Out-of-hours CHURN is occupied office space refurbishment over night, at the weekend or on a Bank Holiday, when the office is not being used.
Businesses need to reorganise their office for many different reasons. Some are moving the organisation to a new site, some need to restructure their office or have just renewed the lease and want to make the working environment more efficient and professional looking, for staff and customers. One thing that nearly all Customers require though is ‘minimal disruption’ to their business and their staff.
Occupied office space refurbishment ‘Out of hours office churn’ is the term that we use for moving, re-fitting or relocating occupied office environments at a time when they’re not being used, typically overnight or at the weekend. With the current trend for saturated office space with smaller workstations and better space utilisation, following the introduction of flat screens and smarter ways of working, hot desking, hoteling etc, decanting staff and desks to another place during the move is a thing of the past which, in turn makes your typical churn project a more involved process. It requires a safe set of hands to deliver it properly and ensure everything is in place to be operational first thing Monday when the staff return. Factor in the requirement to relocate IT, add power, data and patch the cabinet then things get even tougher to achieve without staff downtime. Add any form of construction to the mix and now you’re starting to see risk to the business.
Organising an occupied office space refurbishment project is difficult and usually extremely frustrating, even for the most experienced professional – relying on a variety of sub contractors to work either alongside each other or sequentially to deliver a project in a condensed time scale with little scope for error or delay. However there is another way to achieve this, by using a dedicated specialist contractor, who is used to working under pressure to deliver rapid churn in occupied offices – ‘out of hours’.
A successful out of hours churn (occupied office space refurbishment) solution always depends on a perfect combination of planning, manpower and resources. Typically the process starts long before the period of carrying out the works, be it overnight, mid week or at the weekend. Behind the scenes during and lead-up to the refit or move, a Facility Manager or project co-ordinator is needed to plan every last detail of the work to be carried out. This would normally range from I.T. disconnect/re-connect to furniture disposal/installation or re-configuration of existing desks, supplying of move crates, drawings, labels and spreadsheets. If construction is required or a rolling re-fit, then internal products such as carpeting, partitioning and infrastructure services are added to the mix, all the time building a cross section of requirement that represents the physical delivery required.
Once this has been identified and site and access parameters considered, it is possible to start looking at what can physically be delivered during a closure period. As an example, typically in city centre locations with reasonable access it is possible to relocate/refit between 50 and 160 desk positions dependant on the complexity of the requirement. An environment requiring demolition, new carpet, decoration, new furniture, modifications/additions to power and data would be nearer the 50-person delivery over a typical weekend. Environments requiring a churn of personnel, I.T. and storage would be nearer a 160-person delivery, sometimes higher.
Successful refurbishment of occupied office space (out-of-hours churn) depends on a perfect combination of planning, manpower and resources. Fortunately, we have got these down to a fine art.
So how do you achieve this?
Firstly, only a specialist occupied office space refurbishment contractor who is experienced at this type of work can deliver this low level of disruption to your business activities. This is because they have their own, dedicated in-house team with a combination of strong design and planning skills, supported by a strong on-site team who understand what is required. Often the on-site team will apply a shop fit labour model where each of the team is multi-skilled in what they can do, no electrician waiting for the carpet fitter waiting for the chippie etc. Usually the team starts by planning everything to the finest detail using proven project planning tools, including spreadsheets, drawings and schedules of exactly what needs to be done and where and when it needs to be done. Each element of the works is pre-planned, walked-through and documented so the site time as far as practical becomes 100% implementation.
Now here’s the win for busy business owners and Financial Directors:
If you use a occupied office space refurbishment contractor with the right design ethos, they can usually design an implementation plan that doesn’t require ‘swing space’ (finding another desk for someone to work at whilst the work is completed) and they will often be able to deliver the whole project with each person only moving once, to their final positions. Just imagine the cost reduction in avoiding temporary moves, and the user experience of no temporary decant for your personnel. Be careful here though because not all sub-contractors have the expertise to deliver this. It’s well worth asking the question when selecting your contractor and asking to speak to previous client’s to see how they deliver.
Once the delivery plan has been agreed and the staff locations set, then a site team can swing into action as your office closes with each member of the team knowing exactly what is required, all working calmly and efficiently with project management on site charting progress against the carefully prepared work plan. If I.T. is being removed from desks, a clear documented process should be produced that ensures the I.T. is re-configured on the new desk exactly as it was left by the user when they left the office. This alone can save businesses countless hour’s chasing ghosts on a Monday morning, trying to find missing items and essential business tools. Depending on the complexity of the requirement the team should work in carefully co-ordinated shifts to keep the project on track through the work cycle with carefully monitored way points en route.
Getting value from reorganising your office
Most businesses understand the benefits of refurbishing or refitting their working environments – the positive influence on staff morale, productivity and loyalty are well documented.
Many simply have no choice but to re-organise their space or their staff to remain competitive and efficient at what they do. However, the cost of a professional design and build project can often result in it being postponed or significantly downgraded. If you pay for the furniture and refurbishment of your building from your cash flow, only a limited percentage is allowable for tax purposes.
Because of the ‘intangible’ elements, the Inland Revenue only allows you to claim capital allowances against approximately 65% of the project. However, if you lease the works, the repayments are 100% allowable unlike any other form of finance such as a bank loan. This 100% allowance on payments often makes leasing the most tax efficient method of refurbishing a building and can WORK OUT CHEAPER THAN PAYING CASH!
Before committing your organisation, your staff and your customers to the challenges that an office move or re-fit can create, make sure you have spoken to space-pod.
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