Return To Work
April 22nd, 2020

RELATED GUIDE

5 Workplace Technology Trends For the Post-Pandemic Era

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:

 

Reconfiguring office furniture

Reconfiguring office furniture 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 reconfiguration? 

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

Office reconfiguration can be used to:

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

 

 

How to reconfigure your space for safe distancing

As you plan your return to work, 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 returning to the office can feel like a daunting task.

You can automate that process with iOFFICE's new Space-Right™ safe distancing feature. This tool can help you:

  • Set parameters for the amount of space you want 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 strategies for reconfiguring your office:

  • Arrange the space differently
  • Buy new office furniture
  • Add in adjustable walls or barriers
  • 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. 

Here are a few quick tips for a successful office reconfiguration: 

  • Talk with employees to learn what they need
  • Reconfigure to make your office workflow more efficient
  • Ensure you have adequate lighting and ventilation 

 

 

Pricing

It's a lot cheaper to reconfigure office furniture or buy a few new pieces than it is to pay for construction and labor costs. If you're looking for an affordable solution you can implement quickly, this may be your best bet. 

 

Office Renovation

With an office renovation, you refresh or revive your workplace 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 an office reconfiguration provides. This is a great option for updating your office to match the way your employees work.

You might consider renovations that help prevent the spread of 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 aren't planning to return to work until 2021, this might be an ideal time to renovate. If you have a temporary space to go, 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. These unexpected costs can quickly exceed your original renovation budget.

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. 

Pricing

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. Plan on paying contractors around $70 per hour.

 

Office Redesign

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 no longer meets the needs of your workforce or isn't being used efficiently, it may benefit from a redesign.

Here are some scenarios an office redesign could address:

  • 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 space or unnecessary extra noise that negatively affects employee productivity
  • Your current space is not client-friendly

 

 

Examples of office 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. 

In addition responding to  COVID-19 concerns, there are several other ways 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. Do you want 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
  • Let function inspire fashion
  • Talk to multiple contractors and designers before starting
  • Carefully plan out every detail

Pricing

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

return to work 2

Planning your agile work environment for 2021 

Whether you choose to reconfigure office furniture, renovate or completely redesign your workplace, you'll need to consider how your employees' habits have changed since the pandemic. 

While most employees do want to return to work, they may not be in the office every day. You need an agile work environment that allows them to book desks or rooms whenever they need them.   

Your new workplace should include room scheduling software that allows you to easily limit room capacity and show employees which rooms are available. 

You also need mobile desk booking solutions that allow employees to make touchless reservations. 

Normally, you'd have to purchase all these solutions separately. But this is an unprecedented time, so we're offering an unprecedented deal. Our new Return-to-Work Starter Kit includes: 

  • Visitor management
  • Room scheduling software for three rooms
  • Desk booking solutions for 30 desks
  • The Teem mobile app
Best of all, it's affordable for workplaces of all sizes and easy to implement within a day. Start planning your new, agile workplace today with technology that makes it easy.  Learn more about our Return-to-Work Starter Kit. 

 

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