Getting a sense of direction from your management by addressing big-picture issues, before you bring in expensive consultants and brokers, helps to make the project kick-off and orientation time with those consultants more efficient. This blog will address a number of those key, big picture issues.
A major renovation or relocation project is a perfect time to re-think your short-term and long-term space needs. Of course, the short-term needs are easier to get your head around than the long-term space needs. If only we had that crystal ball.
Both short-term and long-term space needs are greatly affected by the following issues, which must be addressed, even prior to meeting with an architect or a real estate broker. Ask your top management the following questions:
Staff Counts: Where do you see staff growth and staff reduction in our organization over the next five years?
Look at past growth or reduction trends by department (HR can usually provide this information)
Look at the latest business plan and marketing plan for clues
Do we have updated organization charts for the entire organization and each department that would include future hires?
Telework: Do you see our organization embracing telework, hoteling or job sharing? If so, how will it be determined as to who gets a dedicated office or workstation?
Will it be determined by job function, grade level or seniority
What will be the ratio of dedicated to shared offices and workstations
If telework is being implemented, will there be a consultant who will work with us in helping us to vet candidates for teleworking as well as establishing standards and protocols?
Space and Furniture Standards: Do you anticipate changing our existing space and furniture standards in order to accomplish:
Simplifying and modularizing our space and furniture standards in order to improve flexibility in making faster and less disruptive modifications in the future
Better utilization of real estate through reducing closed office and open office space sizes and having a better use of vertical space using new furniture standards
Improved ergonomics and wellness
Productivity: How can we improve productivity and work flow in our new layout?
What critical adjacencies between departments or individuals can be improved?
Is there anything in our existing layout that impedes effective communication and collaboration between staff within and between departments?
Collaboration Space and Amenities: What types of collaborative spaces do we need and how many people should be accommodated in those spaces? (forming a working sub-committee to address this issue might be helpful)
Number of, sizes of, types of and locations of collaborative areas
Have we measured the use of our existing collaboration areas to determine typical meeting sizes and durations? (sensor technology is available for such an exercise)
What amenities and shared support areas (by department or shared by all departments) would we like to have that we currently don’t have? (a staff survey or town-hall meeting can help to identify the wish list)
For those shared support areas that we currently have, do we want to eliminate any of them or change the design of those support areas? ( a sub-committee can be formed to address support area design)
Aesthetics: What should our desired, branded image be for our new facility? (be thinking and discussing these issues as you prepare to meet with the architect and designer for the first time)
What impression do we want to leave with visitors and clients who visit our new facility?
What should our general style be in our new facility (ie traditional vs contemporary vs high tech)
Are there any specific colors that should be incorporated into our future design and finish standards? (ie, using the colors in our logo?)
Budget: Are there any budget constraints for this project?
What can we anticipate as an allowance coming from the Landlord or from the sale of our existing, owned real estate?
What out of pocket expenses are we willing to contribute towards the costs of the project?
Schedule: Is there anything driving the completion date of the renovation or relocation project?
Lease expiration and desire not to pay a hold over penalty
Based on a contract requirement
If it’s a renovation in occupied space, do we have enough swing space to temporarily move staff to while we renovate their space or do we have to lease a short-term suite as swing space? (Note: Multiple project phases increase the time and costs of a renovation project)
Note: Allow 8 to 12 months from the completion of lease negotiations to move-in to allow enough time for final space planning, design development, architectural and engineering construction documents, construction bid time, permit processing, build-out, furniture installation and final inspections.
Sustainability & Wellness: Is it important for our up-coming project to be a LEED certified project?
Is it important to our staff (both current and future) to belong to a company that believes and practices sustainability?
Is it important to our clients to be working with a company that demonstrates and practices sustainable practices?
Do we want to launch a wellness program? If so, what features do we want to focus on, and do we want to pursue Well Certification? (Includes issues related to air quality, water quality, healthful nourishment, quality of light and lighting, fitness, comfort and mind)
Note: LEED or Well certification will require some additional soft and hard costs to implement and may extend the project schedule to some degree.