Consider This: Office Reconfiguration
As a national average, companies spend $3 on utilities, $30 on real estate and $300 on employees per square foot of space that they occupy. These numbers and green initiatives are driving employers to cram more employees into less space. Collaboration, coworking, bench seating and open space planning are some of the buzzwords that you may have heard that are behind this initiative.
Many building owners are incentivizing tenants to extend leases by providing tenant improvement dollars to update their spaces. Over the past 5 years Telecom has found that many of our clients are spending these dollars to upgrade their furniture to new lower profile panels and bench seating. Although this solution does help with the elements listed above there are three key considerations that employers should consider when planning a furniture reconfiguration or upgrade:
- Employee Morale – Debbie in accounting no longer has perimeter office and is now working with her team in an open space plan environment. She is unhappy with this change and is unable to discuss the issue. Many employees see this change as a demotion. It is important to address this head on. There are many change management consultants who are focused on this issue. It is important to set expectations and manage this process.
- Speech Privacy and Productivity – although the open space plan claims to lend itself to more collaboration, you may have noticed that employees now have headphones on! This is to drown out their colleagues so that they can remain productive. Sound masking solutions help improve productivity by providing white noise allowing users to remain focused. Studies have shown that sound masking can improve productivity up to 20%! Newer IP technologies in sound masking integrate paging and background music and are becoming a part of the overall technology system.
- Power and data – many facilities managers do not realize that changing the layout of furniture can become a major construction project. In almost all cases the data and power will need to be safely removed, labeled, re-installed and tested. These tasks are often phased and conducted on off hours. It is very important to have a consultant/contractor review the feed locations to ensure that they can be either reused or relocated. Some of the things that are reviewed during this process are: core drill locations and the condition of the floor below, requirement for power poles, cable pathways, new cabling requirements, windows for downtime, upgrade opportunities, etc. These elements must be addressed up front to eliminate hidden costs and extended downtimes.
In summary, furniture upgrades and reconfigurations can aesthetically improve the look and extend the lifecycle of a space, allow employees to be more collaborative and productive and lower costs for corporate real estate professionals. It is very important to contract the right professionals during the process to ensure that the project runs smoothly.
As a family run company with over 30 years in business, our focus is on providing our clients with consulting and construction services that allow them to breathe easy and focus on their day to day tasks. Telecom specializes in designing, installing and managing complex structured cabling, AV, security, sound masking and cellular projects and has the expertise to assist in your upcoming furniture upgrade/reconfiguration.