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Transforming existing office space is a good idea. Here’s why

An office environment can have a significant impact on a company’s productivity, morale, and ability to attract and retain talent. Creating hip and stylish office space may be the aspiration of many companies, but how do business owners get there? Often, the answer isn’t a brand new space, requiring a time-consuming and expensive move, but rather updating a company’s existing office environment. 

Creating office space that aligns with a company’s brand and culture is uplifting and even motivating – something that may even entice new talent to join the ranks. Since unmotivated employees are, in the end, expensive employees, a firm should do all it can to make its interiors appealing for its workers.  If a firm’s culture is modern and energetic, for example, a business would do well to remove that stodgy, conservative furniture from its lobby and conference spaces.

Of course, any discussion about office space should include recognition that corporate space is ever-evolving. The coronavirus pandemic has changed how a number of businesses are planning to use their space, but the need for collaborative environments will remain. Team members are more productive, efficient and creative in a dynamic office environment. 

It’s been widely reported that millennials, in particular, seek a sense of community at work. An uplifting and modernized kitchen and dining space makes it more likely that coworkers will share meals together, ideally building a sense of community within a firm. Firms might even use the space to incorporate monthly company lunches and the occasional “lunch and learn” into their firm’s calendar to engender a feeling of everyone being on the same team. To further encourage a sense of community and collaboration, businesses can incorporate casual, comfortable furniture throughout their office space to allow coworkers to sit down together to bounce ideas off of one another or to share what’s going on in their lives outside of work.  

One of the most important aspects of corporate design is ensuring that the office space reflects the company brand. If a business’s brand colors are teal blue and yellow, for example, a business should utilize the same colors throughout their décor in everything from furniture selection, to paint colors, to art. Incorporating a company’s logo into wallpaper to adorn a “brand wall” is another trendy idea. 

Once the heavy lifting of aligning a firm’s identity with its corporate interiors is complete, it’s easy to keep the space looking fresh and current over time. By simply swapping out less expensive décor items such as table lamps, decorative pillows, or even plants, a firm can easily and affordably update its interiors, keeping them on trend. 

How can small businesses afford these cohesive, energizing interiors, then? Getting some assistance from a landlord is key. Ideally business owners will review their leases early to ensure they have plenty of planning time to develop negotiating strategies. To negotiate for robust tenant improvement allowances, businesses can remind their landlords that keeping long-term tenants means they will save on expenses to market the space. In addition, the landlord won’t be required to pay a broker’s commission to lease to a new tenant. 

Flexibility is crucial as well. Crises are unpredictable, so it’s important to remain flexible with how and when a business wants to pursue an office renovation or redesign. Likewise, the construction process itself is fluid, so companies would be wise to have contingency plans in place for team members to work remotely. Those plans are something all businesses should have now. 

When today’s business owner considers the number of hours current and future employees spend in the workplace, she undoubtedly wants them to be comfortable and energized. Having recently aligned our office spaces in the heart of Bethlehem as well as in Richmond, Virginia, with our refreshed Agili brand, we know firsthand how uplifting and inspiring a renewed office can be. We love that our space, with modern furnishings and punches of teal and yellow, fully reflects our dynamic team and updated website. Refreshing your office space is easier than it may seem – and well worth the effort! 

Marilee Falco is a principal and financial strategist at Agili, responsible for client financial strategy and counsel, comprehensive financial planning and investment management as well as managing the firm’s Bethlehem office. She can be reached at mfalco@agilipersonalcfo.com.

Cynthia Joyce is the Chief Operating Officer at Agili, of Bethlehem and Richmond, Va., responsible for overseeing financial, budgeting, human resources, and office operations for the firm. She can be reached at cjoyce@agilipersonalcfo.com.

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