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.

Insights Facilities is brought to you by SMC Consulting, LLC

How a move consultant can reduce the burden of your office relocation

Relocation can be a challenge, but careful planning can be the difference between a move that’s difficult and one that’s smooth.

“When managing an office move, a move consultant’s objective is to minimize disruption in the workplace and quickly return the office to a normal workflow,” says Michelle Pizzella, interior designer at SMC Consulting, LLC.

“No two moves are exactly the same. However, there are basic activities that need to take place to ensure an effortless transition,” she says.

Smart Business spoke with Pizzella about how to effectively manage a move from one office to another.

What does a move management consultant do?

Whether you are moving an entire office, co-locating a cross-functional group or just reorganizing an office, a move management consultant can provide the appropriate plan and execution. An effective move management consultant will streamline the move process to ensure a successful relocation with minimal organizational disruptions, relieving the burden of coordination and implementation of the move while saving the customer time and money.

Move consultants simply enjoy the challenge of putting puzzles together. A move, like a puzzle, requires a process in order to execute the plan. You look at the whole picture — or in the case of a move, the old and new floor plans — then look at each small piece to find out where and how each needs to be placed to complete the picture.

What unique services can a move management consultant provide?

Experienced move consultants prioritize and manage a move by creating detailed plans and timelines for each of its phases, then communicate that plan to the customer and all associated vendors. Coordination, communication and scheduling all pre- and post-move activities will ensure a successful move.

Move management consultants might also be known as change managers. Change is not always viewed in a positive manner. Making the transition from an old, secure office space to a new, unfamiliar one is sometimes difficult and stressful for employees. The move management consultants will communicate on a regular basis to keep everyone informed as to progress and expectations. Employees who feel they are informed tend to embrace change, making the move less agonizing.

What do companies need to plan for when relocating?

There are many components to consider when relocating. Expect to have a solid and well-thought-out plan of attack, and a move consultant who can execute that plan. Coordination and planning of movers, furniture, computers, phones, employee communication, office supplies and even the vending is critical to success.

As companies decide how they’ll execute a move, they should also consider:

  • Consultant’s time vs. employees’ time — Put the move in the consultant’s hands leaving time for your employees to handle the day-to-day business.
  • Experience — Productive processes and no loss of time.
  • Programming — Collaborating with all involved to assemble the puzzle.
  • Strategic planning — Making sure all parts fit together and knowing how to execute.
  • Execution — Implementing the strategic plan and managing every detail to ensure a successful move.
  • Attention to detail — Taking inventory of existing equipment, disposing of old and unused equipment, satisfying lease close out requirements.

A move consultant will help your company achieve cost savings by providing you with one point of contact who can reduce risk, time, cost and employee downtime. Ultimately, you want your employees to leave their old office on Friday and enter their new office on Monday ready to begin work with minimal disruption.

Insights Facilities is brought to you by SMC Consulting, LLC

Is your office design helping or hurting productivity?

Over the past 20 years, companies of all shapes and sizes have started to adopt new standards when it comes to the way their employees work.

“Companies are starting to recognize that their workforce is a younger, more social generation, and that the traditional office environment prohibits them from maximizing their potential,” says Keith Colamarino, partner at SMC Consulting.

“Transitioning your office from the traditional setting to a more modern one may just give you that competitive edge you’ve been looking for.”

Smart Business spoke with Colamarino about how a modern office environment can help facilitate greater productivity.

How are offices adapting to the way millennials work?

No generation has mastered the ability to share and receive information faster and more efficiently than millennials. Some companies are using this to their advantage with technology, such as live chat rooms for employees to quickly communicate with one another, and by revamping the way employees have face-to-face meetings.

One of the new trends is smaller team areas located throughout an office in addition to a traditional conference area that allows for quick impromptu meetings. Often you will see people standing around a monitor or tablet discussing an issue, while still checking email on their smartphones. Millennials are so used to sending and receiving information quickly, that some of the traditional ways of communicating seem very inefficient.

How are offices adjusting to employees who use less traditional workspaces?

Another trend that is surging through more modern companies is open seating and hoteling. The concept of open seating/hoteling is a shared space where employees can choose to work at any given time. With more and more information being stored electronically, shared via email and able to be pulled from a server, less is actually needed at a workstation or in an office. With the mobility of a phone and a laptop, an employee can chose to use a shared workstation, a team area, lounge area or work from home.

Using this concept, some companies are able to balance and rotate employees working from home versus in the office to maximize their real estate. Some companies have more employees than seats, which really reduces overhead. From a furniture perspective, using this concept really simplifies things. One typical workstation can be selected for the entire office providing flexibility, and common storage areas eliminate the need for oversized workstations and storage rooms.

What can companies do to keep employees engaged in the office?

With employees in overdrive, some companies have carved out a space for their employees to take a break. These break areas allow the employees to step away from the buzz of the office and relax their mind. From an interior design perspective, this is the area that usually is the most fun to design. Some of the more common amenities you may find in a modern break room include couches and lounge seating, televisions, and food and drink stations. Some of the more elaborate break areas have gaming consoles, basketball hoops and even grills for office cookouts.

How does a traditional office make the transition into this more modern setting?

This style of operating may not be a good fit for your company and a design firm will identify that. A design firm can evaluate how your employees operate and advise you on what areas of your company may accept this style of work environment.

Start off small. Create a small team area and set up some shared workstations. The key for companies that want to transition is to do so slowly. Change is often met with fear and rejection, so to completely uproot the way you currently operate without knowing how well it will be received by your staff may be counterproductive.

Some of these methods may seem a little unorthodox, but studies have shown that some younger people are willing to sacrifice a hard-wall office for a fun, collaborative workspace. With how social young people are these days, they’re starting to trade the ‘me space’ for ‘we space.’

Insights Facilities is brought to you by SMC Consulting, LLC

How 3-D renderings benefit the design process

It’s hard to come by an industry that’s unaffected by the rapid proliferation of technology, and the interior design sector has not been spared in this technological surge. Hand-drawn renderings and perspectives, which had been standard in the industry, have become almost obsolete with the introduction of digital rendering software.

Smart Business spoke with Michelle Dyrwal, an interior designer at SMC Consulting, LLC, about the effects of this digital tool on the interior design process.

What is a 3-D rendering?

A rendering illustrates the designer’s interpretation of how a space could look. It shows the build out of walls, furniture, finishes and equipment that have been selected for the project, in addition to spatial relationships, traffic flow and the overall layout. While rendering and perspective drawings have been around for years, the introduction of 3-D modeling technology has revolutionized how designers present their designs to their clients, and aid in visual communication throughout the design process.

The benefits of 3-D rendering can be seen even in the initial stages of project planning. As designers begin to plan walls and partitions, furniture layouts and finishes, they can simultaneously model the project to see how furniture will fit into a given space, how clearances are forming and how finishes can play off of one another to create the ‘feel’ that they are going for. These renderings can quickly help identify flaws in the design that may otherwise be overlooked through a traditional 2-D perspective. These flaws can be recognized, discussed with the client and subsequently corrected long before the construction phase, reducing unnecessary costs during the build out.

During the finish selection process, 3-D rendering allows designers to rapidly switch out finishes with ease. For example, a designer can test out several paint colors on an accent wall to achieve the look he or she was going for without ever lifting a paintbrush or providing a ‘mock-up.’ It is all easily changed with a few clicks of a button in the rendering program.

How can 3-D renderings benefit a client?

Digital renderings also can assist in the designer/client communication connection. While designers do their best to convey how the final product will turn out, clients often have difficulty visualizing the finished design. Customers can see how furniture will lay out in plan view and how finishes look together on a presentation board, but to picture the space in its entirety can be a challenge.

Even the trained eye can have difficulty fully envisioning how a space will look in 3-D, so these renderings are vital tools. These 3-D renderings eliminate most of the guessing that comes along with design in that clients can see a fairly accurate view of how their space will look when completed. If there are any discrepancies between the client’s wants and needs and the designer’s interpretation of them, they can quickly be altered long before anything has been constructed, any furniture is ordered or finishes are in place.

The level of trust between the designer and client is also improved with the use of 3-D renderings to convey the design. The renderings illustrate that the design firm is fully invested in producing a quality product, and that they are willing to be flexible and accommodating throughout the project and work through any issues that may arise within the design. Most importantly, the firm can produce the quality of work that is expected by the client. The client may also use the renderings as a tool to market their new design and present the renovation or new building to potential customers.

The advancement of digital rendering has transformed the way designers present their projects and how they interact with their clients throughout the design process. Renderings are immensely important tools for today’s designer and we will, without a doubt, see more digital rendering in the field of design as time progresses.


Insights Facilities is brought to you by SMC Consulting, LLC