How to Revitalise Your Office with a Workplace Fit-Out
With the rise of hybrid working, the landscape of the workplace has undoubtedly changed in the wake of the pandemic. So, it’s crucial that employers offer an enticing office space where staff relish the opportunity to collaborate in an energising and nurturing environment.
A workplace fit-out is an excellent way to facilitate this. It involves expert designers transforming an empty space into a thriving workplace that meets the needs of a specific business and its employees.
Through meticulous planning, interior designers can create a bespoke blueprint for a business. From electrics and plumbing to dynamic workstations and brainstorming zones, they can incorporate tailored facilities to generate a workplace that encourages collaboration and maximises efficiency.
COEL specialises in innovative workplace fit-outs, creating spaces that excite and empower people, whilst delivering happiness and wellbeing in the process.
Benefits of an Office Fit-out
A workplace fit-out is a great opportunity for employers to devise an inspiring office space, which not only meets their exact specifications, but has key elements of their brand and personality woven throughout. This yields a myriad of benefits, including:
a. Increased productivity
Formulating a comfortable and efficient working environment, with positive elements such as profuse natural light, smart climate control technology and flexible workspaces, will make employees feel more buoyant and productive. This, in turn, feeds into improved company performance.
b. Employee satisfaction
A fit-out creating a welcoming work culture and incorporating employee-focused features, such as break-out spaces or wellness rooms (decorated in calming blues and earthy greens), promotes feelings of job satisfaction and leads to staff retention.
c. Better health and wellbeing
Creating a positive, uplifting workplace will have a dramatic impact on employee health and wellbeing. Factors such as panoramic views onto nature, ergonomic furniture (to help prevent niggling neck and back pain), mood-elevating décor, and lush green planting to harness the power of biophilia conjure up a cheerful environment. It can help reduce sick leave, too.
d. Increased functionality
Planning an office or laboratory from scratch allows you to optimise space and boost functionality. It also lets you incorporate aspects such as modular furniture, movable storage units and time-efficient technology including video conferencing.
e. Boosted brand image
A fit-out provides the opportunity to enhance your company image by reflecting its identity and values through eye-catching décor and branded colours.
f. A sustainable workplace
Incorporating green aspects in your fit-out, such as energy-efficient lighting, proper insulation and smart appliances, can lead to energy savings and a smaller carbon footprint. You can champion these green credentials when bidding for new clients.
PROJECT FOCUS: BIDWELLS
When COEL worked its design magic at Bidwells, Cambridge, it reaped the rewards in terms of employee happiness. Richard Pilsworth, Senior Partner at Bidwells Cambridge, explains:
“Since we occupied the newly designed space, we have a current employee satisfaction of 70 per cent compared with 53 per cent pre-move. The number of employee sick days has dropped by 23 per cent.”
Planning Your Workplace Fit-out
Careful strategising is essential when it comes to workplace fit-outs as attention to detail in the early stages can lead to a relatively seamless project in the long-run.
a. Discuss the nature of the business
Look at the company workflows and vision to build a realistic picture of how the fit-out can elevate your business offering and the impression it can potentially give to clients.
b. Consider the specialist workforce
Factor in the needs of the employees. For example, if it’s a laboratory, will the scientists need ambiently-lit relaxation zones as an antidote to intense lab work beneath stark clinical lights? Or if it’s a company advocating flexible working, will it need to accommodate hot desking and provide acoustic booths for sensitive conversations?
c. Look at space requirements
Consider all aspects of the space needed, now and in the future, from layout to lighting. Does the workplace need mechanical, electrical and HVAC installations, for example? COEL’s mechanical and electrical services team can help assess these needs and troubleshoot issues with site visits, whilst its expert space planners can analyse how the team works, using this data to feed into an efficient workplace design.
d. Run the figures
Consider the budget and the timescale for the fit-out to create the most cost-effective plan which will work around your business goals. Will incorporating energy-saving elements help with finances in the long-run?
e. Look at the legalities
Do any elements of the fit-out require planning permission or statutory control approvals? COEL’s experts have an in-depth knowledge of current legislation and are accustomed to working with the local authority so can remove this planning stress from your shoulders.
Designing Your Office Space
Incorporating an array of exciting design elements in your workplace fit-out, such as ergonomic furniture and greenery, can help revitalise your office space and create an environment that boosts efficiency and wellbeing.
a. Maximise access to natural light
Where do we start with extolling the virtues of abundant natural light in office design? It’s SO important for wellbeing. Daylighting, which involves placing windows, skylights, and reflective surfaces in a way that strategically welcomes natural light, is the best way to achieve optimum exposure. Creating a bright, light-filled workplace will boost staff morale and Vitamin D levels and regulate circadian rhythms (meaning staff are more energised and productive at their desks). If your fit-out has limited access to the great outdoors, incorporate full-spectrum lightbulbs that mimic the appearance of natural light.
b. Go ergonomic
Ergonomic Furniture is an essential part of any fit-out to create a comfortable, flexible and responsive work environment. Think sit-stand seating, kneeling chairs, stand-up desks, and even treadmill desks (for the more athletic employees!), plus nifty accessories such as foot rests, keyboard trays and standing mats. These provide optimal support to maintain correct body posture, minimising the risk of neck, back and hip strain or musculoskeletal disorders. It also means furniture can be adaptable for different working patterns which encourage collaboration. COEL specialises in innovative and adaptive furniture for today’s neurodiverse workforce.
c. Incorporate plants
Biophilic Design is a crucial part of today’s workplace fit-outs. Reinforcing employees’ connection to nature by adding vibrant plants, water features, living walls and décor that mimics patterns of nature support cognitive function, physical health and psychological wellbeing.
Katie Bowes, Associate Director of Design at COEL, explains:
“Biophilic design is a key wellness principal of ours, reconnecting people with nature. Creating a calmer, creative, considered healthy workspace, all whilst supporting people to be more engaged and thus productive.”
d. Use of colour
Another key consideration of an office fit-out and refurbishment is the use of colour in the décor, furniture and furnishings. The theory of colour psychology dictates that different hues have dramatic effects on our mood and performance. Whilst brainstorming spaces and boardrooms may benefit from pops of vibrant orange and red to promote high-energy ideas, kitchens and relaxation spaces can benefit from calming, grounding greens.
PROJECT FOCUS: BIOMED REALTY
COEL’s design and fit-out for BioMed Realty at Granta Park made the most of the new office space’s view onto the park with impressive wrap-around windows, allowing the space to be flooded with light. Glazed screening partitions helped to harness this natural light and maximise its potential to illuminate the internal corridor.
A thoughtfully-designed fit-out is a golden opportunity to take your business to the next level, creating a ‘destination’ that entices nomadic employees back to the fold.
Designed to your exacting specifications and reflecting your brand ethos, it can embrace the latest technology, boast sustainable features, foster an ethos of collaboration and promote a sense of community which all adds up to a happy workforce. Crucially, it’s a chance to futureproof your business, providing flexibility to adapt to changing business needs.
If you’re considering a workplace fit-out, let the friendly and professional team at COEL do the hard work for you. With our team of in-house experts, spanning interior design and decoration to project management and plumbing, we can advise and assist from concept to completion!
Harness the true potential of your business.