your office move or fit-out.It also shows the internal departments you need and the external contractors and partners.

Our tip here is that, if you pick the right interiors partner they will help you manage all the other contractors.

4] DESIGN

Designing the space, and everything in itis sometimes the hardest part. Without the vision, the data and the right team in place, the design brief will be incomplete, which will make it tough for an interiors firm to create what you want. Things to research here are office design trends like resimercialflexible working, communitywellbeing and how your workplace can attract and retain staff. 

You need to think about outside space as well as inside space, and don’t forget the hygiene factors. Then you can get to the design of the working space itself. For this,we recommend you consider keeping it agile during an office fit-out or relocation. But don’t take our word for it. Agiledesign has finally “becoming more accepted,”according to the EMEA Fit-Out Cost Guide (2017/18) from commercial real estate services and investment firm, CBRE, which compares pricing in 64 cities in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

An agile workspace features mixed-use areas with a variety of levels, workspaces and settings. Things to think about here are how your staff use the workspace to relax, eat, socialise, learn and brainstorm, not just work. As part of our agile design,we recommend four zones: focus, collaboration, social and learning/meeting.

If this all new to you? Don’t worry, our guide has everything you need to know in one book.

5] LEGAL

Some of the regulations, permissions and licences you’ll need for a new office involve lengthy processes, so make sure you leave plenty of time. Of course, some legal support is vital here. There’s an alphabetical list of the most important ones in our guide.

They include building regulations, alterations licensing, planning permissions and environmental legislative targets; health and safety regulatory requirements, disability discrimination compliance and legislation around leases.

6] MONEY

The budget is one of the biggest challenges in a project like this because there are so many moving parts.

The CBRE’s fit-out cost guide may help you work it out, but, with something this complex, there’s just no substitute for a personalised quote from an interiors company.

To help you get your head around all the costs involved, we’ve gathered them together in another alphabetical list: A-Z of office fit-out costs.

7] MEASURE

Just like at the start of this project, you need to monitor and measure the end result so you can see how it fared against your starting point. One of the things you’ll do here is assesshow your people fared during the change. Our tip here is to appoint a Change Champion and embrace satisfaction surveys once everyone is in the new workspace.

A new workspace will bring new processes, workflows and protocols; different zones, new furniture, new technology. These all challenge embedded perceptions, and the changes won’t please everyone.

And ‘change’ is the key word here. According to changemanagement consultant, Prosci , three quarters (76%) of CEOs say their ability to adapt to change is a “key competitive advantage”. Read about How to manage change during an office relocation or fit-out for more on this. It includes the types of changes to expect, why staff resist change and some recommendations for managing it.

That’s the end of our eight-part fit-out series.

For a step-by-step process that takes you through the whole project in detail, order a copy of our Fit-out Guide, a comprehensive, handbook for creating a new workspace (whether it’s a refurbishment or a relocation).

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