Office renovation or relocation?

Why it should pray on the minds of business owners.

Either you’ve out-grown your current premises physically or you’ve out-grown it aesthetically (or to put it another way, your business is very 2017 whilst your office is stuck in 2005). In both instances, the decision whether to stay put and renovate or move on to pastures new can be a very tough call to make. In this post, we’re going to look at the arguments for and against each.

When size matters

In business, growth brings many things. Some of these are great, such as having a more lively Christmas party and a larger pool of talent (or lack thereof) from which to pick players for the company 5-a-side team. But growth also comes hand-in-hand with increasingly large, anxiety-inducing decisions; decisions which circumstances often dictate you don’t have much time to deliberate over.

If your company’s interior working environment has reached breaking point in simply in terms of room to work, it’s not always a cut-and-dry case of moving to bigger premises.  Your organisation and workforce may have outgrown the useable space your business currently occupies but you may simply not be using said space effectively. If it’s the latter, then some clever office layout and workspace planning can work wonders (that’s where we come in), but maybe relocation to a larger commercial premises is in order? As a business owner, how do you evaluate for and make this incredibly commonplace yet nevertheless painstaking decision?

There are a myriad of pros and cons, potential benefits and likewise pitfalls to both solutions, some of which cannot be anticipated or planned for (regardless of how well-calibrated your crystal ball happens to be). What you can do though, is make sure you’ve asked of yourself and your business all the right questions.

The main thing to keep in mind at all times is: what is best for right now, what is best for the future, and which of these takes priority.

Relocation

If it seems plain that your current location simply isn’t going to work anymore, perhaps because you’re anticipating your workforce doubling in the next 6 months and you’re already full-to-bursting, relocating might seem like a no-brainer. But it’s always worth consulting with a reputable commercial interior design company as you would be surprised what we can do with some innovative use of space. Moreover, once you’ve made that initial contact and seen how a modern office design and fit out company can visually interpret your brand whilst simultaneously maximising space efficiency, you may well decide you’re a good match for when it comes to fitting out your new office if you do decide to relocate.

There are other factors, however, that might make a decision to move the more obvious one. For example, the current premises may be judged to be poorly located, whether in terms of footfall if there’s a retail or public visibility aspect to your brand or business, or in terms of the location making you less competitive or appealing by association (with the area and/or other businesses).

Every business will have a different set of considerations. One that is universal, however, is which option will be more disruptive. Some would argue that a refit or renovation with all that entails (noisy machinery, temporary loss of workstations etc) is more disruptive than moving premises, but relocation, without sufficient planning, can be incredibly disruptive in terms of potential downtime whilst your team and all of your equipment, furnishings, files, stock and various other paraphernalia are relocated to another space.

That said, with the right planning, one advantage you have with a relocation is the opportunity for a completely fresh start and to fit out the space before you move in, with brand new furnishings, workstations and whatever else you’ve planned. If you have sufficient time, there’s ample opportunity to sit down with an interior design consultant and analyse how you want your new premises to work and how best to ‘future proof’ (to an extent) the new space to meet the needs of your growing business.

The interior design team can appraise and assess with you the current space in terms of what’s working, what isn’t and what needs to change. All issues which have been stifling your business can be addressed prior to the move, meaning you can really hit the ground running at the new place.

It can be argued that in many cases relocation is more costly due to business interruption, removals and everything that goes with starting afresh somewhere new, but these days, many new-build commercial premises come with attractive deals on new office spaces with reduced introductory rents, meaning savings which can be put towards your new office fit out.

Finally, a note on structural renovations to the building itself. Permission is typically required for any physical changes to the structure, especially when you’re renting the office space from a commercial building owner. If the owner (or local council, should you own the building) does allow for renovations, there are most likely limitations as to how much you are actually able to do, and this should be researched thoroughly before you start dreaming up designs.

Renovation

Sometimes packing up shop and moving to another location is either not the easiest option or just not an option at all (in the short to medium term).

For example, your business may be tied down to a long lease or your current location may be uniquely crucial to your business, with no other options for premises locally, leaving you with little choice but to make the best of the space you have.As we’ve discussed, an office renovation can be disruptive to workflow and output, but the truth of the matter is, a relocation can pose many of the same issues with some more to boot.

If you do really value your current location and think that there is even a small chance that with some smart space planning, innovative office fit outs and workspace design you can stay put, it’s worth exploring.  This is even more pertinent if capacity isn’t really the issue and you simply want to refresh your interior to reinvigorate your workforce and modernise the space. In other words,  if you end up going through a costly relocation when all you really needed was a splash of colour, some well positioned plants and updated workstations, you haven’t been asking yourself the right questions (especially if your original location was ideal to your business).

Office refits can range from the efficient, effective and relatively painless to the long, arduous and highly-disruptive. The key is communication; communication with your workers, your office manager and your interior design team. If planned and executed by organised professionals (that includes you!), then there’s no reason why you cannot have your cake and eat it.

Just as it can seem like a teenager has outgrown his or her bedroom until they actually pull their finger out and tidy it, revealing acres of long-lost space, poor organisation of administrative materials such as files, stock, equipment and machinery can make an office seem like it’s no longer big enough for your growing workforce.  It’s rare that staffing numbers cause the same sort of chaos as poor space management, unless your business is doubling by the week, in which case, you’ll definitely need to relocate to bigger premises (congratulations on your incredibly successful business!). If in doubt, give Formation Interiors a call and we’ll advise you on your options based on the information you give us to help you get the ball rolling.

One final point: if the issue of capacity is stock related, there are other options you should consider, such as splitting your operations i.e. office and warehouse in separate locations. This is not uncommon and may provide the perfect solution for many growing businesses.

Conclusion

As you may have guessed, there’s no right or wrong way to go when it comes to deciding over whether to renovate or relocate your office. That said, if you’re just looking to refresh and modernise the office aesthetic or update  your interior to match your cool new brand identity, then your first port of call should be refit and renovation.

For physical growth and capacity issues, it’s not so straightforward, but the answers are there (if you ask the right questions!). There are so many factors involved, so many unique circumstances, that each business will have different optimal solutions to their growth ‘problem’. But what a great problem to have!

 

Are you looking to renovate or relocate and want to start exploring interior design options ? Seize the day! Contact Formation now to discuss the growth and development of your business.

 

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