Workplace Design and Strategy
April 20th, 2017


13 Workplace Analytics Every IT Leader Should Track

Office space has a big impact on creating a safe, clean office and supporting employee productivity. If your company is currently not meeting expectations in these areas, it might be time to convert your office space to adhere to safety guidelines.

To follow safe distancing standards, you may be considering reconfiguring, renovating, or redesigning your office. You may have heard these three terms used interchangeably, but they shouldn’t be.  Knowing the distinction between them can help you determine which method is best suited for your needs.

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

In this post, we'll break down the differences:



Office reconfiguration simply means changing the shape or formation of your office space. Some refer to it as remodeling. It's a great option when your goal is to get the most out of your current resources.

When would you choose to reconfigure?

Today, many workplaces are scrambling to reconfigure their offices to reduce density and increase physical distance. 

It can be used to:

  • Ensure safe distancing between workspaces
  • Improve your company’s workflow
  • Maximize the potential of your company by improving workplace productivity
  • Get a maximized use of your current space
  • Accommodate your company's expansion



How to reconfigure your space for safe distancing

For the return to the office, consider reconfiguring your office furniture for safety.  That could mean arranging desks in a back-to-back position, or keeping workspaces at a specific distance upon re-entry.  

Knowing that the first step to get back to the office would be to create safe distances between desks and occupiable spaces, you may feel like you're scrambling to ensure a safe, productive environment. These are unprecedented times and the return to the office can feel like a daunting task.

You can automate that process with the new Space-Right™ safe distancing feature, so reconfiguring your office space for safe distancing is easier than ever. This tools can help you:

  • Set parameters for the amount of space wanted between workspaces
  • Automatically create a new floor plan based on set distance
  • Identify spaces that fall outside of the safe distancing range (such as small conference rooms or common areas) and reconfigure them as needed



Other ways you can reconfigure your office:

Here are some other examples of situations where it makes sense to reconfigure the office:

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

Some things to keep in mind

Over time, what you need from the office changes. Improving the office should help your employees get work done, and it should allow them to be productive, connected, and collaborative. 

To accomplish that, it'll be important to consider the following:

  • 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.




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.

That's why reconfiguration is typically the least expensive of the three options. 



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

When would you choose to renovate?

Sometimes you need more significant change than a reconfiguration provides. This is a great option for updating office to match the way your employees work, interact with technology, and fit the look and feel that compliments your culture.

You might consider renovations that help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.

Here are some other reasons you might choose to renovate:

  • Your current structure is strong, but the space needs to be updated to match employee needs.
  • Your building is a historic landmark, to stay you need to make it more functional for the 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.


Examples of renovation

Your renovation efforts may include adding a better quality air filtration system, changing surfaces to germ-resistant material, such as copper, or possibly installing a disinfection system with UV lighting. 

Other examples of ways to renovate your office:

  • 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.



Some 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.

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.

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.


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. When your space doesn't meet your needs and doesn't take advantage of available space, it may benefit from a redesign.

Here are some scenarios that a redesign would help with:

  • A poorly designed office that doesn’t take advantage available space, and doesn't have enough work or storage space.
  • You want your current space to seem bigger without paying the time and money to add on more square footage.
  • There’s limited functional and cramped space or unnecessary extra noise, that negatively affects employee productivity.
  • Your current space is not client-friendly.



Examples of redesigning

Density will be problematic in the post-pandemic office place. If reconfiguring desks isn't an option, you may need to change the design of the office to provide different types of space. For instance, if you have several large conference rooms they may need to be converted to accommodate the need for more private spaces. Or perhaps turned into several smaller conference rooms rather than having one or two large space.

In addition to the COVID-19 response, there are several other ways that a redesign can improve the office.

For example:

  • 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.



Some things to keep in mind

As you begin this process, start by getting clear on your office redesign's top priorities. Are you wanting to reduce health risks, change the atmosphere, or just make better use of the space you have? 

To identify and stay focused on your priorities, you should:

  • Ask what specific needs employees have. How could the office 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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