Business owner and employee looking over office renovation plans.

Survive an Office Renovation With These Tactics

An office renovation project is a big undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful one. These tips can help you stay on track.

A beautifully remodeled workplace can impress prospects and potential hires, but creating an enticing office is expensive. Construction is pricey and there are additional costs associated with the time and effort of a renovation project.

A renovation will likely be one of the biggest financial and time investments you make for your small business. Use the following tips to keep your company and your construction on track.

Understand All Costs

Renovation expenses can quickly get away from you because of items that are not included in the quotes you receive at the beginning of a project. This happens simply because each vendor you work with is tracking the costs of their piece. It is your job to understand the full price of your renovation.

Keep within your budget by asking your vendors about all potential expenses that are typically associated with projects like yours. For example, a builder’s quote will give you a sense of the costs related to demolition and building, but may not include all appliances, carpeting, fixtures, inspections, permits, etc. It also won’t include, of course, any new furniture and other elements you need for your new space. Even if there is an “allowance” in the builder’s budget for an item, you may end up spending more if the element you choose has a higher price.

Invest in a Plan

Enlisting an architect for the project adds a layer of expense, but it helps ensure the end result meets your objectives within the budget you have. A good architect can devise a plan that both meets your current needs and maintains flexibility for the future. You can hire an independent architect or go with a design-build firm — in other words, a construction company with an architect on staff.

Determine the right builder-architect configuration by asking potential builders and architects about their experience with projects like yours. Ask previous clients how easy your potential architect and builder are to work with — specifically, do they listen and respond promptly to client and other team member needs?

Prepare Your Team

A renovation will require patience and flexibility from your employees, so be sure to keep them informed. Share the expected timeline for the work, but emphasize that things can shift (and typically do). Balance your warnings by detailing the payoffs of the work — for instance, more natural light, better meeting areas, more private space. Helping employees see the benefits may make it easier for them to cope with the disruption. Frequent progress updates will help employees understand that there is an end in sight.

Line Up Alternate Worksites

If you expect your workspace will be completely unusable for a period of time, research temporary spaces to find the one that best meets your team’s needs. Investing in these options can preserve productivity, and it may even speed up the renovation: With you and your team out of the way, builders typically can move more quickly. If you think your workspace will be usable during parts of the renovation, consider keeping a work-from-home option open. This provides last-minute flexibility on unexpectedly noisy days.

Alert Customers, Vendors and Neighbors

To keep customers coming in during a renovation, communicate how and where your business will operate throughout the project. For example, provide notifications via text, email or mail with your temporary address, adjusted hours or new ordering process, if applicable. Do the same on your website and social media pages. Make it easy for your customers to do business with you while you’re renovating.

If you use office cleaners, landscapers or other vendors who need access to your building, let them know how your needs will change during the renovation. Advance notice will help ensure that they can plan for the loss of income and remain available to you after the work is done. Be sure to talk with your neighbors as well if the construction could impact them in terms of noise and disruption.

Expect the Unexpected

Construction is a messy process, both literally and figuratively. Even in the best-managed projects, timelines will slip as unforeseen obstacles surface. It is often hard to plan for this, since most builders are dependent on subcontractors, city officials and others whose actions may be out of their control. Preparing for this reality can help you keep stress levels in check.

When setbacks happen, proactively update others who are involved in the process. Remind them that new timelines are estimates. Good communication can ease the impact of disruption and help you quickly readjust. By managing expectations and keeping everyone in sync, the overall process can stay on course.