Your office design & build project questions answered
The office design and build world can be a complex beast to get your head around. Office fit-out questions you have will vary depending on your project, but here are some of the most popular questions we hear.
- Sustainability & ESG
- Extending Lease Expiry
- Office Design
- Office Fit-Out and Primed
- Workplace Strategy
- Working with Interaction
Sustainability & ESG
How does Interaction incorporate sustainability into my office fit-out?
We put sustainability at the forefront of all our work, using our Intelligent Impact framework to consider the effect of every design choice we make on both people and planet. There are many things we can do to improve the sustainability of your office fit-out, bespoke to each individual project. We work with a network of trusted suppliers who have been onboarded to Interaction’s sustainability goals and ambitions and align with our values. We aim to use local suppliers and manufacturers where possible, and we encourage clients to consider sustainable solutions such as using energy efficient lighting and HVAC systems. We have a deep understanding of WELL Building Standards, which guide our design process, whether or not you decide to apply for certification. We benchmark all our projects vs SKA ratings which helps landlords and tenants assess fit-out projects against a set of sustainability good practice criteria. This is just the beginning of what we can do to incorporate sustainability into your office design and build; we explore the topic further in our guide to sustainability in office fit outs.
Which sustainability accreditations are you associated with?
Some of our projects (or the buildings they are in) have achieved wide-recognised sustainability accreditations, such as BREEAM, WELLBuilding, LEED, SKA and EPC rating A. We aim to make sustainability as easy as possible for our clients, therefore our in-house SKA Assessor is on hand to guide you through the process. We discuss these accreditations further in our blog about incorporating sustainability into the workplace. We are also currently in the process of applying for our B Corp™ certification.
What is ESG?
ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Governance. It is a top-level strategic imperative which informs every decision a business makes in terms of workplace culture and how businesses engage with the wider community. Each of the three components ensures that every decision has a positive impact on people, the planet and profit. We have an entire ESG guide for ambitious businesses, which explores the topic in more depth.
How can office design and fit-out enhance ESG ratings?
The workplace embodies all three pillars of ESG, making it a good place to start if you’re looking to improve your credentials.
- The ‘Environmental’ contribution of your space can be improved by a number of factors, including opting for sustainable materials and local suppliers. Thoughtfully choosing your energy systems will also influence your impact. Consider including active travel facilities to encourage sustainable commuting and boost the physical wellbeing of your people.
- To enhance the ‘Social’ element of ESG, a space must consider health and safety, accessibility, inclusivity and wellbeing, and include spaces for community engagement and collaboration.
- Finally, ethically designing a space which promotes transparency, through the use of open-plan layout and collaborative design is just one way in which your workplace can enhance the ‘Governance” aspect of ESG. We delve into the importance of ESG in the workplace in this article.
Extending Lease Expiry
Should I extend my commercial lease or move to a new building?
Although refurbishing an existing space can be a cost-effective way to bring new energy to an organisation, moving to an entirely new space allows you to take a comprehensive approach to modern amenities, sustainability and possibly even allows a fresh start for your business culture. New sustainability regulations might mean that you need to relocate whether you want to or not, which we discuss in our comprehensive guide to commercial lease expiry. Either way, we’re on hand to make your workplace the best it possibly could be.
How do I extend my commercial property lease?
Lease expiry can be a bit of a beast to navigate, involving contractual clauses and legislation. Luckily for you, we’ve pulled together everything you need to know about it on our website, which you can read in our guide to extending your commercial lease.
What is workplace wellbeing?
Workplace wellbeing is as it sounds: the state of feeling physically, mentally, financially and socially well in the workplace. It is influenced by a multitude of factors. Read our comprehensive guide on wellbeing in the workplace to learn more.
How can office design improve workplace wellbeing?
Office design has a significant influence on workplace wellbeing, after all during your lifetime you’ll spend an average of 90,000 hours at work. It goes further than free fruit and treadmills; employee wellbeing needs to be a priority at every level of a business in order to be effective. Read our guide on workplace wellbeing and office design. Here are some of our favourite examples:
- Strategically placing bins and printing facilities further away from workspaces encourages movement and chance encounters with peers
- Conveniently-placed staircases encourage workers to take the stairs as opposed to the lift, improving physical health
- Active travel facilities including accessible showers, bike storage and changing areas promote sustainable and active commuting
- Wellbeing rooms should be included to allow employees to practise their faith, or seek privacy when needed
What are the benefits of workplace wellbeing?
Wouldn’t it be great if we had a whole article answering this question, where everything you could possibly want to know was discussed and explored. Oh wait, we do! Check out the article: ‘What is Workplace Wellbeing’. After all, there’s nothing we love more than putting people first.
How do I know whether I need office design or fit-out services?
It’s easy to get mixed up between office design and fit-out if you’re new to the topic. Design refers to the workshops, conceptual planning in 2D and 3D and interior design solutions which come together to create a model of your new space. An office fit-out is the physical transformation of a space from its existing state, to project completion. Combining these stages is an effective way to save time, money and resources, and often the end result will be better. Find out more about the benefits of using these services in this article ‘What is a design & build firm?’
What is the best type of layout for an office space?
You got us; trick question. There is no one answer to this: different businesses will have different preferences. In the past, furnishing a large office was about getting as many desks in the space as possible. Now the emphasis is on creating collaborative areas that are spacious and welcoming. Using furniture and flooring to create zones is known as a ‘broken-plan’ layout, and is a great way to create a variety of spaces suited to different working styles and types of neurodiversity. Dedicated quiet spaces, multi-faith rooms, wellbeing rooms, phone booths, breakout spaces, and collaborative working areas should come together in a unique mix appropriate for the needs of your people. You can read more about layout in this article about agile design, and more about designing an inclusive space in this guide on ‘how to design an inclusive office’ and ‘How Prayer Rooms can improve workplace wellbeing’.
How do you help visualise office spaces during the design process?
Our skilled team of designers work with you to understand your brief and transform it into something wonderful. We use technology such as Revit and Matterport to help you and your team visualise your new workspace, including jaw-dropping 3D visuals, 360 degree tours, and Virtual Reality (VR). Regular finishes meetings are held where you can touch and compare fabric samples and guide us with feedback every step of the way.
Will you work with interior designers and third party vendors?
When delivering a client a new workspace, we love working with their in-house designers, architects and other creatives to make their visions come to life. We have a best-in-class team of designers amongst our Actioneers, who each can bring different skill sets to the table. We prize partnerships, working with an approved list of suppliers who align to our values and sustainability goals. If you have a dedicated design team with a well-established brief, we’re happy to work with you as part of a detail & build project to make it a reality.
Office Fit-Out and Primed
What is the difference between a CAT A and CAT A+ fit-out?
A CAT A fit-out is a project that results in a functional yet empty space – a blank canvas for interior designers to work their magic on. Alternatively, a CAT A+ fit-out results in a blank canvas ready for some stylish interior design, except this time basic amenities and furniture are provided from desks and dining tables to fridges and coffee machines. This is also known as Primed. Find out more in our article about the different types of office fit-out.
What is the difference between a CAT A and CAT B fit-out?
A CAT A fit-out is essentially a blank canvas (see above). On the other hand, A CAT B fit-out comprises the basic infrastructure and services of a CAT A fit-out, as well as additional interior design and other stylistic elements. Fixtures, flooring and ceiling finishes, as well as walls, doors and windows come together in a CAT B fit-out, creating a functional and aesthetically pleasing space that is ready for immediate occupation. Most often, a CAT A will be initiated on behalf of a landlord wanting a space to market to tenants, whilst a CAT B will be commissioned by a tenant who is seeking to either turn an empty space into a finished workspace environment or overhaul an existing office. We discuss this further in our article about the different types of office fit-out.
How long does an office fit-out usually take?
What is Primed?
Primed is our “plug and play” programme – designed with the needs of landlords, serviced office providers and co-working operators in mind. Primed delivers high-quality, fast-turnaround workspaces that attract best-in-class tenants and “just work” from the minute they get the keys. Our experienced team provide a turnkey solution from the design through fit-out, including technology integration, furniture and interior styling. Explore Primed here, or take a look at some case studies.
How can a Primed space help a landlord?
Primed has multiple benefits for landlords looking to offer potential tenants a pre-fitted workspace. These include faster tenant acquisition, reduced rent voids and higher rental income. Read about Primed in our guide to Plug and Play offices.
How do you quote clients for an office fit-out?
We help our clients from the very initial stages, using industry and market rates to assist with budgeting and choosing a building. We can then develop the process, taking a detailed brief including a targeted budget & specification. At this stage we would also design the project and cost the design, which becomes more accurate with every conversation between ourselves and the client. Naturally, we always work to a budget, but can also provide value engineering and upgrades as the project evolves.
How can I determine the return on investment in an office fit-out?
It’s not a one size fits all, as it depends on what you are trying to achieve from your fit-out. For example, some businesses may want to bring people back to the office while others are improving mental wellbeing, or company culture. Progressive companies are expanding the ways in which they track organisational health, looking at data points including NPS scores, project turnaround times, sick days and advocacy across social platforms.These are hard metrics but soft metrics will be equally, if not more illuminating. Regular agenda-free one-to-ones, exit interviews, off the record chats and open discussion forums will provide insight into what’s going on under the surface of your organisation – and how much further you may have to go. These factors collectively determine the return on investment of your fit-out.
Who is workplace strategy for?
All businesses will benefit from a well-defined workplace strategy, no matter the industry, size or working style. Workplace strategy unifies how you approach physical spaces, digital and working practices to best support your business strategy and your culture. It is specifically useful for those experiencing change, understanding how to navigate hybrid work, improve company culture, multi-site businesses, those recruiting, undergoing mergers, and striving to improve wellbeing and inclusivity – basically, every business. A clear strategy ensures your workplace aligns with your priorities, supporting your teams to do their best, have a competitive advantage, attract talent, and represent the brand to clients.
How does Interaction provide quotes for workplace consulting?
Workplace consulting quotes are based on the scope of work required; no two businesses are the same. The purpose of workplace consulting is to gain an expert understanding of how your business works and how it can meet its goals. Quotes can be influenced by several factors including:
- The size & set-up of your organisation
- The amount of face-to-face time required
- How in-depth your existing workplace strategy is
- How it crosses into your business strategy and HR policies
- Levels of onboarding and engagement
- Desired outcomes
If you’re grappling with your workplace strategy and need some guidance, our consultants would love to help. Why not get in touch?
Is workplace consulting included with office design and fit-out services?
Workplace strategy consulting is a separate service to office design and build. A strong workplace strategy creates offices that are fit for the future. Consultation comes before the project starts as the findings will be woven into the design – a space built around the needs of the people who use it. You might even find that you don’t need to move at all, perhaps your current space just needs a redesign. With these insights under our belt, we’re equipped to bring you the best results possible in the following phases.
Can Interaction provide a forecast to show the impact of a new workplace strategy?
Workplace strategy consultations can take many forms, from complex change management to a simple property portfolio analysis. We’re always happy to work with you to map out what success looks like ahead of the project and define what the measurable impacts of the project will be.
What deliverables can I expect as part of a new workplace strategy?
Workplace strategy is often presented in a printed report or book of data or content which can be referred to by the business. However, rather than thinking about physical deliverables, consider the wider long-term benefits your business will reap. Workplace Strategy unifies how you approach physical spaces and digital & working practices to best support your business strategy and culture. We use a variety of methods – such as utilisation studies, multi-office portfolio reviews, employee and leadership engagement and post-occupation evaluation – to gain a thorough understanding of your people, space and culture. Many of our clients engage us to onboard their staff to their new space to maximise its potential.
Working with Interaction
Can you help us negotiate our office building lease?
Absolutely. We often work with clients from the very early stages of their relocation or refurbishment. We put together the design proposal based upon surveys from existing builds, and any issues can be relayed back to the landlord to negotiate. We can also sometimes obtain contributions from the landlords towards the works, to lessen any financial impact.
Can you help me find a new office space?
Yes, we have insightful knowledge of the property market and we have fantastic relationships with all types of property partners. We liaise with them to ensure all of your requirements are met in the search for your new space. If that sounds like something you need help with, chat with Charlie.
Can I just do my office design and build in-house?
Absolutely, but we are there to keep things on track by utilising our expertise and network. Workplace Design and Build companies exists to drive efficiencies, delivering projects more quickly by being a one-stop-shop. We are in tune with the property market, giving you access to relevant tools and platforms, and are built to be more cost effective, smarter and quicker. We discuss this further in the article Design & Build Firms: What Are They and Why Should I Use Them?
When is a good stage to engage with a workplace design and build company?
Always give yourself enough time to understand the opportunity, the options and the costs before you commit yourself. Even if you think you have a brief, it’s wise to allow us to help develop it before you go to market (so even earlier than you may think). Often, thinking about the space you occupy will reveal lots of questions about how you best leverage a workplace to maximise your biggest asset – your employees. As soon as you’re starting to consider a shift in the way your company operates, get in touch. The periods leading up to lease ends and breaks are natural times to consider an office redesign. Check out our guide to commercial lease expiry, or our ultimate guide to office fit-outs to learn more.
What makes you different from other office design and build specialists?
‘There were two kinds of company that responded to our brief: others simply came back with a version of what I had requested. Interaction was the one that said, “I’m going to tell you what you are actually looking for – and I’m going to make it even better”.’ – Xledger. We have over 30 years’ experience delivering what we call Perfection at Pace, working with ambitious organisations to harness the power of their culture and create workplaces in which their people can thrive. Our commitment to transparency, passion, and drive to put people above all is what makes us stand out. We’ll let our work speak for itself.
I’m not really sure about where to start with my new office plans, how can you help?
We have these sorts of conversions with clients all the time. The best place to start is to have a call with Charlie. Go back to basics and ask yourself what you want, and why. Once you’ve figured this out, we will help you make the decision about how much space you need, if you can better utilise it, or whether the best option would be to relocate. We would then survey your building, create specification plans, and collaborate with you to realise your aspirations.
How do I work with Interaction?
How do I stay in touch with Interaction?
Why not sign up to our monthly newsletter, where you can see what we’ve got up to in the past month? We share case studies, content and other updates across our social media and on our website. We also have Thrivalism, our podcast which discusses all things workplace strategy. If you want to have a chat, give us a call, send us an email or why not chat with Charlie.