Explained: how refurbishing your offices can boost your bottom line

JLL and Tetris CFO Peter Harris: "Your revamped office space will support staff productivity."

In today’s world, the intangible value of a brand is becoming ever more important. Part of this intangible value lies in your physical office space – how it affects employee wellbeing and productivity, as well as first impressions left with clients. Peter Harris, chief financial and operations officer at JLL and Tétris South Africa, highlights what a revamped office space can mean for your bottom line.
 
Optimise your office space
A new office interior goes far beyond colours, furniture and the fresh look that follows. Most important is an efficient use of space. Large corporates often need to be in expensive real estate nodes, so it is vital that your interior is designed to optimise the way your staff operate in the office, minimising your footprint and the associated property costs.
 
It is vital for your fit-out partner to understand your business, what your staff do on a day-to-day basis, and how the size of the business is set to change over the next lease period so that this can be taken into account during the design process. For example, understand how desk-bound your staff are, who is in and out of the office, who absolutely needs privacy, and how much storage is really needed versus what is, in fact, a historical buildup of stuff.


 
Take an example from JLL: staff complained about not having enough client-facing boardrooms. Sensors were placed in the meeting rooms and the data collected showed that there actually were enough boardrooms, but that there were bottlenecks on Monday mornings due to weekly team meetings. Spread these out over the week, and the problem is solved.
 
So when planning a refurbishment, ensure that this level of thought and optimisation happens for all areas of your space so that you have a sound workplace strategy.
 
Speaking of amenities, if you are located in a node with a variety of eating establishments, do you really need a large lunch room? Is there a gym around the corner? Then skip the addition of showers within your space. Use your immediate surroundings and your staff will too.
 
Your office space expresses your brand
An interior plays a major role in influencing perceptions of your company, so think of it as an extension of your brand. A well-designed office goes far in selling your brand and its message. Use it to impress and gain potential clients, as well as attract and retain top talent.
 
A common mistake is to try save as much as possible when it comes to fitting out your premises. Think about the first impression – is it energising, creative or dependable? – and make sure that the design of the space says what it needs to say. It is a snapshot into your company, and potential staff must want to work within its carefully crafted walls, while relationships with clients are forged here.
 
Happy employees are productive employees
From a softer, more human perspective, people want to work in a great space and can be inspired and motivated by the right environment. Younger generations are drawn to spaces that have a cool factor and they care very much about wellness. They are the future talent that your company wants to attract, so meeting their needs is key.
 
Retaining the older more stable generations is important too, so demonstrate what they will be gaining through the change that comes with a new environment. Retaining staff by supporting their diverse needs will boost productivity and this all has an impact on profits and the company’s bottom line.
 
The bottom line
Ultimately, the goal is to achieve long-term profitability. Although office design and fit-out projects may seem unnecessary and expensive, you should not underestimate the power of a well-designed and functional physical space. It is important to see it as a positive change and leverage the costs to create a better place in which your staff, and your company, thrive.