Should You Relocate or Refurbish Your Office? | Oktra
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  • Should You Relocate or Refurbish Your Office?

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  • At one point or another, every company will be in the position of answering the stay vs go debate. It is an important part of the workplace lifecycle and plays a significant role in your long-term business objectives.

  • Working routines, staff expectations and business processes have stretched and evolved since new ways of working became more popular. These changes have put new demands on our workplaces and new factors have started to influence business thinking in terms of space requirements.

    There is no right or wrong answer for whether you should relocate or refurbish your office as the decision is down to what is best for your organisation and your people. However, it is possible to make the wrong call if you don’t take the right steps to coordinate your decision by taking the relevant information and considerations on board.

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  • Decision-influencing considerations

    The decision to relocate or refurbish your office can be created by a lot of different things. It may be a decision based on something you can control like wanting to implement new ways of working or wanting to save on overheads. Alternatively, it may be forced on you by external factors such as a lease expiry or a landlord’s decision to refurbish their building.

    Consider the following:

    • Do you have a good deal on your current lease?
    • Could you get a better deal on your lease elsewhere?
    • Do you need a brand or culture reset?
    • Have you got enough space to expand in your current office?
    • Could relocating help unlock new business opportunities?
    • Has technology improved workflows and efficiency?
    • Could you save money by consolidating space?

  • 4 common relocation and refurbishment scenarios

    When it comes to your office space, there are several different factors which can affect your status and force you to make decisions about your space. Regardless of how the situation comes about, it is advisable to be aware of the process and how it might affect you in the future.

    We have outlined some examples of common scenarios experienced by organisations when they are addressing the stay vs go debate:
  • Do you have the space to expand?

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  • Scenario: Your office has had to adapt as your company has grown and has become disconnected with pockets of secluded space. You’re expecting the business to expand and you’re trying to work out whether you can accommodate that growth.

    The industry recommendation is to allow 110 sq ft per employee. By doing some basic numbers to work out your headcount vs available sq ft, you will get a rough indication of whether you have adequate space. Understanding how far you can push your workplace is an important step. If you haven’t maximised your use of the space then you may be able to reconfigure your space to accommodate growth. Relocating to a larger space will take pressure off your working environment and optimise available space.

    Solution: In terms of stay or go, if you don’t have enough space to expand into then you can attempt to secure additional space within your existing building. If that isn’t an option, then you need to move to a new office space.

  • Do you need to enhance your brand image?

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  • Scenario: Your organisation has undergone a brand refresh or a merger which has brought multiple locations under one roof and your existing office space(s) is no longer representative of your business.

    Updating the look of your office space could transform the way your business is perceived by the outside world. Having a prominent brand throughout your office and across multiple locations can boost client confidence in your products and services.

    Office interior design can instil confidence and positivity within us and all that experiential detail should accurately reflect your company values. Our recent annual office environment survey revealed that overall only 34% of UK office workers confirm to have had their work environment updated in the last 3 years. Redesigning your office could help attract your staff back to the office as well as positively affect their wellbeing.

    Solution: Refurbishing your existing office to realign your values with your office may be your best option, provided there are no other organisational changes that you need to implement. If you are going through a merger and are combining multiple offices into one then the decision to relocate may be best for you. Flavour and fragrance manufacturer Treatt experienced a similar scenario which led them to relocate to a new office.

  • Are you looking to reduce overheads?

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  • Scenario: Your company has moved to a hybrid working model so you have a reduced occupancy rate. You want to save money on your rental fees by consolidating your office space.

    One of the fundamental questions to ask yourself is, ‘is my office working hard enough?’ If you aren’t getting the most out of your space through poor space planning and underutilisation of spaces, then a refurbishment may enable you to unlock new potential in your existing office. If you have surplus office space then there are other options available that may help you reduce overheads and if you’re happy in your existing location you could negotiate more favourable lease terms to save on costs.

    While companies are opting to relocate and save money on their office space, they aren’t just pocketing the extra cash. Recent trends show that businesses are ditching their space in low-quality, poorly serviced properties (Grade B space) in favour of high-quality space in amenity-rich buildings (Grade A space). This shows that organisations are reprioritising their spending on office space rather than abandoning it completely. This is to ensure are providing more value to their employees and getting more for their money.

    Solution: Carrying out a cost-benefit analysis will make your decision to stay or go more straightforward. Considering how you will implement your wider business objectives in your cost-benefit analysis may also influence your decision. By approaching your decision in this way, you remove any emotions from the equation and can focus solely on the best interests of your business.

  • Are you implementing new ways of working?

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  • Scenario: You have decided to adopt new ways of working to be more flexible. The initial adaptations you’ve made to your office were only intended to be short-term and now it’s time to make permanent, long-term design changes to your office.

    Many companies have had to adapt their workplaces to allow for new working habits that were driven by the pandemic and now that people are returning to the office, there is an opportunity to innovate. For some businesses, their offices have been designed in a specific way to accommodate certain tasks – offices with lots of individual offices and meeting rooms mean that space is not optimised for a flexible workforce.

    The option to refurbish your office will depend on the availability of space because if you have adequate space to change your layout and redesign the way you use your space, then refurbishing your office is a great solution. Trainline refurbished their office to allow them to introduce new ways of working and make their environment better suited to the hybrid model. By taking an extra floor, they were able to restack their office space and optimise their layout to support more flexible workstations as well as improved meeting facilities.

    Solution: Implementing new ways of working could be achieved with either a refurbishment or a relocation. If you are making a large-scale change then relocating can present you with a ‘blank slate’ mentally. This can make it easier for people to adopt changes without comparing things to ‘how they used to be.’ If you’re unsure of whether you have enough space in your existing office, then a workplace consultancy programme will help you discover the opportunities within your space.

  • Challenging your office environment

    Before you plan your office relocation or refurbishment, you must first challenge your office environment. This means that you need to go through the process of working out what works, what doesn’t and what are you trying to achieve with your office. Every business will have different goals so there is no off-the-shelf answer to what you should do.

    Workplace Director Sean Espinasse talks about addressing the three E’s as part of the workplace assessments he delivers:
    “When you look into the effectiveness, efficiency and experience of an environment, and how those three overlap, it tends to tell you where your focus needs to be. If your current office can accommodate all three of these then you don’t need to move but if it’s only delivering two or maybe even one of these things, then it may be time to move.”

    Knowing where to focus your energy as well as knowing what is working well is valuable when it comes to building your brief and objectives. We recommend that you get the ball rolling early and have early conversations about your property strategy and office plans. The more time you allow for building a strategy, the more options you will have and the most cost-effective those options will be.

  • The Stay vs Go Guide

    Will you stay or will you go?

    Download our Stay vs Go Guide for more information about office refurbishment and relocation.

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