Managing a Fit out in occupation

Very few businesses have the luxury of relocating to a temporary office while their existing space is refurbished. So how do you manage an office interior design and fit-out project while you’re in occupation?

With the right approach to planning and internal communication it is possible to minimise disruption and keep a motivated workforce, despite the unavoidable upheaval. Here are eight tips to ensure a successful fit-out in occupation:

  1.  Involve employees. Work hard to involve your employees from the outset by requesting their feedback on initial design concepts or simply keeping them up to date with the progress of the build. For larger sites this could include periodic site tours. This will help to maintain goodwill during a period of change and build excitement.
  2. Communicate the plan. Before work begins your interior design partner should give you a schedule of works – identifying what will happen when and consequently, what disruption and movements you and your teams can expect as a result. Known as ‘swing space’, this refers to how you accommodate and move teams as the refurbishment continues. Remember to keep departments that work closely, together to maintain efficiency and ensure that everybody’s needs are met and make sure everyone knows the plan.
  3. Be a good neighbour. If your business is located in a multi-occupancy building take into account your neighbours – perhaps certain works should be completed outside of office hours or parking disruption would be better discussed up front. This approach helps to generate goodwill that might allow you to use their facilities during certain parts of the build.
  4. Think about the client experience. If you have suppliers and clients visiting on a regular basis think about how you can make the experience as welcoming as possible. This might be offering tours or ‘sneak previews’ of the works or something as practical as putting extra cleaning protocols in place for client areas.
  5. Cup of tea? Make sure that your teams still have access to important facilities such as tea points and toilets throughout and don’t forget about the importance of connectivity either. Work closely with your IT team to ensure minimal disruption and downtime and plan what’s required to make the refurbishment as easy as possible.
  6. Get packed. Think about what materials or files you can put in storage to free up space – the contractors will need space to work and your teams will too as different parts of the office come in and out of use. If things can be off-site for a short period (without causing disruption) then it’s worth considering.
  7. Spring clean. Use this as an important opportunity to declutter your space before the new-look office is unveiled. Put someone in charge of managing the process and organise crates for employees to start packing items up. This will also make the temporary relocation of departments much easier to manage.
  8. Liberate staff. If certain aspects of the contractor’s work have to be done during working hours and disruption is unavoidable, make sure employees have the tools and mandate they need to work remotely.



Office Fit Out

Delivering office interior design and fit-out projects while the client is in occupation is no easy feat – but with careful planning and regular communication these projects can be delivered without a hitch.  Find out more about our Fit out process here


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