Updating and maintaining your office presents many challenges. You may need to move items from one area to another or plastic over unused portions of the space. To make sure your employees can still function in the space, you’ll need to define several factors.
If you need to plastic off a space, make sure that employees still have access to items they need. If there’s a risk of dust or debris, consider loosening any dress codes so employees can wear shoes that can tolerate a little dust. Also be aware that the access points may be subject to building inspectors and that the walkway must be kept clear.
Heating / Cooling
If you have walls, electrical fixtures or thermostats that need to be moved, you and your employees may be impacted by a loss of heat or cooling. Be ready to bring in temporary sources of heat such as rental boilers to keep the space comfortable enough to work in. If things get uncomfortable or if fumes from paint and solvents become problematic, allow employees to get away from the odor or open windows as available.
Replacing light fixtures is a great investment in your new space, but your employees will need temporary access to lighting during the rehab. Even if you’re not replacing fixtures, there may be some electrical re-routing that will cause fixtures to be unusable. Talk to your contractor about providing reliable power to employees working in the area.
Renovation is noisy and may make it hard for your employees to focus. Consider investing in headphones for phone conversations and allow employees to change up their schedules so they can work when the renovation crews are quiet.
There are many sources of disruption in the renovation and maintenance process. One of the biggest problems actually comes from poor communication. If you don’t communicate your plans, your employees will seek out information from other sources and the rumor mill will flourish. Rather than giving power to this poor source of data, let your employees know what’s coming and keep them updated.
Office maintenance is always going to be disruptive, but it doesn’t have to be hard on attitudes and focus. Share information as decisions are made. Ask for input and put good ideas to use. Understand that you will gain buy-in from employees if you share information with them and make them feel heard.
Emma is a freelance writer based out of Boston, MA. She writes most often on health and education. When not writing, she enjoys reading and watching film noir. Say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2