A Guide to a Budget-Friendly Office Renovation

Aug 31 2023

By: Katie Morris, RID, NCIDQ

There are a lot of factors to consider when undertaking an office renovation – what will the office look and feel like? What layout will help optimize the space and meet company work patterns? And most importantly, how can the renovation accomplish these goals and adhere to the budget?

Why Renovate?  

New technology and hybrid work opportunities have changed the ways in which we work over the past several years. Renovating your office not only provides your space with an updated look that reflects modern work life but can also help optimize your space to meet your company’s workflow, increase employee wellness and productivity, help attract and retain employees, and much more. We discuss several reasons to renovate and how an office renovation will enhance company culture in a previous article, “Workplace Design that Enhances Company Culture.”  

Front desk.

Set Your Project Up for Success from the Beginning 

The initial planning stages of your renovation are crucial. There are a lot of factors to consider when undertaking a renovation project and it is important to identify renovation goals, allot a budget for the project, and find a trusted design firm to help guide the project through each stage.

Why Hire an Architect/Designer?  

There are three main stages of a renovation project – predesign, construction documentation, and construction. Knowledgeable designers are familiar with all phases of renovations and can assist with a variety of services including programming, planning floorplans, ADA accessibility, life safety, putting together and submitting documents for permit and bidding, working with other consultants and vendors, working with contractors during construction, and guiding clients through the entire process from start to finish.  

Not only do designers have the knowledge to guide clients through their projects, but hiring a designer to help lead renovation efforts takes some weight off the shoulders of business owners so that they can focus on other responsibilities.

“An office renovation can be very overwhelming, especially for someone who has another job and other responsibilities. Hiring a competent architect or interior designer can help relieve the daily stress and uncertainty of a project for someone who doesn’t do this on a regular basis.”
Katie Morris, RID, NCIDQ, MHAworks Project Manager & Office Design Expert

Why is Having a Budget Important?  

Every decision a client makes during a renovation ranging from finish and furniture selection to what types of windows to install will be contingent on the project’s budget. It is crucial to establish how much money the company can afford to spend on a renovation, and what the company is hoping to gain from a renovation before it begins.  

“Knowing what your company can afford to spend on a renovation will help you make decisions during the entire process. Just like when buying a car, there are multiple lines to choose from and multiple options within each line. You would not consider purchasing a Lamborghini if you are on a compact car budget.”
Katie Morris, RID, NCIDQ

Tips for a Budget-Friendly Renovation  

Know Your Goals  

Knowing the goals of your renovation, for example, to attract/retain employees, finish refresh, and expand your space or add private offices, will help determine where you should focus your efforts and budget.  

Consider The Costs, But Also the Return on Investment  

In some instances, a feature can be viewed worth the extra expense when it can yield a large return on investment overall. For example, if your office is an open concept, good acoustic design is important to ensure that employees are not distracted during the workday by the sounds emulating from meetings, phone calls, and other noise disturbances. If your goals in renovation are to increase employee comfort and productivity, good acoustic design can be a positive investment.  

Investing in employee comfort during a renovation such as air temperature, ergonomic furniture, and light levels can help strengthen the backbone of your business – your employees. If employees are comfortable at work, they are more likely to produce higher quality work, work efficiently, and are easier to retain.  

A Trusted Designer is Key  

Finding a trustworthy design team to help guide you through your project and make recommendations for materials and improvements that align with your budget will help your project run smoothly. Throughout the project, designers will work with the contractor to verify costs of selected materials and will recommend budget-friendly alternatives when needed.