Last modified: 2020-02-27 | Approximate reading time 8 mins
It’s possible that we spend as much time, if not more, in our offices than our homes. Hence the importance that the office environment is pleasant. Indeed, the layout and development of an office can have a serious impact on satisfaction and in turn, employee productivity. When a workspace is poorly laid out, it can affect many aspects of daily office life. With this in mind, a transformation project can be an improvement for your environment, both practically and aesthetically-speaking.
Are you considering transforming your corporate office, but don’t know where to start? In this article, we present 10 renovation projects to optimize your work environment. We’ll also offer some other related information so that you can better target the needs of yourself and your employees.
Before you dive into an office renovation project, you should take the time to organize the process and make intelligent choices. To begin preparing, it’s important to first make observations about the daily life in your office. Then, start approaching coworkers and colleagues to find out what their needs are, what they would like to see improve, and so on.
Here are some common office complaints:
Important note: In Quebec, if you decide to use the services of a contractor, they must have their license from the CCQ because this type of project is considered a commercial renovation. The prices quoted in some of the articles presented below will therefore no longer be valid, as the rates for commercial projects can greatly vary. If you live in another province, please check with your local government to see what the rules and regulations are with regards to commercial renovations.
As noted above, one of the most common employee complaints is related to noise issues. This is further true in open concept offices, which are currently widely popular. If there’s one reno project that takes on the most importance when it comes to creating a pleasant work environment, soundproofing comes out on top of the list.
The article 10 ways to soundproof your home presents different materials available on the market for soundproofing. Many office-specific products are also available, including some panels to install on walls and ceilings, which can be donned and dressed up with various decorations.
Regarding insulation, you may have gathered employee feedback about the temperature in the office. If you’re in an old building, it may be difficult to control the temperature because the insulation of walls, doors, and windows will not be as good as in a building that is newly built. In this case, insulation work will be required.
Working in a beautiful environment can have a positive effect on the moods of your employees. Of course, decorating tastes will vary from person to person, but some criteria will remain the same. For example, it is best to determine a colour code that will serve as a basis for your entire office. This colour code will be used to choose the colours of the surfaces including walls, floors, ceilings, doors, furniture, and accessories. Often, companies will opt for hues that are already a part of their visual identity and will add some colours that match their tastes.
You should also take into account that some colours create a more pleasant and productive environment for employees. Indeed, chicken yellow walls could stimulate creativity, but they could also be stressful for those trying to focus. You should evaluate what type of mood you’re trying to create, and potentially focus on bright colours in specific places. Some examples of colours recommended for an office environment are as follows:
Your company may grow and expand by hiring new employees, and their desks will be placed where excess space is available. This arrangement will only be appropriate for a short period of time, but as your office grows, this layout will need to be reconsidered. If you’re in this situation, take steps to consider a layout that works for everyone.
Create an office floor plan, laying out things in their current state. Now, see if you can move some elements around to create a more ergonomic layout.
The design of movable walls continues to improve. Forget about the outdated cardboard sheet on wheels type of walls, which were common. Now, there are innovative products on the market that have the ability to insulate and soundproof in satisfactory ways. Knowing this, you could consider removing some permanent partitions to install moveable walls that allow you to make the space more versatile.
Glass partitions can be interesting if you want to increase the brightness in some parts of your office. You could consider installing moveable or fixed glass partitions. Not only this, you can decide if the glass will be transparent on both sides or just one in order to create some privacy.
This question has not been directly addressed in our previous sections, but if you’re considering a major transformation for your office, it’s worth asking. Open concept, as well as closed offices, have their advantages and disadvantages.
Here are some points to consider when making a decision:
These points are presented together below, as some may be perceived as both positive and negative, depending on perceptions.
Open concept office
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Lack of storage space can lead to a variety of problems in a work environment, including decreased productivity, organizational problems, frustration among employees and so on. Establishing storage systems following a clear and foolproof logic will help you on many levels.
Depending on the needs of the company, this system can be simple or more elaborate. For example, if you already have shelving as well as storage furniture but are simply not organized, it is easy enough to buy bins, dividers and other accessories that can be used to better distribute the items.
If your office is sorely lacking in organization, then you have the opportunity to create a fully customized system tailored to your business' needs. Shelves, filing cabinets, drawers, and accessories can be part of your plan. Everything can be purchased in-store, or custom-made from a specialized company.
Does your office decor lack charm and personality? In addition to painting and other wall coverings, you can also brighten spaces by choosing accessories and elements that add life. Consider plants (real or fake), carpets and works of art.
Painting, sculpture and other forms of artistic expression can add a certain dynamism to the decor. You can print photos, buy frames from IKEA or take a tour of your favorite art gallery to find pieces that fit into your decor. Did you know it’s even possible to rent works of art?
For example, in Quebec, this can happen through the Artothèque in Montreal and Imageothèque de Québec. In Ontario, similar services are offered through different organizations such as the Art Gallery of Ontario or the Canada Council Art Bank. This type of service allows businesses to host beautiful works for a few months to decorate spaces.
If the floors of your office are no longer in good condition, a renovation project could be appropriate. Is your office floor carpeted? If it hasn’t been cleaned recently, dirt that has penetrated the material could adversely affect the air quality. Carpeting has certain advantages, in particular, because of the soundproofing properties. Therefore, you may consider replacing it or having it cleaned.
In addition to carpet, common office flooring materials are vinyl, laminate, and concrete. That said, hardwood and natural stone can also be very well adapted to this kind of environment, Here are some articles on flooring materials that you might find useful:
Lack of lighting can be harmful in a work environment because, despite the brightness produced by screens, it’s not enough to create a pleasant atmosphere. Obviously, some spaces such as editing rooms do not require the same lighting as a call center. Good lighting will work to make people both more productive and more awake.
You will need to consider several aspects including the type of lighting, the placement, and arrangement of lamps as well as the type of bulb you’ll be using. A good tip is to avoid neon lighting as much as possible, as this can lead to migraines and accelerate fatigue among employees.
Everyone has their own work technique, and although some may feel comfortable in a chaotic environment, that’s often not the case. Most people will feel better in an organized workspace with uncluttered surfaces.
One of the often overlooked projects is to hide the many wires that are attached to devices throughout the office including computers, printers, monitors, speakers and so on. The ground wires may be hidden with carpets or systems specifically designed to conceal and organize them.
As for the wires on desks, accessories are available to prevent them from mixing up. With all this saved space, you’ll be able to install plants and storage accessories!
If you decide to start a large-scale office renovation project, it is strongly recommended to use the services of a planning expert or an interior designer. These experts have the experience and knowledge to make the best decisions and realistically adjust your budget. Here’s another article to consult in order to continue your reflection:
Last but not least, what can you do during periods of renovation so that the work will not disrupt your employees? First, it’s necessary to determine how long the project will take. Speak with your contractor and figure out what the priorities are. Would it be more efficient to close the office for a few days to get the job done quickly?
Or, the project could be divided into stages that would be accomplished one-by-one on evenings and weekends while the office is empty. If there happens to be an emergency, you could arrange to have some employees work from home for a few days or temporarily move to a part of the office not affected by the work.
Finally, you could rent a coworking space for a few days or weeks to keep employees productive.
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