By Rob Wright
Project & Logistics Manager
13th June 2019
We’ve spoken many times before about the benefits of an office refurbishment, from combatting workplace issues and improving employee wellbeing to introducing new technology and innovative furniture. We champion the transformation of poorly functioning or outdated offices into more engaging, stimulating and optimised workspaces and believe the advantages of the end results far outweigh any setbacks surrounding the process.
These setbacks could be anything from getting staff onboard with the change, to accruing the finance to make it happen. We also find that customers can have concerns about disruption while work takes place but as a trusted office fit out and refurbishment partner of many businesses across Manchester and Liverpool, we do everything we can to limit this.
With this in mind, we wanted to highlight some of the options that are available to you if you’re looking for ways to continue ‘business as usual’ during a fit out, design or refurb project. These include:
- Out of hours operation and weekend work
- Designated quiet or down times
- Acoustic solutions to reduce noise
- Space division to avoid visual distraction
- The use of a temporary swing space
Now let’s look at each of these in a little more detail…
What is a swing space?
A swing space is a temporary workspace where staff can relocate to for the duration of the fit out or refurb project. This type of space can be leased or rented out on a short-term basis so that staff and anything that might need to go into storage is away from the site of the project in the interim.
The benefits of using a swing space
- Minimal (if any) loss in business and/or sales
- No dip in productivity or concentration levels
- Support continued mental wellbeing
- A physically safer option
- No impact on external, client or customer service
- Reduced audio and visual distraction
If this is a route you want to go down, it’s important to remember than flexibility is key when signing contracts and agreements. Timeframes can alter and snags can make office design projects overrun so you need to ensure your swing space is still available as a solution.
Other ways to reduce disruption during an office fit out or refurbishment:
Swing spaces are probably the ideal solution when it comes to business as usual during a project but it does come with an additional financial commitment. If this is a luxury you can’t really afford, there are a number of things you can be doing within the confines of your workspace to limit disruption.
Out of hours operation
When discussing timelines with your refurbishment partner, you could request that they work outside of business or office hours whenever possible. This is, of course, particularly crucial for workspaces where external visitors are regularly coming in and out. This option also includes weekend working to completely avoid weekdays where staff footfall and requirement for space and concentration will be highest.
Designated ‘quiet times’
Sticking to out-of-hours or weekend work is a great way to limit disruption but it can also mean that the project is drawn out for longer. An effective compromise is to request designated quiet hours or down time where no work is being carried out at all. This may just be an hour or two per day which allows quiet and low activity for things like focus work and external meetings.
Office acoustic solutions
Introducing acoustic solutions such as wall pads, acoustic totems and noise-reducing light shades is an effective way to reduce the impact of excess noise. Dilapidation and installation can be noisy processes so this will help cancel some of that out to keep concentration and communication as normal as possible.
Once the fit out or refurb project is over, these acoustic products won’t be a short-term investment either. They can simply be absorbed into the new office design scheme to offer the wellbeing, concentration and productivity benefits that come with strategic noise control.
Click for further reading on the ABCs of office acoustics and the benefits of acoustically enhanced office furniture.
Temporary space division
As well as blocking audible disruption, we also recommend taking measures to limit visual distraction too. Again, this doesn’t have to be a short-term investment either. The beauty of temporary space division (such as diving walls or screens) is that it can be easily moved around the workplace or stored when it’s not in use. So, while it might have immediate benefits during the current project, the product(s) also have a much longer lifespan within your new workspace.
Permit flexible and nomadic working
During a period of transition and change, some people might find that their concentration, mental wellbeing and productivity is best when removed from the situation entirely. For those people, it’s worth implementing flexibility around where, when and how they work, be it working from home or a local café from time to time.
While we’ve got you…
As experts in the world of office fit out and refurbishment, you might find the following advice useful for your upcoming project too: