The time has come to plan your office fit-out and you are not sure where to start or what to include… well, you are not alone! In fact, many business owners or sole traders fail to identify what is important and needed until after a few months of doing the work and noting these absences, but that doesn’t have to be you. We have scoured the market, spied on the setups of successful teams and have compiled this guide of how to plan out your office fit-out.
Start With The Technology
You are not going to get far without a reliable operating system, an HP printer, and a second screen to allow for greater agility. These are the fundamentals you should have in your fit-out as anything else will be used secondary to these. Depending on what you are comfortable with and the nature of your work, you will choose Windows or a Mac, but remember to apply a future-lens in case your fit-out grows to include more employees and you have to supply them with the same operating system.
If you are doing this office fit-out on a budget you might be tempted to buy refurbished technologies, but sometimes this upfront saving is not worth the headache of ongoing maintenance so try to buy new if speed and reliability are important to you.
All office furniture is not made equal, just as you can’t expect an IKEA lounge to feel as good as a Pottery Barn lounge. Aim for ergonomic chairs and desks and insist on trying them before you place an order so you can identify which are going to work best for you. With more research coming out about the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle, it has never been a more important consideration and one that will actually make working longer hours more manageable. Standing desks and flexible laptop stands can also be a great investment if you want to experiment with heights and posture, so don’t rush this step.
On a more superficial level, your office fit-out furniture says a lot about your business and the level of detail and care that you apply. So if you are having trouble justifying the price of high-quality office furniture, know that it is adding to your brand perception.
Facilities And Amenities
There are certain laws in place that stipulate the quality and quantity of your facilities and amenities, which is typically based on how many people are using that office space. In light of that, be sure to include your facilities and amenities in the office fit-out plan so that you are not only compliant but you are offering your team a workable environment. This small gesture goes a long way, with the benefits of these facilities and amenities appreciated every day. Basic amenities include a fridge, sink, bench and a place to store food. The basic facilities offered would be a toilet and sink in a dedicated bathroom space.
Location Is Important
Where you choose to establish your office is a big deal and one that can be a nightmare to change if you make a misstep and sign a commercial lease in the wrong area. If you are already in the location that you love but wish to change only the fit-out, then let the location influence your decor choices. A city address might call for an urban fit-out, whereas an office space in the suburbs might fit in by having some soft homely touches. You really want your clients, customers and colleagues to enter your office location and be transported based on the fit-out choices you have made. If this feels outside of your skillset, engage a stylist to see if they can give you some ideas.
Power And Connectivity
Will your internet plan cover your work in the office full time, and perhaps the workload of your employees? If you are unsure then it might be time to get familiar with the prices and providers that are best for commercial offices. You also want to position your router somewhere that will be central to the core work being done and do your best to avoid any pockets or corners that have less connectivity than the rest of the space.
Power sockets are another consideration that often gets forgotten about until you have no more available sockets to get the job done. Speak with a commercial electrician about installing some additional power sockets as they will always be used, whether it’s for more devices, music or even some kitchen appliances. The best part about contracting this work yourself is that you can choose exactly where they go and better support your office workflow.
Having a secure office is an absolute necessity, and few insurers will even look at your office if you have not established the basic security measures in your office fit-out. A smart locking system would be the bare minimum, but also install security alarms and cameras to ward off any burglaries or vandalism. You can also install some finger-scan recognition points around the office to access private draws and rooms which can be especially effective if you have lots of contractors and clients coming through your office when you are not there.
Your security efforts also want to be extended online, so work with an IT professional in establishing some virus software and any other features that might be essential to the type of work you do. Good practise is always to change passwords and codes regularly, so be sure to have a system in place that prompts you and your team to do so.
Planning an office fit-out can be a fun task, especially if you have free reign over what to implement. Take your time and remember to do some mock-ups so you are not planning blindly but know exactly what everything should look like.