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Factors to Consider When Building Your New Office Space

The new office space of today looks so much different than it did 30, 40, 50 years ago. Back then, there were offices and cubicles. Managers had offices, non-managers worked in cube farms. It was rather soulless and without much character.

But today’s offices are (or at least can be) more interesting. They can have more soul. Employees enjoy being in them, and that means they’re more productive and stick around longer, instead of leaving the company after a year or two.

If you’re designing a new commercial office space, there are a few things you should consider when you talk to your commercial contractor.

1. Consider peak occupancy

Depending on the kind of company you have, you may be able to allow a large portion of your workforce to work remotely. Maybe they work from home, but live in town, or maybe they work from all around the world.

This means you need to consider how many people are going to be in the office every day, and how many people could be in the office. You need to plan for peak occupancy, not average occupancy. That means if you have 20 employees, but half of them work remotely, you can’t just plan for 10 desks.

If your employees will sometimes come into the office, make sure they have a place to set up for the day, whether it’s a conference room or a “bullpen” where people can show up once in a while and get some work done.

2. Look for energy savings

Utility costs are a major budget item, but there are ways to reduce them while still keeping the lights on.

For one thing, you can use Low-E windows to reduce the amount of heat lost in the winter and gained in the summer. Less heat lost in the winter means you’re not running the furnace as much; less heat gained in the summer means you don’t have to run the AC as often.

If you own a standalone office building/space, you can also reduce your summer cooling costs by either installing a green roof — gardens and greenery that cover your roof, which reduces summer heat — or even painting it white, which reflects more of the heat. Both options make it less expensive to cool your office.

Consider LED lights instead of fluorescents. Not only do they last longer, but they use less energy, and they give off more light.

Finally, talk to your commercial contractor about the different duct options for your HVAC. You can have ducts made with reflective insulation, or even use geothermal heat exchangers to reduce your heating and cooling load.

3. Wire up for modern technology

The one problem old offices and homes have is that there are never enough outlets. Modern offices have outlets seemingly everywhere. But you can improve on that by making sure there are plenty of outlets for everyone’s work station, and that they’re strategically located. Use drop down cords, or build pillars near desk areas so people can easily plug in.

Take it a step further, and get outlets that have USB ports in them, so people can charge their phones and tablets with a USB cord but not use a charging brick. That leaves the regular outlets free for things like laptops and printers.

Also consider installing Ethernet ports for laptops and desktop computers, rather than relying on wifi. The wifi will get clogged enough as it is with all the tablets and phones using it. But if you can use Ethernet cables, you have more reliable service and people can use their laptops for video conference calls and other high bandwidth tasks.

(And, if you had some solar panels on the roof, you wouldn’t need as much of your own juice to pay for all the charging of devices. You can offset some energy costs by installing solar panels.)

4. Add some color and decoration

Add some color to your new office space. This is an office lobby with colorful walls and furniture.Like it or not, Millennials — people between 18 and 38 — are the biggest segment of the population now, and they’re the ones who are filling up most of the jobs in the corporate world. One thing they all look for in their work is whether they enjoy it. And a great way for them to enjoy it is to have an interesting, colorful office, not the stark white walls and gray industrial carpet of the ’90s offices.

Install interesting decor to make the office look more vibrant and unique, and a place people want to be. Put up used bricks for interior walls, use reclaimed pallet wood or old barn siding for some texture, give the place an industrial look with reclaimed flooring, or install retro fittings and light fixtures for some added character.

If you would like to learn more about how you can design a new office space that’s energy efficient, uses modern technology, but has a look and style all your own, Broadpoint can help. Please visit our website and let us help you design and construct your new office space.

Photo credit: pclenn (Pixabay, Creative Commons 0)