How office relocation and redesign is made easier with a design firm

A commercial interior design firm works to help companies find a space that’s an effective setting for their operational and aesthetic needs, and tailors its services to best suit specific client goals. For example, one client may be relocating because of growth, another wants to reflect its rebranding throughout a new office, and another is downsizing operations and needs a cost-effective relocation solution. Design firms help clients such as these achieve their goals while saving them money, time and hassle along the way.

Smart Business spoke with Sam McWilliams, managing partner at SMC Consulting, LLC, to learn more about effective office relocation and design.

What are some ways to ensure a space suits a company’s needs?

A designer uses programming to learn about a company and its needs. He or she will spend a day at your office talking with management and employees to understand what is and isn’t working, then develop a space plan that will maximize efficiencies and increase productivity.

Another aspect of programming is learning about the company’s desired image and work to reflect that in its office look and design. Companies can effectively market themselves by injecting their brand image into their physical space. This can be achieved by using logo colors within the space or by finding ways to highlight the company’s products and services through imagery and design. If your space welcomes the public, then it should remain consistent with your brand promise and image.

How can a design firm help during relocation or construction?

A professional designer can help you get the most out of your rentable square footage by doing ‘test-fits’ in several buildings. This will help determine which building gives you the most usable square footage while comparing rentable cost per square foot rates.

Once a site is chosen, third-party oversight becomes an extremely valuable service to clients. Having a project manager represent you on a construction or relocation project ensures quality, cost control and that schedules are kept.

Weekly project update meetings will keep you informed and assured that the project is running smoothly. Project managers will keep control of the schedule, providing sufficient time for long-lead items and ensuring all the elements are in place and tasks are completed when they should be.

What needs to be done with the former location upon leaving?

First, know when your current lease termination date is and plan accordingly to avoid penalties. The more lead-time you have, the better project costs and schedules are controlled.

Next, avoid unexpected costs by reading and understanding the termination requirements in the lease. Some leases require that the building be restored to its original condition, which may require demolition, construction, data cable removal, etc. Some leases only require a cleaning after all assets have been removed. A relocation manager can provide assistance in the building closeout process.

What are ways a company can minimize the impact of a move on employees?

Companies should provide perks when relocating farther from ‘home’ because the risk of losing good talent is possible. Offset additional travel costs by offering free or reduced parking fees, public transportation discounts, or institute a flextime or a compressed workweek schedule. You can also identify area day care facilities and other personal services that are important to your employees before you announce the new location.

How can companies minimize operational interruptions when relocating?

Relocation managers take the hassle out of a physical move, whether it’s a multi-phase move, consolidating multiple offices into one or a single-phase move over a weekend.  Let them get you from point A to point B with little or no downtime.

Choose a design firm that can build an in-house team of designers, furniture planners, project managers and relocation experts. Firms that provide one point of contact, with all the resources at hand, makes the entire process seamless, which enables clients to focus on their core business.

Sam McWilliams is a managing partner at SMC Consulting, LLC. Reach her at (724) 728-8625 or [email protected].

Insights Facilities is brought to you by SMC Consulting, LLC

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