Consider a phased occupation

Determining the layout of your new office isn't the only space planning required. You may also need to plan a phased occupation where people will be moving in at different times. You may plan to occupy some floors while moving staff in on others.

  • Clarify what facilities (i.e. teapoints, toilets, etc.) will be accessible and consider all the safety aspects

    • Talk to your design and build partner about previous work they've done and how phased occupations were managed
    • You may be able to use the facilities of other occupants in your new building if yours won't be ready or out of action for any length of time
    • When planning to move in phases, bear in mind that certain individuals and departments will need to be moved together
    • A sure-fire way to foster bad feelings about the move amongst staff is to keep them out-of-the-loop. Make sure everyone knows who's moving where and when

It's hard to ensure 'business as usual' during an office fit out, both for your own company and for the other tenants in your building. Talk to your fit out company, as they should have experience of minimising disruption in these circumstances. They may be able to do some work out-of-hours and at weekends, meaning you don't start off on the wrong foot with your new neighbours.

Fit out tip

Plan well to buy in advance

If you can, order long lead-in items in advance. Make sure you've carried out the necessary surveys and are sure about your decisions to avoid costly mistakes

    • Lighting, Mechanical & Electrical and HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning)
    • Telephony and IT
    • Furniture and storage
    • Custom furnishings, fittings and joinery
    • Sustainable elements

If you're serious about going 'green', plan it well in advance. When given due consideration early on, a sustainable fit out doesn't have to cost more than its traditional equivalent. Leave it too late, and the costs tend to increase exponentially.

Fit out tip

Is everything to your satisfaction?

  • Sign the lease

    Once you've decided on your location, and all the terms are agreed, it's time to sign the lease

Do you know what it is yet?

  • Design for life

    • First things first, ask your fit out partner to visit your new office and help you visualise the different ways it could be used
    • Most fit out companies will be happy to draw up indicative designs for you
    • Think outside of the existing boxes - if you don't like where a wall is, then move it.
  • Cat A and Cat B

    If you're having a Cat A and Cat B fit out on your new space, your options are greater for moving the existing Mechanical & Electrical. But at the same time, be aware that working around what's already in place will probably save quite a bit of money.

  • Create a few different mood boards, a variety of themes and colours, to see which fit your company's style

    • Remember to involve your Marketing department - they know your brand inside-out, so pick their brains about how to create an office that reflects your company's values
    • Put your mood boards somewhere prominent in your workplace, so staff have a chance to voice their opinion early on. It'll create buy-in, and they'll probably have some really good ideas too
  • Make sure your design and fit out partner provides a full layout

    • As well as the location of rooms, walls and partitions, this should also include desks, IT and Mechanical & Electrical
    • Make sure the layouts are distributed to the Heads of Departments before any final decisions are made. Certain departments may need to be close together - and others further apart!
    • Bring your office to life with 3D walkthroughs

Think about dilapidation costs when designing your new office. A flexible office with minimal structures will save you money when you've leaving at the end of your lease.

Fit out tip