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How Do I Renovate My Office Without Affecting Day-to-Day Operations?

When making changes to an organization’s real estate portfolio, it can be tough to know where to start. From a full renovation to a small remodel, there are a number of factors to consider minimizing operational disruptions. We’ve created a list of best practices that focus on organizations undertaking “active renovations” – remodel projects taking place within an occupied or operational space.

Best Practice #1 - Leverage Internal & External Communications

Communication should be a top priority during any construction project. This becomes even more critical when completing an active renovation. Keeping staff, customers, vendors, and any other stakeholders up to speed on project activity and any temporary logistical or operating procedure changes will help minimize impacts to an organization’s day-to-day business. Tools used to deliver this pertinent information might include all-staff “town hall” meetings, weekly company newsletters, on-site signage, and internal FAQ lists. Working with a third-party owner’s representative or project manager can help ensure the right communications are being delivered at the right time.

Best Practice #2 - Consider a Phased Renovation Plan

Depending on the size and scope of an active renovation project, it might be necessary to implement a phased approach to complete the work. Generally speaking, the more phases included on a project, the longer the schedule will be. That said, the negative aspects of a longer project schedule will typically outweigh the negative impacts to an organization’s operations when shutting a space down for a single-phase renovation.

A specific phasing plan is normally developed during the design phase. Some factors to consider when creating a phasing plan include existing workspace vacancies, constructability, job site safety, and contractor/vendor accessibility.

Best Practice #3 - Create a Thoughtful Associate Move Plan

A phased renovation project might require associates to temporarily relocate within the existing space or “swing” space. While any associate move inevitably causes some level of disruption, the goal is to minimize staff downtime to make the move as smooth as possible. The following list includes activities and tools that are helpful when planning office moves as part of an active renovation:

  • Creating move maps identifying existing vacancies, origin and temporary workspaces, and final seat assignments will help provide a visual layout for staff and any resources assisting with moves.

  • Be mindful about how associates are moving each phase. The goal is to limit the number of times a specific associate needs to be relocated during the various project phases.

  • Distribute pre-move packets to impacted associates well ahead of each move event. The information should include move schedule details, how and what to pack or label, what to expect at your new location, and what type of support will be available for any move issues.

Best Practice #4 - Identify Disruptive Construction or Install Activity

Construction can be loud. Some activities might cause certain odors. When working within a completely vacant space, this isn’t normally given a second thought. However, this may be highly disruptive for occupants within or near a space undergoing a renovation. A few things to consider when scheduling specific construction or install activities include:

  • Identify activities that might create excess noise, odors, or access issues. This might include concrete work, loud fasteners, painting, water line shutdowns, clearing sprinkler lines, or large deliveries of materials that might impede office traffic.

  • Review the list for items that might make more sense to complete after hours to minimize the disruption to staff.

  • Give occupants a heads-up prior to any activities deemed disruptive taking place.


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