So maybe that old office building of yours needs a bit of a facelift. New carpeting, new paint and a new canteen for your employees are all on the list for consideration, but that’s just surface matters. When was the last time you did a deep dive and made the upgrades your building really needs?
Changing your office to a more modern design may not mean ditching the cubicles for an open plan. There are benefits and downsides to both, depending on your industry and your workforce. However, modern offices do tend to think more creatively when it comes to design and layout. Don’t just think about how to fit the most people in the smallest space; take time to consider flow, and cooperative vs private spaces. Design can have a huge impact on the efficacy of your workforce. Harness that power and put it to good use.
New and better materials are being invented all the time. Everything from roofing to windows can be upgraded. Even the concrete treatments for your parking lots can be improved with convergent technologies. At first blush, material upgrades may seem like an extravagance that you can’t afford, but consider the smaller squeeze of extra costs and repairs from your current worn out and shoddy materials. A new roof and new windows are expensive right now, but the extra costs of heating and repairs will be expensive forever if you don’t make the upgrades.
Heating and Cooling
Speaking of heating; offices are infamous for being uncomfortable one way or the other. Either your employees are bundling up to avoid freezing to death or they’re sweating through their suits and keeping extra shirts in the office. Remember that there are two sides when it comes to controlling temperature. First there are the materials involved in cooling and heating: controls and ductwork and HVAC systems. Then there is the insulation that keeps both heat and cold from escaping too quickly. Review both sides before you decide what to replace.
If there’s one area where you absolutely cannot afford to fall behind, it’s technology. You may not think of the tech in your company as being part of your building infrastructure but it absolutely is. The printers that everyone shares, the network that all your computers connect to and certainly the computers themselves are all as much a part of the building as the windows and the AC unit. Just like those windows and AC units, technology needs periodic updating to keep things running smoothly. This will absolutely include the regular system updates that keep your software in good shape, but periodically you will need to check and replace your hardware as well. Your employees may gripe about having to learn a new system, but they’ll thank you in the long run if the new system works better and more efficiently than the old one.
Similar to the heating and cooling system, there are two sides to your building’s energy profile. One is its efficiency. Ask yourself: how much energy is wasted in your building, through lights that are not efficient or get left on by accident? How much is wasted by devices that don’t have energy-saver modes? How much money are you losing when you overheat or over-cool your building? The other side of your building’s energy profile is where it’s getting its energy from. Are you paying the local utility company a mint to keep the lights on? Have you looked into the cost of putting solar panels on that big flat roof of yours? Remember, inefficient energy usage isn’t just bad for your business, it’s bad for the environment.
When you’re considering any major renovations to your office building, don’t forget to look below the surface. There may be many things you’ve overlooked that can make a huge difference, from the design and materials of your building to the tech that keeps your building powered, comfortable and operative. A fresh coat of paint can’t fix everything.