2023 will be about flexibility – flexibility in workers’ schedules and workplaces, and the spaces and furniture that house them. The office must be ready to adapt from a structured dedicated heads-down work center to a social and collaborative environment with a fluctuating number of workers daily. Often a brief Workplace Strategy session with a Jefferson Group designer can point you in the right direction!
Plan early If you are moving or rightsizing, with your broker and interiors team (without committing financially until the lease is signed, of course) – Early decisions on office neighborhoods, space layout, design, finishes, and furniture selections pay off as the process unfolds! A good commercial furniture dealer, such as Jefferson, will do test-fits of properties, to make sure the space can accommodate your needs, before you decide to lease.
Remember, Negotiations, Leases + Final documents are a vital part of the planning process, and this window of time usually extends for various reasons! Space layouts and structural changes, such as core drills, can be negotiated and scheduled much easier before lease signing. Again, early work on this front can save you from being caught in a timeline crunch.
Allow more time for permits and approvals; these are usually required to start creating your space. Many clients have lost months before the project can begin due to delays in the city or other questions that arise during this initial process! When considering separate areas, demountable and glass walls, as well as soft architecture furniture, can often be installed without the delay of waiting for permits, multiple contractors, or drywall construction.
Choose Cosmetic INSTEAD of Construction; flooring, wall treatments, furniture, break-out areas, and accents are often ways to quickly transform your space without the challenges and time commitments related to a major renovation
Expect unpredictability or delays from multiple suppliers across random industries – carpet, electrical boxes, glass, wiring, metal – critical components not arriving could easily have a domino effect to delay your construction + move-in schedule.
Decide and order the furniture you need for work areas for your day-to-day staff and essential operations as soon as possible. Establish furniture electrical dimension layouts before the building contractors finish to prevent secondary trips. Ensure furniture installation begins as soon as the space is ready, wired up, and connected so your team can get to work. If you are undecided about ancillary areas, lounge, and other furniture or storage items, split them into a separate order.
Have a storage plan for things you’ve ordered that may arrive before your space is ready to accept them! Yes, sometimes your furniture will arrive sooner than you thought! Negotiate a reasonable storage rate so you have it if needed, and even explore delaying shipments from suppliers if they can hold it for you. Be aware that there may be a limited time to report furniture damages from shipment, so be sure to take pictures of everything as it is received. Images can later support your claim if the furniture has damage when uncrated.
Avoid purchasing highly customized furniture with long lead times UNLESS it’s a non-essential piece that you can live without on Day 1. Furniture for reception, boardroom, and C-suite areas often runs late due to manufacturing delays, raw material supply issues, or QC issues before shipping. Consider alternative manufacturers, rental, or loaner furniture solutions well in advance as options.
Insist on regular project meetings with meaningful schedule updates from all the players. When everyone is on the same page, managing the critical milestones and timelines for all parties can help to avoid surprises.
Be ready to pivot to alternate suppliers or providers. As supply chains improve, options are usually available to keep your project on track!
Watch the promised date for ‘space readiness,’ and remember that you still need to allow time for furniture installation, cleaning, IT work, and move-in! If the space is ‘done’ and turned over to you on Friday, can you really work there on Monday?
There’s good news on furniture supply chains! Thankfully as 2022 winds down, we generally see improved lead times and production schedules.
Jefferson Group’s experience and dedication can help you navigate the project process and ensure success!