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The Workplace Post Covid Pandemic – Impacts on Future Workplace Design & Office Fit Out

For many companies, the office space over the recent months has been off limits. Many businesses have closed their workplaces with staff forced to work remotely. Some have kept their offices operational but with minimal essential staff and most employees working from home. As restriction change and continue to ease, slowly but surely employers will be allowing staff to return to the workplace however under some new distancing guidelines and safety measures. How will these new ways of working effect how a workplace is designed and functions? Will the office footprint or tenancy size need to change? Will the workplace we knew before the coronavirus ever exist once again? In this blog post we hope to give some insight into the newly evolving workplace design and some avenues your workplace could investigate in making your office space work more safely, efficiently and profitably in the future.

Due to the COVID19 outbreak, working from home (WFH) has become the new norm for most office bound employees now. With this major shift away from the office space, business leaders have come to realise that a good percentage of their staff can work productively outside of the office. With the help of appropriate technologies employees can still perform their job tasks and continue to reach their targets and deliver results. So, if most staff don’t need to always be in the office, is there then a need to review and change how the office workplace is designed post pandemic? Given the current climate and situation high on a business’ priority list is employee safety and the significant financial implications of running a business. There is no doubt majority of business owners are trying to recoup costs, due to loss of business with many clients having placed projects or purchases on hold.

The following are some fundamental areas of office design business owners will need to consider. These aspects will gain momentum from the initial phase of employees returning to the office and into the near future as the new normal for office space design evolves. Businesses will need to plan and redesign spaces that accommodate their employee’s new social practices and ways of working. This shift may include simple daily practices but may also include redesigning their workspaces and workplace culture, adopting design practices that are more akin to healthcare facilities.

The Tenancy As Real Estate

With social distancing measures required to be in place inside an office tenancy, there will be an urgent need consider a business’ current floorplate size and existing office fit out is workable. Even with a high percentage of employees continuing to work from home, there will be a need for more space and this to be distributed among fewer staff. This will see the return of a more generous space standard, now with at least a 1.5m distance between staff work points. In short term linear runs of desks will need to have less staff placed and less staff within a shared office adhere to social distancing rules. On the other hand, businesses my chose to downsize their office space as majority of their staff will work remotely. It is a case by case scenario that businesses will need to assess and work out which direction they see most effective financially in the short and long term.

Incorporating Hygiene Safety Into Interior Design Elements

Isolation workstation screens by Montage Interiors

There is no doubt offices will need to incorporate infection control practices in the design of their workplace and office interiors. They will need to increase and adapt their cleaning methods as well as consider the cleanability of materials used throughout office space. This is will includes easy to clean and disinfect floor finishes, furniture as workstation and seating upholsteries and finishes, window finishes and curtains, to the use of contactless auto access control to entry points over door handles. A surface with antimicrobials properties helps to lower transmission organisms than ones which are non-treated thus reducing the spread of potential infection. Office design generally will see an increased call to utilise finishes that have anti-microbial traits. Two such materials are Silver and copper that many manufacturers are now using to treat surfaces or be woven into finishes as upholstery fabrics. Silver and copper can also be impregnated into Plastic or silicone surfaces like countertops and light switches. Steel and aluminium fittings and door hardware such as faucets and door handles can also have these anti-microbial materials applied as protective coating. Apart from replanning workpoint desking and their proximity across the office floor, to help reduce physical contact and transmission of bacteria, the installation of removable or fixed screens to workstations could be employed and retrofitted to existing desks. Dedicated hand sanitation stations and general office hygiene protocols will need to be put in place for employees to utilise especially if hot desking and hot office sharing occurs.

Designating Isolation Rooms In The Workplace

Spatially and facility wise office tenancies and their interior design may see a requirement for more quarantine rooms or first aid provisions. An isolation space can be any type of enclosed room so if no sick bay space in available phone rooms or small 2p meeting rooms can be converted in this instance in case an employee falls ill

The Reconfiguration Of large Flexible Spaces

Whilst using every alternate desk will see you potentially cut your capacity by 50% or more, utilising conference rooms, focus rooms, learning labs, and break out spaces as temporary dedicated seating areas can be a cost-effective option. Without having to lease more tenancy space an office can increase the numbers of employees in the workplace while maintaining physical distancing measures. A commercial office Fitout company can assist in the relocation of desks and location of power and data points to ensure the replanned space can work safely and productively.

Reviewing Mechanical Services Design (Air-conditioning)

HVAC systems and their design will become of the upmost importance in commercial interior environments. As air borne germs become more of a concern for the air quality in the office space, standard mechanical design for office buildings and tenancies may require major re-engineering to lower the risk of internal office infection. It has been said that floor and zone separation of the air distribution system will become the standard. To help kill bacteria and viruses, HEPA (High-efficiency Particulate Air) filters incorporated with high-energy ultra-violet light units to may also become a standardised feature. There are methods of designing air filtration systems to prevent infection spread. Mixing outdoor air with air within our indoor spaces can decreasing the risk of breathing infected air. It can be filtrated to remove contaminates, preventing them from being recycled in an indoor environment. These measures will be of major consideration in the mechanical design installed into conferencing, boardrooms and open offices spaces.

The Future For Workplace Interior Office Fit Outs

The way we work, and design and interact within commercial office fit outs won’t be like what we have ever experienced before. Our future workplace designs will be required to cater to the new post COVID-19 realities. For a workplace to continue to be productive and a business to be successful, it must be flexible and adaptable. It must now meet the new challenges of our hyper focus on health and safety and the introduction of employees on a heightened shift based flexible working schedule between the workplace and home office.

As outlined in this article businesses will need to understand changes involved and how these affect the overall workplace interior design now and into future. Changes will call for many cases additional capital and incur further operational costs. Experiencing the uncertainty of the recent pandemic and lockdowns, renewed focus in renewing your workplace culture. The behaviour of employees has changed, and they will require more assurance of their physical and mental wellbeing and that their personal safety in the workplace is paramount.

If you require your workplace layout to be re-planned and reconfigured, Inside Design an experienced builder specialising in office and workplace interior design across Sydney can assist with any of your commercial office fit out needs. From desking and furniture relocations to alterations of electrical and mechanical services to suit be spatial layouts or tenancy make goods, we understand your business wants to make required changes quickly so your staff can get back to work as soon as possible. Contact us now to speak to one of our business directors about your office fit out project scope.

A Quick Look At Office Refurbishments

When it comes down to looking at your office fit out options, it’s always important to consider staying in your current location and refurbishing that. It may not be the right choice depending on your needs and requirements, but there can be merit to this kind of office refurbishment.

 

One of the most significant benefits is simply the cost. Planning and building a new office fit out can obviously be a costly exercise, but refurbishing your existing office can cut many of those costs. There is less to design, less to build, and less effort in ending and starting a new lease.

 

Beginning an existing office refurbishment still allows you to the opportunity to address existing issues within your previous fit out. It can be an opportunity to utilise unused space to build more offices, or conversely demolish existing walls to open up new space. You are still afforded the opportunity to address the carpet, ceilings, furniture, walls, and doors – to name a few aspects.

 

There are certainly downsides to beginning an office refurbishment, especially if the working is being completed while your office space is still occupied. While the bulk of noisy construction will generally be completed outside your work hours, there are other factors to consider. The fit out will often be completed in stages, meaning that it could extend the timeline of the project, and may causes some logistical issues that could cause a degree of disruption to your staff – if they are still working from the site.

 

These are just a few factors to take on board when you are considering refurbishing your office. Any good office fit out company will be able to help you make the right decision, and work with you from start to finish to bring your vision to fruition.

Building the Inside Design Office – Part Two

Welcome back to our blog. We made a post a few weeks ago talking about the progress of our own office design and fit out. As a company who specialises in designing and building modern, attractive, and functional offices for companies big and small, we wanted to make sure our office showcased both our vision and work.

 

As you saw in our part one of this blog post, our Crows Nests location was originally a dilapidated, unused storage space. We were able to design an office that not only met our logistical requirements, but was also a beautiful and functional fit out that we could comfortably work in and bring clients to.

 

As you can see from some of the photos attached, our finished office fit out has transformed the location to an attractive office space with a focus on the following aspects:

 

Open Plan Office

 

We utilised the space available to create a roomy open plan office, promoting an environment in which we can easily communicate and collaborate. The office size isn’t huge, so it was important for us to keep the floor plan as minimal as possible, and to avoid closing off the space by keeping the workstation walls low enough for us to easily communicate as a team, but high enough to allow a private and practical working environment.

 

Meeting Space

 

Another important aspect of our office fit out was to incorporate a large meeting table central to the office design. We wanted an office that would not only easily work together in, but a space where we could also comfortably host clients.

Our central meeting table seats six people – and is not only highly practical, but serves as the centrepiece for our office design.

 

Work Stations

 

We incorporated four huge workstations into our office fit out. Each workstation contains a massive L-shaped desk, big enough to operate our desktop computers, laptops, fully unfolded office design plans for jobs, and literally anything else we need on a day to day basis. Our workstations are a product of our overall office design vision – allowing us to easily communicate and to promote co-working, communication, and sharing ideas.

 

Office Fit Out

 

You’ve probably got a fair idea of what we wanted out of our office design. However, having the perfect office design is one thing, but it means nothing without a great office fit out to implement that design.

 

The combination of our team of highly skilled tradesmen, carefully sourced, high quality materials, and state of the art furnishings allowed our office design to become a reality. The result is a fantastic modern office that we enjoy working out of and are proud to bring clients to.

 

Our Own Office DesignOffice Design

Three Trends To Follow For Co-Working Space Office Fit Outs

Over the last three or so years, there has been a huge rise in the popularity of shared offices, renting desks, and co-working spaces. As aspiring entrepreneurs, successful start-up owners and digital freelancers flock to these tech hotspots, it is important for office designers and fit out companies to take note. Offices are changing. Here are three trends that you’ll need to nail if you want to win that tender – featuring real life examples.

 

  1. Open Plan Fit Outs

 

Melbourne co-working space The Commons harbours multiple companies with full time space, as well floating desks for part time individuals in their 1600 sqm office fit out.

 

For fit outs like this, office designers have to take into account the specific set up and layout of work stations to accommodate the workspace for full time businesses using the office, as well as providing options for renting out workstations and desks for casual or part time individuals and small groups who also use the space.

 

  1. Meeting Rooms

 

One of the most significant differences between a standard office and a shared co-working office fit out is the number and sizes of the meeting rooms. Sydney office Fishburners currently has 170 different companies working out of their co-working offices.

 

Meeting rooms are often the most carefully detailed, designed and constructed offices for fit out companies, due to the fact that they are often where the congregations of the most senior company members take place.

 

Now imagine an office space with over a hundred different companies. Office fit outs for these locations regularly include dozens of meeting rooms and board rooms of different sizes, posing additional hurdles for fit out companies.

 

  1. Break Out Spaces

 

Co-working spaces aren’t just offices, they are communities. The collaborative and creative environment means that there is a huge social aspect amongst the office space. Inspire9 in Melbourne is a perfect example of this, with a huge break out area where the workers regularly meeting up for ping pong, drinks, and events.

 

This is another huge element for office designers to incorporate into their overall plan. As one of the most significant parts of the overall office fit out, it should be addressed with great detail to ensure the client is satisfied with the office.

Building The Inside Design Office – Interior Office Design

Hello and welcome back to our blog. Our past two posts on the Snapcracker project explored both the progress as well as the completion of their interior design and office fit out. We’ve decided to continue down that path and show our readers how we designed and built our own office located in Crows Nest – starting with the interior office design.

When we decided on this office in 2014, the previous owner was essentially using it solely as a storage space. Prior to commencing the office fit out, we needed to develop an interior office design that would allow us to efficiently use the floor space and create a modern, open plan office.

Our open plan office requirements were as follows

  • Four workstations
  • A central space for client meetings
  • A fully furnished breakout area
  • A small server room

The interior office design successfully addresses all of our requirements. We were able to fit the work stations, kitchen, and a large table for client meetings in an office with no internal full height partitions, allowing the office to maintain the desired open plan aesthetic.

You can see the original state of the office in the photos below, including the total space we had to work with for our design and fit out.

Our next blog will focus on the office fit out process, and include information and photos of our office as it is today.

 

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Snapcracker – Office Design & Fitout Update

Hello and welcome. For those who are new to our blog, we are Inside Design – a Sydney based office fitout company.

 

A few weeks ago we made our first blog post introducing you to one of our recent projects – an office design and fitout for Snapcracker, a research & development company located in Crows Nest.

 

We’ve recently completed their design and fitout and would like to give our readers an update on Snapcracker’s new office, as well as some photos of the unfurnished office space.

 

Snapcracker needed a complete office refurbishment, meaning we started with a blank canvas. The first step was to work with the client to create a complete design of what their office would look like. Working within a set budget, we managed to incorporate all of the client’s requirements into the design.

 

Those requirements included:
• two main, glass front offices
• an open plan working space
• a fully serviced kitchen
• a service room to facilitate printing &    communication systems
• all electrical, plumbing, carpeting, and tiling services
• joinery for the entire office

 

Here are some photos we took of the completed office fitout. We will be back soon with more posts featuring some of the new projects we are currently working on.

 

Snapcracker Office Fitout Progress 2

Snapcracker Office Fitout Progress 2

Snapcracker Office Fitout Progress 2

Snapcracker Office Fitout Progress 2

Snapcracker – Office Design & Fitout Progress

Hi – we are Inside Design, an office fitout company based in Sydney. Welcome to our very first blog post. The purpose of this blog is to show you what we do, and how we do it. We realised that having photos on our website and Facebook isn’t really enough. We want to use real projects for real clients, and document the progress of these projects – from start to finish.

 
We recently received an enquiry from Snapcracker, a research and strategy company based in Crows Nest, who were impressed by our website and our past work. Snapcracker were in need of a small office fitout for their Sydney location, and we met up with their team to put together an office design that met both their scope and budget.

 

While Snapcracker’s office space isn’t large, there were a lot of requirements that we needed to meet with our office design. This included necessary certification, custom joinery, and a new kitchen. Being a business that relies heavily on technology, we also had to carefully plan and incorporate a complete, end-to-end communication system into the small office fitout.

 

We put forth an office design that covered everything in the scope, and Snapcracker enthusiastically approved, and due to relatively strict timelines, we started moving forward with the office fitout immediately.

 

That pretty much leads us to right now, so here are some ‘in progress’ photos. You can come back and look at these when we make our next post in a couple of weeks featuring the finished Snapcracker job, and appreciate the full transformation.

 

We’ll be back soon to show you the finished project.

 

Snapcracker Office Fitout Progress 2

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