Remodeling Your Office? Don’t Make These Mistakes

Don’t make these costly beginner’s mistakes during your next office redesign.

If you’re a startup founder or a small business owner, you’re used to doing everything yourself. That’s a great philosophy, but there’s a downside: sometimes, you stumble into common beginner’s mistakes.

Office design comes with plenty of common pitfalls. The task seems simple at first glance—a bit of operations, a bit of manual labor. However, there’s a big difference between designing an office and designing a good office.

The job isn’t taken care of for you just because you hired a design firm, either. It’s still your responsibility to explain what you want out of the end product, and that means you have to know what you want. Here are a few common mistakes that entrepreneurs make, whether they’re working by themselves or with a professional.

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1) Biting off more than you can chew
There’s a reason that big tech companies and well-funded startups have cooler offices than the rest of us. Those workspaces are expensive.

It’s great to have lofty ambitions, but if you expect your designer to produce something from nothing, you’ll end up with the worst of both worlds. Skimping on furniture means low durability, uncomfortable textures, and less variety in shape and color. Installing a huge art sculpture or ceiling decoration might be cool, but if you blow your budget early on, you’ll end up sitting in the cheapest office chair on Amazon.

In other words, you’ve gotta have realistic expectations. Plan a project within the scope of your budget and execute it properly. Even if it’s not as lavish as you’d like, it beats a half-complete Google clone any day.

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2) Treating the office like an office
Your office is more than an office. Yes, really.

If the line between home and work is blurring, it’s all the more important that we see the office as more than just a place to get work done. Isn’t that half the reason you want a fancy office in the first place?

Even if you’re proud of your company, the fact is that no one gets excited at the thought of going in to “the office.” In that case, why not stop thinking of it as “the office” altogether? It’s a workspace, or your company’s name, or even just “the company.” Either way, if you go into the remodeling process thinking of the space as just “the office,” you’re not going to be as picky as you would be for your apartment. Low effort affects the final product.

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3) Staying hands-off and working remotely
Even if you hire a professional, office design is not a hands-off experience. It’s your office at the end of the day, and you have to keep the project on the right track.

The most original offices don’t just come from designers on a creative spree. If you want a designer to do more with the space than slap the logo and brand colors onto every surface, you have to get involved. After all, no one knows the brand as well as the founders. The more material you give designers to work with, the more they’ll be able to give back. Yet it’s a common problem for companies to assume the job is done once they hire a talented designer.

Office remodels are an exciting time for the company. It’s like moving into a bigger, better apartment.

It’s also hard work. If you want the process to go smoothly, do what you can to stay focused and take the job seriously. This isn’t something you can delegate to the new hire, or even COO. Take charge of the project, and you’ll be rewarded with an inspiring workspace.