By The Window Film Company
The Window Film Company has recently extended its range to provide office design and branding solutions, following client demand for integrated and bespoke interiors.
Using state of the art technology, the company produces, supplies and installs a range of printable media to create striking, professional, stylish and unique spaces. Director, Micky Calcott, looks at the increasing demand for well-designed office spaces and how the skills shortage is impacting on office refurbishments
According to Savills, over the past 18 months, developers have switched their attention to refurbishments due to rising construction costs squeezing margins. The UK commercial market is now witnessing a “new generation” of renovations with much higher quality interiors on offer. The report suggests that in the next three years refurbishments will make up 38% of total speculative office space in regional cities1. At the same time, the make-up of the workforce is changing, with millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) making up half of the workforce by 2020, and CEOs say and attracting and keeping younger workers is one of their biggest talent challenges2.
Commercial office demand is being driven by occupiers wanting spaces that reflect their company brands. Talent shortages mean employees are picky and a contemporary, creatively designed office
acts as a pull to potential team members. Great offices signal success and that employees are well- looked after. As refurbishment rather than construction is providing a substantial proportion of commercial spaces, facilities managers are going to be increasingly involved with these projects
These factors mean there will be a lot of office refurbishments going on and our sector looks set to be exceptionally busy, especially if we take into account the needs for companies to future proof their businesses.
Good office design supports companies with far more than just talent acquisition it can also be designed to cope with the changes in the working landscape. Not only will the millennial generation shortly be the largest cohort but technological innovation, the rise of emerging marketing etc. meaning employers will have to adjust their relationship with employees to remain competitive. The performance difference between a good team and a great team is often small and can be attributed to relatively minor physical environment adjustments.
Refurbishing properties to meet the needs of a new working generation can be costly if not planned correctly. Reviewing the current space and its use as well as identifying the reasons why a business wants a refurb means that the refurbishment can be well considered. Facilities management teams are critical in creating effective workspace design as they have the overview and the insight into how space is presently used, maintenance requirements and ideas about where improvements can be made. So as well as knowing all about a building’s mechanical and electrical systems, they are also responsible for the maintenance, repair and sourcing of products
Designers can create offices that best serve occupants’ needs, experienced facilities management teams are frequently brought in at the beginning of refurbishment developments, to finesse the project brief. FM’s know what practically what end-users want in an office as well as keeping up to date with practical requirements and legislation.
As well as the practical aspects of re-fitting an office in terms of services, lighting and access etc. another key design factor is workplace culture3. All sizes of organisations find it challenging integrating the varied, sometimes competing team values and behaviours to deliver company goals Sensitive workplace design can encourage positive behaviour and a good working environment.
Companies need their offices to provide collaborative and independent working areas as well as clearly communicate organisational culture and brand values to visitors and employees. The space must be well planned fostering team cohesion, employee wellbeing and productivity. These elements work hand in hand to improve staff retention and better-motivated employees. If companies do not invest it will hurt their bottom line; companies with low employee engagement suffer from a 32 per cent decrease in operating income4.
Office refurbishments can be very expensive with a typical refurbishment costing an average of £40 per sq. ft. according to Savills. However, smaller, lower-cost interventions can deliver a big impact – swiftly. Customisable digital wallpapers, bespoke manifestations and printed graphics are very cost efficient, providing building owners and facilities managers with a sustainable, fast refurbishment solution. These products can be easily changed when tenures end, and before new ones begin, to give each incoming occupant their own business identity. These products can also be used for space zoning.