Kent and London Office Refurbishment / Office Design Mistakes To Avoid

For many Kent and London businesses their office design and refurbishment project is likely to be the largest investment in their business. Given this it’s vital to ensure that you avoid these common pitfalls and mistakes if you want your Kent or London office refurbishment to be successful.

Considering A DIY Kent or London Office Refurbishment Solution

Some businesses decide to do their office design and refurbishment in house. They may see it as a way of saving money and time but trying to carry out an office refurbishment by yourself, without the requisite know-how, can be a costly mistake.

An office refurbishment project requires multiple competencies and a range of expertise. There are a great many things that need to be taken into account including working out what space you have, to putting together a design of how your new office will look after refurbishment, to creating digital 3D renders, to ensuring you utilise all of your available space to its best advantage, to costing the refurbishment and then carrying out any building work or making any required changes to office partitioning, ceilings, flooring, cladding, carpentry, electrical outlets, decorating and furniture as required. It’s a complex process. When things go wrong it can be costly if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Unless you own your own building you will need to discuss any changes with your landlord. Making changes to your office space may require approval depending on your tenancy agreement. It’s important to understand what you can and can’t do within the agreement and to inform your landlord in advance of seeking to make any changes. If you fail to do this you may find yourself in breach of your tenancy agreement which could lead to legal issues.

You also have to understand which legislation, regulations and restrictions affect the refurbishment of your building and ensure you take them into account before any work begins e.g. if installing partitioning or ventilation or if other structural changes are required. Fire safety and health and safety regulations must also be adhered to. If you do not follow the current legislation you could be fined for non compliance.

A professional office refurbishment and fit out company will know which rules and regulations apply to your project.

Failure To Plan

It’s true what they say. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

With something as complex as an office design and refurbishment it’s extremely important to plan each step. A failure to plan is one of the biggest mistakes that any Kent or London business can make when it comes to their office fit out. An office refurbishment isn’t something you can do ad hoc. It must be planned and include contingency planning in case of delays or if something goes wrong.

To be able to plan effectively and avoid delays etc. you’ll need an understanding of all of the steps, elements and competencies involved in an office refurbishment. Without this knowledge you’ll simply be guessing and will be far more likely to make unforeseen mistakes and spend more time trying to resolve them than you would than simply hiring a professional office refurbishment company to carry out your office refurbishment.

Incorrect Budgeting

Making sure you have the right budget in place, including factoring in a contingency amount, before starting your office fit out is a must. Without effective budgeting you may find your project stalls before it even starts.

It’s important to factor in all costs and to do this you’ll need to understand everything that will be required to complete your office refurbishment. Given the current uncertainly around building supplies and increasing costs it’s vital that you have the right knowledge required to set the budget. There is nothing worse than finding you don’t have enough money set aside or realise that you’ve paid more than you needed to. A professional fit out company will be able to advise and guide you on what’s required and they’ll be able to source the right materials for the best prices.

Unrealistic Completion Date

As with any project, especially one that can be complex, you need to set a realistic completion date. Fully understanding what work is involved, how long it will take, how it meshes with any other work required and factoring in some delay time will go a long way to setting timelines that can be set and met.

If unrealistic dates are set there is likely to be issues further down the line as any future plans you may have e.g. work schedules, projects, meetings, new marketing or brand launch etc. are likely to be delayed causing further interruptions and disruptions and potentially requiring more money to put right.

Inappropriate Design Ideas

It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of trying to be exactly like others when it comes to your office design and refurbishment.

Sometimes it’s entirely appropriate to follow market trends and there’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration from other businesses but for the most part what works for another company may not necessarily be suitable for you. Instead you should look to your own business in working up the right design for your company. You need to consider your businesses values and objectives and think about what will set your company apart from any others.

A one size fits all approach also isn’t true for all businesses. Just because a competitor is using an open plan office design doesn’t mean that’s the right layout for you or your staff.

You need to consider what workspaces you need for your staff to be able to carry out their work efficiently and effectively. Does the work they’re doing require privacy? Do they need to move around freely? Do they work individually or in teams? Do teams need to collaborate? Do you need meeting and brainstorming areas? Do staff carry out different tasks that require different working spaces? All of these questions need to be considered. The resulting answers will then help to inform the type of office layout that your business requires.

Poorly Prepared Design Brief

Your design brief sets the tone of what you require from your office refurbishment. If it’s not prepared properly, doesn’t have the information required to define your requirements or has been poorly put together then you may be setting up your Kent or London office refurbishment to fail.

Taking the time to think about what you require and what your objectives are will ensure the right information is in place to make the right judgements on what layout will work best to meet your staff needs (short and longer term) and business processes, what furniture will be required and what colour scheme will work best for your brand etc. Without this base on which to build, your office refurbishment company may struggle to design and build an office refurbishment that will meet your business objectives and expectations.

Forgetting To Involve Employees

The people most likely to be affected by an office refurbishment will be your staff. They are the ones that will use the office space day in and day out. If the design isn’t right it’ll be your staff that will suffer and in turn this is likely to have a negative impact on your business.

Before making any design decisions it’s worth consulting your staff. In fact it’s a good idea to have at least one or more members of staff on any design team you may put together to gather their ideas on what works and what doesn’t. You could also ask all employees to submit ideas or fill in a survey anonymously. By getting their input from day one and by continuing to consult them throughout the design process you are far more likely to come out of the project with a space that your staff will approve of and appreciate.

Designing Only For the Here And Now

It’s a mistake to only design for your business needs in the short term. If you don’t take into account future expansion and factor in scalability you may find that you very quickly outgrow your newly refurbished office space.

Consider where you want to be in a year or two. Think about your future business plans and how they impact your need for more space or changes to your current space. If you’re thinking of taking on more employees in the short or long term consider how you will accommodate them. Make sure the office refurbishment company you partner with know your longer term business plans as well as your short term goals so they can factor these into your office design.

Not Taking Health and Well-Being Into Account

It’s a mistake to prioritise aesthetics over health and wellbeing. Just because something looks good doesn’t mean that it’s the right choice for your office fit out and it may actually have a negative impact on the health and wellbeing of your employees.

We know that poor health and wellbeing is estimated to cost UK companies billions of pounds annually due to sick leave. In London alone, a business with around 250 employees is likely to lose around £250,000 annually due to staff being ill and absent from work.

By factoring in the health and wellbeing of staff within your office design you can ensure that they have an optimum working environment. Think about utilising as much natural light as possible within your office areas, design break out areas where staff can move away from their desks; build collaborative zones where they can come together and kitchen and tea points where staff can take time out and relax. It’s also important to look at factors like temperature and humidity and incorporate heating, ventilation and air conditioning to ensure temperature and humidity can be regulated. Good quality ergonomic furniture and ensuring works stations are setup correctly can also play a part in ensuring your staff’s health and wellbeing.

Poor Acoustics

Noisy work environments are the bane of many workers. According to Ecophon noise is a “superdriver” which affects “individual focus and collaborative work, meetings, phone conversations, conferences, reading and thinking.“ They go onto say that “noise is probably the most prevalent annoyance source in offices, and can lead to increased stress for occupants.”

This is backed up by research on “Office noise and employee concentration: Identifying causes of disruption and potential improvements” which states that of those surveyed 99% reported that their concentration was impaired by various components of office noise, especially telephones left ringing at vacant desks and people talking in the background.

It’s therefore important to get office acoustics right at the planning stage of an office refurbishment to try to minimise any ambient background office noise and provide a quieter working environment for your staff.

Forgetting To Bring The Outside Inside

We know from scientific research that there is a link between exposure to natural light, being able to view the outside world from inside an office and good health and wellbeing. In fact we understand that incorporating direct or indirect elements from nature into the office environment can help to reduce stress levels and blood pressure. We also know that bringing nature inside can boost productivity and creativity.

When designing your office space incorporate natural elements such as wooden flooring and furniture, plant or moss walls, wall plants, living pictures or individual plants. You can even use plants as natural dividers.

Failing To Find the Right Kent or London Office Refurbishment Company

It’s important to find the right office refurbishment company. Ensuring they have the right expertise, have carried out similar or the same type of projects to yours and checking they have a solid reputation is all vital in finding the right partner.

Carry out due diligence on the Kent or London office refurbishment company of your choice before signing on the dotted line. Check the company has case studies or projects you can look at and ask to see testimonials or reviews of their work and then check the work or reviews are real.

How Can JBH Refurbishments Help?

JBH Refurbishments have over 30 years experience in office design and refurbishment and can advise on all aspects of your Kent or London office refurbishment. To find out how we can help us via our contact form or by calling us on 0333 207 0339.

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