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Our top tips on how to expand an open plan office

Before we go into our top tips on how to expand an office, there is one important point to make and that’s how expansion doesn’t always have to mean an upscaling in size. Of course, an office expansion project can – and often does – encompass extension and making the space bigger by building on what is already there. However, workspace expansion can also come from within the confines of what already exists following a successful analysis of how you currently use the space and what could be done to maximise it.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the top signs it’s time to expand your office, the things you should consider before committing to a full extension and our expert advice on the full expansion process. We’ll do this with a particular focus on open workspace design but a majority of the points we make will be applicable to any office expansion project, open plan or not so just keep this in mind.


Knowing when it’s time to expand an office

If you can strongly relate to any of the common workplace issues below, it’s probably time to consider your expansion options. We’ve picked these issues as they are the most prominent in an open plan workspace where it’s more difficult to dedicate space, contain noise and preserve privacy however they may apply to non-open workspaces too.

Personal space is scarce – If workers are overcrowded or you’re overrun with paperwork and equipment, productivity levels will not be meeting their potential.

No peace & quiet – Jampacked workspaces often inherently lack dedicated spaces for quiet focused work or rejuvenation which can seriously impact the wellbeing of staff.

Agile working isn’t an option – Agile and mobile working is an important part of modern work life so you might need to address the issue if there is no room for freedom of movement.

Excess noise is an issue – Overcrowding can also cause noise levels to be too high for the space which can be distracting, frustrating and detrimental to workspace communication.

No room for meeting or collaboration spaces – Places for staff to come together and collaborate or discuss as a group are vital for productivity and creativity.

Privacy is being compromised – When staff are working in close proximity, personal and professional privacy might be put in jeopardy which is particularly problematic for companies dealing with confidential information.

Nowhere to impress clients – The design of your workspace says a lot about your brand, it’s philosophies and the company’s worth ethic,  so you need a space that can create the right impression about who you are and what you do. This is especially important if you regularly have clients and external bodies coming in for meetings.


Things to consider before expanding an office:

If any of the workspace issues above are resonating with you, an office expansion may very well be the answer but before you sign on the dotted line, consider these two things…

Do you really need to expand?

Is a costly, time-consuming expansion really the only solution or could better use be made of the existing space? Perhaps you could be re-purposing instead of refurbishing. During the fit-out project we carried out for Nutriad, we collapsed an unused office to create more floor space. This then made room for a modern dining area where staff can go to chat casually or rejuvenate during downtime. You could also try simple changes such as implementing a hot-desking approach, this removes redundant desks that have been allocated to mobile workers freeing up valuable space.

New modern furniture might be the answer

A furniture refresh is one of the best ways to expand without expanding. Incorporating more modern solutions within your workspace interior design scheme will enable you to make better use of your space. Modular furniture like the B-Free range or the innovative Rhyme collection will enable you to reconfigure furniture as and when you need and allow you to be more flexible with the space. This works particularly well in an open plan office where the space needs to be more versatile and adaptable to requirements.

B-Free modular office seatin

The office expansion process

If you don’t think a simple refresh of your furniture is going to do the trick, here are some useful pieces of advice to consider when undergoing an office expansion.

Communicate transparently with staff – Speak to your managers, directors and other key members of staff to gain a better insight into their requirements. Keeping them in the loop will ensure you create a workspace that is conducive to motivation, productivity and satisfaction.

Deliberating over the design – This is your opportunity to identify any issues your current workspace presents and address them via your new office design. If excess noise is a problem, consider incorporating some acoustic furniture. If a lack of creativity within the team is your fall back, factor in some inspiring collaboration spaces with some innovative workspace tech like the Google Jamboard. Think about the various types of workspaces and which ones will benefit you.

Pick a great partner – Once you’ve got a plan in action, it’s time to find a partner who will help you execute it. Consider working with a company who can offer the full service, including refurbishment and fit out as well as the supply of furniture and technology. We have an experienced team of experts who can do exactly that.

Time and cost of office expansion – Once you’ve spoken to the experts and found a partner who you’re excited to work with, it’s time to figure out your finances and time commitments. There is no finite answer on how long moving office should take or how much an office fit out costs as it really all depends on the spec of the project you choose. This is something you need to sit down and work out with your chosen partner.

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