Last Updated on December 25, 2020 by Chandler Bing
//This blog is updated in 2021//
Here’s the ultimate guide to warehouse office design in 2021 and this is literally EVERYTHING you need to know before/during converting warehouse to office. We break this guide to 5 parts, the first two parts are in Part 1 of this blog. Within each part, you may find some checklists for the stage you are at. So sit back and let us guide you through.
Are you a SME owner? Because if you are, you will definitely feel that companies in the modern era are facing great difficulty in impressing new generation of talents during recruitment, conceiving an innovative & up to date image to clients and partners, and efficiency within the team. But lo and behold, before any more discouragement, a lot of these can actually be improved by interior design or spatial organization to overcome these difficulties. We are confident to say that realizing smart interior design of an office should be part of your business strategy that will be the first step to save your company. So to SME owners, read on to find more tips on office design.
This COMPLETE guide will allow you to have a complete overview to all the variables involved in revamping your office interior design for a warehouse. An early grip on the situation helps you to save money and time, plus reduce potential disputes with your designer in the future. So if you are about to conceive or start an office design project which is to convert a warehouse to an office of 80-100 people, then this is THE ultimate guide for you to read.
The major part of succeeding in a business depends on the planning that you carry out before you actually invest your first dollar. Similarly, once you have decide whether to buy or rent a warehouse office for your workforce, you need to plan the layout plan perfectly. This step by step guide will lead you through the interior design planning and execution process. So you as the SME owner/manager of a small firm, will eventually come out as the ultimate winner. This blog is divided into many parts so *finger-crossed* if you are in the middle of relocation or renovation, you can still simply scroll to the relevant part to take help and apply the requisite course correction.
PART I: THE PREREQUISITES
There are four basic prerequisites that you need to check and take in consideration before you buy or rent a property. If you check these four parts out, there is absolutely no chance for you to lose money after investment.
Congratulation that the location for your warehouse office is decided! Or wait… Have you inspected the site carefully to make sure the building services and site condition will not cost you a hell lot on renovation fee? The first thing you do when you reach the site is to look if there are any damages or problems with the structure of the building. This is especially important as a small as a crack in the basement can well put you off feet in financial and operational terms. Inspection of structure stability, leakage, waterproofing, and the supply of building services is a must as it can save you loads of money, time and end of project hassle. The best practice will be to hire a professional to do warehouse office inspection or at least use a DIY office design cost checklist before you sign the contract as you can then impose the repairs on the seller or negotiate the rent/sales price before you pay the first dollar. For example, data center in an office will require extra electricity supply. New pantry means new installation of water inlet and outlet if they were not there before. Server room will need good cooling and ventilation. Ideally these setups should be ready for use on the site – you will need to check if everything is functioning as expected. If not then do you have the right to make modifications? Who will pay for the cost of modifications? If the place is rented, then when you leave do you need to resume the condition of pre-modification?
Do you know what costs are to expect during your warehouse office inspection?
There may have been many problems reported by your employees in your previous office location. These interior design complaints may range from distracting lighting colour to lack of recreational space, or from inefficient design layout leading to time wasted due to a different reason. You may not happen to pay much attention to these complaints in the past because there are always other issues of higher priority to be handled but since now as a SME owner you are in charge for the design of the new office design and office design interior, it is the time to solve all these issues along with new designs when the company move forward. Get your employees to fill out this survey so that you have a feel of what they want in the new office design. When a large change is at hand, it is important for you to take the lead on this project even there may be a steep learning curve for the company to improve. It is also important to understand your office design is a marketing / recruitment tool which can be used to lure in more talents, and most importantly, retain senior employees that are not so satisfied with the previous office design. You want to conduct the right spirit/value/image to your clients/partners/employees in the short and long run. Learn about the complaints and challenges each team are facing. A lot of time solutions can be found through better interior design and planning. You can check out many office design interior ideas in one go by looking at this list of wonderful warehouse office design interior ideas at archiparti.
You don’t want your design and marketing department throwing tantrums at each other because the working space is not work friendly. Resources and space in the new warehouse office can be limited, and not be perfect. Limitations may include office openness, access to facilities, open window spaces, spatial arrangement and better access to different departments. Note that a correct office design can improve overall efficiency. So it is important to show respect and coordinate priorities of each department at the start and set up an agreed common goal of renovation propose (eg office openness, better optimization of spatial arrangement, better brand image). Maybe it is hard for everyone to get everything checked on the wish list, but still, everyone should get something on their wish list to show fairness and respect. Also, a renovation/relocation can largely impact the company’s business, in advance packing/renovation/moving timeline and arrangement is 100% needed.
- Assigning a person in charge
A lot of coordination and hence paperwork will be required in order to set up a new warehouse office. The documentation will not be limited to come from the sectors below as you will find out as the project unfolds.
- Security setup
- IT setup
- Insurance (Construction safety, Property protection, staff protection)
- Internet and phone line application
- Electricity supply application
- Water supply application
- Change to external facade (Eg hanging new air conditioners or installing louvers)
- Change to air conditioning
- Start of construction
- Protection of common areas
Similarly, the complete paperwork required in order to buy or lease the warehouse space must also be prepared beforehand so you don’t run into unnecessary delays hampering the movement and subsequently your operations.
Moreover, if you want a simple checklist that lays out the procedures and pre-moving checks that you need to carry out in one document. You can simply make a checklist at the start of the project and keep on updating according to the requirements. Find a detail oriented person to be the person in charge for all the coordinations, make sure you send him/her this guide. This role can easily be a 10+ hours of work per week during the project period.
After the preliminary planning, it is time to decide whether you will hire an interior designer, or just a builder and manage the project yourself. You can continue reading this article to help you with the decision.
PART II: WORKING OUT DESIGN WITH INTERIOR DESIGNER
If you have made the smart decision to work with an interionr designer for your office design, you will need to settle some matters before the first wall is constructed or brought down in the new space. This post will walk you through a step by step process where you will win when working with the designer on your warehouse office design. Check out some of the latest office design ideas here.
- Prepare a Design Brief
The best interior designers cannot put their expertise to good use until you provide them the requisite guidance. Keep in mind that the designer cannot read your mind and therefore you need to properly spell out your requirements. However, also keep in mind that the interior designer will have a vast experience in warehouse office design and may know a thing or two more than you. You can also use user input through a specifically designed survey in order to help you with sharing of all the requisite information from your employees to the designer. Moreover, there are a number of surveys that will help you in getting the right feel before taking the decision. These surveys include design style survey and office organization survey that will benefit you in the longer run.
You need not only have the purpose of your new office design interior in your head but in black and white as well for easy communication. Once you define the expectations and priorities of the renovation, you need to define the timeline. This is a design brief that includes the kind of work that will take place along with the required professionals in order to complete the task within the stipulated time. The brief should also explain the reporting chain and the role of yourself as the SME owner and the designer. Usually, the interior designer will act as the project manager. But to keep things simple and hassle free, you can also hire a project manager or a company that provides these services like archiparti who will help you in aligning work, setting up timelines/milestones and checking the contracts and all quotations on your behalf. Having expert services will never be a bad idea as it will save you essential money and time on minor decisions, and fill up the knowledge gap between the office of the higher hierarchy and the construction party.
The first step is choosing the right interior designer for your office design. Sourcing, interviewing, comparing can take many hours from you. Make sure you communicate to potential designer well and are comparing apple to apple for the services and costs. To be fair, if you cut corners and want to save money, then the designer might produce less drawings as a reflection. So it is important to communicate the expectations in advance. Start with a local interior designer/builder marketplace can be a great idea to put them into good use, on the part for researching the ideal designer for you. Most of these online services are free for the project owner. If you are still confused then just pick up the phone and make a call. Make sure that the interior designer has the requisite experience of converting large lofts into the kind of office that will suffice the needs of your company. Nowadays technology is so advanced, there are many tools to help international communication and presentation, so hiring a non local interior designer for the sake of a particular style or save cost is getting more common in the trade too. Ask questions that are important to you at the interviews, for example: how to keep a low budget but still achieve a “Wow” effect at reception? or their Past experience in managing space of similar challenges.
- Design Process
Interior designers will use some visuals to communicate with you about how your wish list and constraints are translated into visuals and spatial planning (Some examples as below). Typically several revisions will be involved, and you as the SME owner should definitely communicate with all decision makers about the design before giving comments. Limit the comments to 2 – 3 rounds as that does not only make your designer happy, but also save yourself project time on constant back and forth negotiations.
- concepts designs,
- Construction details,
- Reflective ceiling plan,
- Electrical plan,
- Material schedule,
- Appliance schedule,
- Lighting plan,
- Drainage plan,
- Air conditioning plan,
- Furniture design drawing,
Furthermore, there should be timeline and critical milestones associated with the timeline. The timeline must be defined and the payments should be infused with the milestones.
Most of the office design plan should be confirmed before start of construction or else the builder’s quotation and estimation to construction timeframe will needs to be updated. Also many thing will cost a lot to be modified once built. Examples include water pipes, electrical works, demolition etc. Once you have decided on the design, do not change it on the fly unless it is absolutely unavoidable. By doing so you put the designer in a fix and the timeline crash will cause trouble to the designer, you and your company as well.
You will need to take a lot of decisions – big and small, in order to get the office design interior completed. However, some of these decisions can be left to the designer but some critical decisions must be taken by your before the first brick is laid. These important decisions must also be planned upon based on your requirements, prior office experience, and employee wishes. An approval procedure should be set up so there is consensus on what the decisions the designers can made for you on behalf – for example, purchase under certain value, and everything you signed off in design drawings.
To be continued in Part 2! We will continue to talk about Construction Phase and Post-Construction Phase on Warehouse Office transformation.
Question for Today: Do you have experience with office design & renovation? Share your feedback in the comment section below.