Transforming a commercial space: Tips for successful office renovations in Connecticut
Outdated office commercial space can be a problem. If your company occupies an outdated office building, you could be missing out on opportunities to improve worker health, reduce absenteeism and retain good staff.
A good office remodel can promote higher rates of productivity, increase worker morale and improve employee collaboration. Finding the right Connecticut contractor and choosing the right design for your office is key. Below are several renovation solutions for outdated commercial buildings.
Think Ahead, Design for the Future
How many people are in your organization right now? How has this changed over the last ten years? Given trends, how large will your company be in 10 years? Which departments would you like to grow the most? What departments are declining, and do you anticipate those trends will continue?
Knowing the answers to these questions and more will help you design an office space that anticipates and accommodates changes in your organization - long-term and short-term. The more changes you expect, the more important it will be to build flexibility into your office design. Moveable walls and partitions can be used to create work "zones" that are easily customized to the needs of the organization.
Prioritize Comfort and Ergonomics
There's more to ergonomics than furniture. Ergonomic office design requires adequate lighting, comfortable temperatures and acoustic optimization. Work with a consultant or ergonomic expert in the design of your office space. Find an architect with skill and experience designing ergonomic spaces.
Ensure Adequate Lighting
Provide natural daylighting with views of outdoor spaces, using energy efficient windows. Low-E3 glass allows visible light into the building without heating up the space and creating discomfort.
Avoid excessive use of harsh overhead lighting, and offer task lighting at individual work spaces for concentrated, focused work. Set up work stations to avoid glare from overhead lighting and windows.
Maintain Comfortable Temperature
Install a temperature and humidity monitoring system to optimize your indoor environment for worker productivity and comfort. Providing individual air temperature controls at each employee workstation makes it possible for workers to ensure their workstation meets their unique temperature needs. Analyze placement of windows, skylights and shading to prevent hot spots throughout your office space. Install smart controls to raise and lower shading throughout the day, creating an optimal work environment.
Loud noises and disruptive talking can create problems in work spaces where individuals need to focus or concentrate on their work. At the same time, it's important to create spaces where groups can work together and collaborate without concerns about disrupting others. Installing sound absorbing materials in the floor and ceiling can go a long way to ensuring your work space will be comfortable for all parties. Know which building materials create the most sound reverberation, and avoid using those materials.
Consult With Employees
Very likely, your employees already have strong feelings about their work space (what's working, what isn't). Listening to your employees can help you identify pain points that drive employees away and contribute to high rates of absenteeism. Consider creating a staff advisory committee in the planning of the remodel.
Survey employees as you're planning your upcoming office remodel. Identify patterns in survey responses to find ways to focus your efforts and make your remodel as productive as possible. Share the survey results with your architect, contractor, interior designer and other consultants assisting in the remodeling effort.
Create a Healthy Workspace
Employees who share germs and breathe in bad air can get sick at work, costing your company money and reducing your business productivity. Healthy workspaces require healthy air and healthy surfaces, with reduced contact with germs.
Control Indoor Air Quality
Install a ventilation system that allows for adequate exchange of indoor air with outdoor air, while reducing pollutants. Use filtration to clean the air. Plan spaces that allow for adequate airflow to ensure proper temperature control.
Work with an HVAC expert to ensure that your building's HVAC system is properly configured for the activity in your building. If your building's use has changed a lot over time, it may need quite a bit of work. For example, a former storage area converted into a space occupied by staff may need significant HVAC updates to ensure proper air flow and temperature control.
Install Touchless Technology
Germs spread easily on high-touch surfaces. Installing touchless technology in the bathrooms, kitchens, in doorways and other spaces can help slow the spread of germs. Work with your contractor to choose touchless fixtures and doors that add convenience and ensure safety for your employees. Consider motion sensing lights to save your company money on utilities while also reducing the need for employees to touch light switches.
Find the Right Connecticut Contractor
Finding the right commercial contractor for your upcoming remodel is key to ensuring a successful project. To get started on your project, vet at least three commercial contractors licensed in Connecticut. Vetting multiple contractors will help you find a professional that you can trust. Focus on finding contractors that listen to your needs, have thoughtful suggestions and offer realistic feedback on your project.
An experienced contractor may have tens or hundreds of references to furnish upon request. Consider their reputation in the overall community. Good contractors also tend to be members of local organizations and have won awards, so check out the "about" pages on their website to learn more about their involvement in their community.
When you're meeting with contractors, be up front about your needs, project budget and more, to ensure that everyone is on the same page. For more information about choosing a Connecticut contractor and planning a project, take a look at Litchfield Builder's resources page.
About Kevin Ahern
Kevin is the Co-Founder of Litchfield Builders, an award-winning, industry leader with a reputation for managing projects others shy away from. They are known for their high-quality work, customer service, and reliability and though still relatively small in size, Litchfield Builders now competes with some of the areas largest firms in both the residential and commercial arenas.