Workplace Design and Strategy
April 20th, 2017


How to Manage Your Office Layout for Post-Pandemic Conditions

Office space has a big impact on employee productivity and office morale as well as client impressions. If your company is currently not meeting expectations in either area, it might be time to convert your office space to see positive improvements.

But should you reconfigure, renovate or redesign your current office space?

You may have heard these three terms used interchangeably, but they shouldn’t be. There’s a distinct difference between reconfiguring, renovating and redesigning an office space. In this post, we break down the differences of each.


Office reconfiguration simply means changing the shape or formation of your office space. Some people also call it remodeling.

Why you’d want to reconfigure your office space:

    • Improve your company’s workflow.
    • Maximize the potential of your company by improving workplace productivity.
    • Get a maximized use of your current space.
    • Your company is expanding.

Example ways to redesign your office space:

    • Arrange the space differently, i.e. move current furniture around.
    • Buy new office furniture.
    • Add in adjustable walls.
    • Remove cubicles.

Things to keep in mind:

    • Talk with employees to learn what they need.
    • Reconfigure to make your office workflow more efficient, don’t hinder it.
    • Ensure the lighting and ventilation remain good.


    • Reconfiguration is typically the cheapest of the three options. It’s a lot cheaper to rearrange current furniture or buy a few new pieces than it is to pay for construction and labor costs.


With office renovation, you basically refresh or revive the space by fixing what’s already there and maybe adding some new elements.

Why you’d want to renovate your office space:

    • Current structure is strong, but the space needs a little updating to match how your employees work, technology use, give it more of a modern feel, etc.
    • You want to stay in the building you’re in, maybe because it’s a historic landmark of your city, but need to make it more functional to your current workforce.
    • There was a recent merger or acquisition.
    • You’re in an older building and are paying too high of an energy bill.
    • You need easier accessibility to people and things.

Example ways to renovate your office space:

    • Upgrade and replace current HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems.
    • Incorporate more energy-efficient products, like double-paned windows and a programmable thermostat.
    • Include better sound masking systems.
    • Support employee mobility with wireless connectivity and communication tools.

Things to keep in mind:

    • For a total office renovation, you’ll need to keep your entire staff out of the office space during the renovation period. If you have a temporary space to go, no problems, or if you’re just renovating a few areas, renovations can happen while employees continue working in the office space.
    • Renovations are a faster solution than redesigns, and cost a little less, too. But if you have to keep employees in the space during the renovations, that can slow the renovation timeframe down and be distracting for employees to focus and remain productive, both of which will end up costing you more money and time.
    • Issues tend to arise that you didn’t plan for, especially with older buildings, as you begin your renovation plans and can quickly up your predetermined renovation costs.


    • Pricing is based on square footage, as well as the extent of demolition and reconstruction. Today’s average office renovation costs about $187.50 per square foot, and plan on paying contractors around $70 per hour.


An office redesign means you’ll be designing your office space again, just in a different way by changing its appearance, function and/or equipment.

Why you’d want to redesign your office space:

    • Current space wasn’t designed correctly, i.e. it doesn’t take advantage of all the space that’s available, not enough work or storage space, etc.
    • Make your current office space seem bigger without having to take the time and money adding on more square footage.
    • Isn’t a client-friendly space.
    • There’s limited functional and cramped space or unnecessary extra noise, that’s negatively affecting employee productivity.

Example ways to redesign your office space:

    • Provide more plug-and-play technology space.
    • Add smaller, informal meeting room spaces.
    • Give employees one or multiple break-out zones where they can relax and recharge.


Things to keep in mind:

    • Make a list of what your office redesign's top priorities are. Are you wanting to change the atmosphere, revamp the culture or just make better use of the space you have?
    • Ask what your employees need specifically to support their daily responsibilities.
    • Let function inspire fashion.
    • Talk to multiple contractors and designers before starting.
    • Carefully plan out every detail.


    • A total office redesign is the most expensive choice of the three because it requires the most material resources and time to complete.



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