10 Tips for a Great Office Fit Out
No matter what industry you work in, a great office fit out is an essential part of a successful business.
There’s more to the perfect fit out than just functionality – a good office setting should also motivate staff and boost productivity.
Whether you’re starting from scratch or revamping an old office, here are our top tips for getting the most out of your commercial space.
1. Find a fit out specialist
Some things are best left to the professionals and this is certainly one of them. Office fit out specialists can create a stylish space taking into account all your business needs and the all important budget.
Richard Mensink, Managing Director of Melbourne-based Concept Commercial Interiors, has been working in design for 25 years and says the best fit outs are unique to the client.
“It really needs to be bespoke and I don’t think there’s a ‘one size fits all’ version. It should be tailored specifically to that client because the way they work will be very different to the way others work,” he says.
2. Figure out what your work style is and how best to accommodate it
Mensink says that businesses need to keep in mind the four vital ‘Cs’ when working on a new fit out for their commercial property.
“What we ask our clients to consider is in their work style – how would they like to concentrate, collaborate, contemplate and celebrate,” he says.
“When we get an essence of their workstyles and values, we can build a space to support those elements.”
3. If it’s working, keep it
As the saying goes – if ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Look at your current fit out and figure out what’s in place that’s worth keeping.
The new design can then be developed around the existing features, Mensink explains.
“It could be as simple as the style of desk that they’re using or natural light. Once we know what the client wants to keep, then we can work with that,” he says.
4. Remove it if it’s not working
Identify the things in your current space that aren’t adding to the office so you can take out the old and make way for the new.
“If there are elements that aren’t representing the client’s work values and the way they want to work, then they can be tossed.”
5. Don’t try to fit into a mould that doesn’t suit your business
Just because you like the look of an office fit out, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you and your company.
“There are a lot of variables because the design of the fitter needs to support the company’s culture and some cultures are very different to others,” he says.
“You can make generalisations for different industries, such as financial services might work in a particular way and lawyers might work in another way.”
6. Discover how your employees like to work
It’s important to understand what works for your staff – they’re the ones spending at least eight hours a day in space.
Mensink reveals that many firms are choosing to build cafe-style environments into their fit outs as they’re favoured by a high proportion of workers.
“Some people like to work in the cafe. We’re designing a lot of areas that are replicating a modern, energetic cafe that sits in the heart of the office,” he says.
7. Different spaces suit different purposes
Even if you’re opting for a classic open plan layout, there still needs to be some consideration put into different types of spaces within the fit out such as collaborative work areas or meeting rooms.
“Some areas might be very open and casual, some areas might be a bit more formal such as booths, or completely closed such as offices,” Mensink says.
8. Make sure it works within your building structure
Pay close attention to the structural features of the commercial property you’re working with to make sure your fit out dreams are achievable.
“It’s important to look at buildability to ensure whatever has been designed can be achieved,” Mensink says.
9. Ensure it’s a safe place to work
Coronavirus has drastically changed the way we work, and will likely impact our work habits forever.
Mensink believes that COVID-19 is “challenging the way spaces are laid out”.
“Open plan is important and is a priority to many of our clients, but (the question is) how do we keep people safe without keeping them separate?,” he says.
10. Be realistic
American tech giants have changed the face of fit outs with innovative office designs and emphasis on recreational areas.
Mensink says that while there is a trend of Australian companies following suit, this modern approach doesn’t necessarily suit everyone.
“I think that’s aspirational and I think there are hints of that being introduced, but not everyone is a Google or an Amazon,” he says.
“There’s no point in an accounting firm trying to recreate what Google is doing because the way they work is very different.”