office refurbishment planning

Why involve your employees in office refurbishment planning?

Generally, managers or business owners take responsibility for office refurbishments so that space and design objectives can be achieved and budgets watched. But as employees often spend a third of their day at work, there are some good reasons to involve them in the decision making process—with a few caveats as well!

RH Manly Reception desk wall meeting room door

The importance of workplace branding

Think about famous brands. Perhaps logos and colours such as Cadbury purple, Coca Cola red or the Qantas kangaroo come to mind. If you think a little deeper however, you will realise that the strongest brands also reflect the total customer experience…Mercedes for luxury, Google for knowledge, Lego for fun.

Loyalty to a brand is the holy grail of marketing and achieving brand success takes time and commitment. Budgets are typically spent on external branding, with workplace branding limited to client facing reception areas. But even if clients don’t visit your office, there are significant benefits of branding in the workplace. In fact, you ignore it at your peril!

Open Plan Offices

Maintaining privacy in an open plan office

Open plan offices have had some bad press lately. Staff mainly complain about the lack of privacy and the noise from other employees. But when open plan offices don’t work, it’s usually because there wasn’t enough thought involved in the office design. In other words, it ended up all ‘open’ and no ‘plan’. Careful design is required for effective open plan offices, so here are some ideas to help you get it right.

LJ Hooker East Gosford

LJ Hooker East Gosford Real Estate

Agent Convinced New Look Builds Business

After twelve years in the office in which he established his LJ Hooker East Gosford real estate agency, Principal, Nicholas Cusick, bit the bullet and decided to move
across the road to new premises twice the size. Now, with business growing incrementally, he’s wondering why he took so long.

“We have the new premises with a completely new look that’s actually winning us listings,” Nicholas said

“I’ve been told by people who’ve pulled me up in the street that they are listing with us purely on the basis of the look and our improved exposure.”Nicholas has no hesitation in giving credit where it’s due as far as the presentation is concerned – Evoke Projects.

“I wanted someone to do the turnkey fitout for me because I really didn’t have the time and I’m neither an interior designer nor a builder,” Nicholas said. “I had the basic idea of what I wanted in terms of sales office screened from the reception area and with a separate entrance. Other than that I wanted something of understated elegance that was modern, clean, would fit with the area and age

“It was important too that it appealed to the demographic which ranges from younger people and middle aged professional couples to retirees. I was particularly conscious that there was a danger of scaring the retirees away if the premises looked too expensive.

“That was it and as far as the details were concerned I needed a hand. I needed a professional company to come and show me how to achieve this,” Nicholas said.

Evoke Projects had fitted out Nicholas’ Lisarow office prior to his buying it and he had subsequently used the company for minor jobs at both that office and his Gosford premises. In addition Evoke Projects came recommended by close friends and clients.

Nicholas provided a rough floorplan sketches and after a briefing Evoke Projects returned with a concept that impressed both Nicholas and his General Manager Lisa Hayes right from the start.

“We had several meetings and while the concept needed some small changes they pretty much got it right first time, demonstrating that he understood what we were trying to achieve.”
Not only did Evoke Projects present a floorplan first up, they arrived complete with colour schemes for walls, floor coverings and tiles as well as conceptual and a winning idea to use a specially commissioned photo of Caroline Bay for a mural in the reception area. Major features of the plan included seven workstations in the sales area to allow for future growth and huge, workable storage areas to accommodate the amount of archive filing required by a company that boasts more than 50% repeat business. Nicholas said it was not unusual for his team of three sales people to sell one property a number of times, thus requiring a system that allowed for ready retrieval of archived files.

Evoke Projects and Nicholas went to some lengths to garner staff input and all agree with not only the layout but the subdued off white colours that give prominence to the photographic sale displays.
“The actual fitout took six weeks and that included having to knock a few walls over and rip out the old tiles. They knew that our move in date was set in concrete and in the last week really pushed their subbies to get in and finish the job. The site foreman, Michael, was excellent.”

Nicholas said that the turnaround was all the more remarkable when it was considered that Evoke Projects had a number of jobs on at the time including the LJ Hooker office at Avoca Beach. “Both were working to a deadline and they got us both there.

“I was more than happy with the end result, particularly the new business it has generated, and with the fact that the whole project came in under my own initial estimates,” Nicholas said. “It will pay for itself very quickly,” he added.

Motivation is Key

Motivation is the key to productivity

With millions of Australians working in office-based jobs, it is surprising how much attention is placed on the cost per square metre, rather than the productivity and motivation of the people within that space. After all, staff costs are significantly higher than office costs.

Jerry Kennard, Managing Director of Evoke Projects, an Australian business specialising in efficient workspace design, explains further: “It has long been recognised that productivity will increase in well-designed offices because staff are motivated and have an emotional commitment to their employer. According to research, the increase can be as high as 36%.

inspire your staff

Inspire your staff to do their best

You may not want to go as far as Google, with Lego and playground slides in the office, but there is definitely a lot to be said for an office environment that inspires and motivates staff.

Jerry Kennard, Managing Director of Evoke Projects, an Australian business specialising in efficient workspace design, explains: “It has long been recognised that productivity will increase in well-designed offices because staff are motivated and have an emotional commitment to their employer. According to research, the increase can be as high as 36%.

wellness in the workplace

Wellness in the workplace

Given that most of us spend over 30% of our time in the workplace, it seems obvious that our work environment can impact our health. But what constitutes a work ‘environment’ and what can employers do to improve wellness in the workplace?

Firstly, it pays to recognise that wellness in the workplace is about more than a duty of care towards employees. Think about the most dynamic companies of our time. Perhaps Google, Microsoft or Twitter spring to mind? Interestingly, these companies made it onto Greatest list of Healthiest Companies to Work For in America. They recognise that happy people are productive people and these businesses focus on ‘environment’ as a way of attracting and retaining the best talent. Other healthy companies include Eventbrite (they even have a Zen room!), General Electric and Accenture.