How to choose an office design and fit-out partner
It has been proven that well thought out workplace design can greatly improve business performance and collaboration amongst employees. If you are planning an office move or relocation project in the near future then it is highly recommend that you work with a reputable office design and fit out partner that can help you to realise your ambitions and meet your business expectations. Here is our guide to choosing the right office design and fit-out company for your workplace design project...
Build a shortlist
The first step is to build a shortlist of around three to five potential partners. It is always preferable to work with a company that has been recommended by someone you know and trust, so try asking your peers if they have been involved with an office move or relocation project and if they can offer any recommendations. LinkedIn is a good resource for building a shortlist too. A simple post asking for recommendations is likely to provide a list of potential partners. You can also use LinkedIn to follow companies to stay up to date with their latest projects. Failing that, a quick google search will give you thousands of results to choose from but you may want to narrow your search down to a local area or specialism.
Reputation. Reputation. Reputation.
Do your homework before selecting your partner, as a good reputation will provide confidence that you are working with a trusted company. If the company has been recommended to you in the first place then that is a great start. A quick way to check their credentials is to look on their website for latest case studies and projects to get a feel for their work. Don't be afraid to ask for specific references that you can contact via phone of email, or if possible ask to visit a selection of live projects to meet previous clients face-to-face. You can also look for articles where the company is mentioned in relevant trade press to see how they are perceived in the industry.
Willingness to listen
It is important that your workplace reflects your company values and culture, not what the designer thinks it should be. Your design partner should ask the right questions and be keen to listen to what you have to say. Creating a clear design brief with objectives is a great starting point and will help your designer to get a vision of what you are trying to achieve. Don't be afraid to state things that are essential to your business and equally let them know about any absolute no no's.
There are some benefits to working with an office fit-out partner who has experience in your specific sector. Of course you want your workplace to have individuality, but some industry knowledge may help to provide a better understanding of your ways of working and could mean your designer is able to suggest new ideas that have worked well for previous clients.
Everyone is different and the same applies to businesses. Each office deserves a distinct personality and to stand out from the crowd. Look for examples of how your partner is demonstrating innovation and integrating new products and technologies into their designs.
Do they have a showroom you can visit to understand the types of finishing touches they use? Or can they take you to visit a furniture specialist that they work with to get an idea of the materials they will be using in the project? Don't forget to ask for demonstrations of any technologies that are being implemented too.
Any office relocation, whether it is for 50 staff or 500 staff, is going to be a large investment for the business so you need to ensure that your investment is safe. Do your due diligence and check that your potential partner is financially stable and that they have the relevant insurances in place to cover any problems which may arise during the project.
Find out exactly who will be involved with the project. Do they manage everything in-house? Do they outsource any aspects? You want to feel confident you will have an experienced team behind you. It is also a good idea to have clarity on who is accountable for which areas of the project.
Timeframe & budget
It is difficult to put a price on effective workplace design but it is important to understand the proposed timeframe of the project and a budget estimate, as this information will help you to narrow down your options. You may have a specific deadline you need to work to due to the end of a lease, so you need to make sure your chosen partner can commit to delivering the project on time.
Once you have considered all of these things you should be in a good position to choose a strategic workplace design and fit-out partner that can deliver the perfect workplace design for your business.
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