Business owners have immediate and long-term incentive to upgrade their company’s office. With the right changes, a workspace makeover can boost employee morale, and make a lasting impression on your clientele. Longtime clients see decorative improvements as a subtle sign of growth and stability, while new consumers find a more modern space fresh and inviting.
In a survey of 200 business leaders, the American Society of Interior Designers found that the majority of managers believe office improvements improve employee productivity. Moreover, two-thirds of respondents felt that a workspace should be revamped every one to five years to remain competitive with other companies.
Now that you know how important office makeovers can be, you’re probably wondering where to start. Here are a few of the things to consider as you plan for your office’s next update.
1. What Do the Walls and Ceiling Look Like?
When the walls and ceiling clearly show signs of age, extensive improvements may be needed to make much of an impact on the overall look and feel of the space. Is your office space filled with drab and dated paneling, or has the drywall obviously been patched? If you have a drop ceiling, sagging and stained ceiling panels will add to the outdated appearance.
In some cases, new ceiling panels and a fresh coat of paint will do the trick. Other times – particularly if you have older paneling or damaged drywall – you may need to remove the old wallboards and replace them with something more contemporary. New wall and ceiling options can not only improve the aesthetics of your office, but if you choose options designed to improve office acoustics, they could help reduce noise transmission as well.
2. Do You Need More Lighting?
The erratic flickering of aged fluorescent fixtures is not just an eyesore – it can be a huge distraction for your employees. In many cases, the fastest and easiest thing to do is to replace older fluorescent fixtures with newer, brighter bulbs such as LEDs. Recessed lights and track lighting also offer attractive alternatives.
Track lighting is relatively easy to install, and instantly gives your office a sleek, modern feel. Most track lighting systems are compatible with LEDs, so they can help cut electricity expenses by as much as 80%. If you opt for recessed lighting, you’ll notice the workspace seems roomier and more open. Recessed lighting also requires lower voltage, and if you use LEDs instead of harsh fluorescent bulbs, employees will experience less eyestrain and reduced stress over time.
The main thing to consider is the lighting’s color temperature. To maintain productivity in workspaces, opt for cool hues that give the area a brighter, more energetic feeling. Lighting with a warmer tone creates a soothing effect in lobbies and employee lounges.
Also consider the amount of natural light available in your office. Ideally, employees should have access to sunlight no matter where they sit in the building. Unfortunately, it’s not always feasible to add windows to a building, but other types of changes offer a welcome alternative. Your business can add a windowed lounge area, for instance, so workers can soak up a little sunlight on their breaks.
3. What About the Flooring?
Most office buildings are lined with wall-to-wall carpet, since it’s relatively inexpensive and easy to install. The advantages of carpeting stop there. Carpeted floors can be more prone to stains, and susceptible to wear and tear, particularly in high-traffic areas. If you’re noticing a few coffee splotches or wear patterns, it’s time to weigh your flooring options.
Businesses can simply replace the old floor covering with something more modern. However, a more cost-effective option might be to save the carpeting for executive offices and other low-traffic areas. There are several flooring products that are just as attractive as carpeting, and much more durable against spills, grime and wear. This includes industrial-grade linoleums, epoxy floor finishes and more. Evaluate the long-term expenses of these products against the price of carpet cleaning and replacement over a period of several years, and you may find that carpeting is the less favorable choice.
4. Should You Fix Mismatched Furniture?
Few offices show their age more than those that are loaded with mismatched and peeling furniture. If you have a hodgepodge assortment of desks, filing cabinets and shelving units, it’s time to replace those fixtures and switch to a more uniform theme. In addition to giving the building a cleaner and less cluttered feel, the new furnishings will also lend an air of professionalism to the environment. Ergonomic furniture choices can add both a modern look and improved performance for occupants, so take a close look at your options and remember that small improvements in occupant performance can make a big difference in worker productivity – benefitting the bottom line.
An office makeover takes a lot of careful planning, but if you go through with these improvements, you’ll be surprised by the results. Clients will have renewed confidence in your business, and your employees will take greater interest in their jobs knowing that you value them enough to provide a refreshing new work setting.
Steve Fountaine is the Owner of Premiere Works.
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