You may not think that the appearance of your office building affects day-to-day operations, but you would be wrong. How exactly do the aesthetics of the office bleed into other aspects of your business? The Guardian writes that “office buildings are key to workers’ health, well-being, and productivity.” Further, the “poor air quality and lighting [inside most commercial buidlings] increase sick days and can affect sleep.”

Scientific studies and case studies highlight the importance of doing whatever you can to ensure your employees do not feel like “animals in a zoo,” according to Clutch. A related study reveals that office workers — young and old — prefer to work in comfortable, aesthetically pleasing spaces. Specifically, 59% of baby boomers, 64% of Gen Xers, and 58% of millennials describe a pleasant workspace as important.

Meeting these needs boosts productivity and improves employee sleep, ultimately leading to better collaboration and increased creativity.

Get started with these commercial office renovation ideas.

Start With A General Contractor

Implementing commercial office renovation ideas, particularly ones to liven up the office and lift employees’ spirits, can make all the difference to your company. Knowing where to begin is another matter altogether, but a good place to start is with the basics. Start by enlisting the help of a general contractor.

Commercial remodeling is a multi-faceted project. A general contractor can help you tackle it systematically while checking off all the necessary items. A general contractor oversees all parts of the commercial renovation process. The contractor takes a set of blueprints or design plans and turns them into a reality. That includes ordering materials, coordinating workers’ schedules, and performing inspections as they go to ensure quality.

Another important role of a general contractor is to know building codes and permits inside and out, and relay any restrictions to you as necessary. General contractors ensure buildings and renovations are up to code, and they give you the credibility you need with city officials. In order to become a general contractor, these workers must get a license. Maintaining that license requires contractors to obtain the appropriate insurance. The specific amount varies by state.

Finally, they will do the dirty work for you — literally. General contractors will take care of commercial dumpster rentals as well as the disposal of any waste, used materials, and debris resulting from your renovations.

Hire the highest quality general contractor by doing your homework. Many contractors offer free estimates over-the-phone or via the web. Take advantage of them. When possible, ask for an itemized breakdown of charges and fees in order to more accurately compare prices. Read their reviews, look at their portfolio, and confirm that they have the proper credentials to practice as a general contractor in your state.

Hire Specialty Contractors

The next step to putting commercial office renovation ideas into place is to hire specialty contractors or subcontractors. Depending on the general contractor you hire, he or she may offer to do this for you. Decide whether you want to take them up on this particular service or hire specialty contractors, like commercial roofing contractors, on your own.

General contractors coordinate and run the show. They do not specialize in particular areas. For many of the commercial office renovation ideas that may improve employee well-being and productivity, you are going to need a specialized contractor.

For example, to buoy employee happiness and engagement, NPR recommends incorporating more natural spaces and increasing the volume of outdoor airflow. That will require working with commercial glass services. To incorporate more natural spaces, experts are promoting nature-centered or biophilic design concepts. “Our panel cited strategies such as installing ‘living walls’ instead of bland partitions and incorporating circadian-friendly lighting that brightens and dims across the workday,” NPR writes. Circadian-friendly lighting typically entails natural lighting. Work with commercial glass contractors to install more windows or larger windows.

While working with them, it is worth your while to ask them about new, energy-efficient windows. New designs not only manipulate glass panes for greater energy conservation but also include special windowsills that help warm or cool air even when windows are open. These new windows have a lot of potential as they would allow employers and employees to open windows and keep them open — allowing more outdoor air in. This ultimately improves air quality, reduces the number of allergens and irritants in the air, and slows the spread of infectious diseases, like colds and the flu.

When it comes to making critical changes that will improve the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of your workers, it is time to call in specialized contractors or subcontractors. Team up with subcontractors to bring the outdoors in, leading to happier and more productive employees.

When Designing New Spaces, Think About Workplace Culture

Increasing indoor-outdoor airflow will likely involve working with a commercial HVAC contractor. Your contractor will work with you to inspect and maintain your system for proper airflow. This goes a long way to increase fresh air in the office and make it feel more natural. However, commercial office renovation ideas should not stop there. Making the office feel more welcoming and green is a good start. Make other changes that will increase employees’ well-being by carefully considering office culture.

Architectural Digest (AD) magazine suggests that common areas in workplaces serve an important role — a role far more important than you might think. AD theorizes that socializing with other employees allows them to bounce ideas off one another and ultimately leads to greater problem-solving and innovation. Plus, talking to other employees gives workers a space to talk about all their feelings, including their frustrations. Airing feelings and frustrations about work helps workers decompress and move on from that particular stressor.

Work with contractors to design ideal spaces for socializing and collaboration. Keep these areas large, open, and, whenever possible, use new technologies, like touchless coffee machines, to reduce sick days and the transmission of the flu and other diseases.

Take A Look Behind The Scenes

While improving the aesthetics of your office building is important — and definitely something you should work into commercial office renovation ideas — it is equally important to address some of the “unseen” things that may affect employees’ well-being and comfort.

A well-maintained office building keeps employees happy. Failing plumbing, electrical problems, and dirty offices have the opposite effect. Address these common issues as part of your commercial office renovation ideas:

  • A clogged or running toilet. Taking a quick bathroom break only to find the toilet clogged or “out of order” is a frustrating event and an all-too-common one in most office buildings. Contact commercial plumbers to take a look at old toilets that frequently clog or replace old toilets altogether during renovations.
  • Weird smells coming from the refrigerator. The origin of this problem is understandable. No one wants to throw away someone else’s food. For the best possible results, trash the communal refrigerator. Increase individual employee spaces to make room for mini-fridges if employees wish to bring their own sack lunch. Save money by purchasing one mini-fridge per team. That avoids the huge, catch-all refrigerator with its weird smells and the prohibitive costs of individual mini-fridges.
  • Lights going in and out. Lights — and halogen lightbulbs in particular — are notorious for fading in and out. Halogen lights may appear almost unbearably bright one moment and too dim the next. When remodeling, consider installing new lights and light fixtures. New bulbs mimic natural light or change color to reduce headaches, stress, and eye strain.
  • Exposed extension cords. “Many electrical hazards spotted are related to inappropriate use of extension cords,” Safety and Health Magazine writes. Contact commercial electrical services if you find that you or your employees are continually using extension cords. In that case, it may be an electrical problem. Talking to contractors about adding more outlets and electrical connections throughout the office is a worthwhile and prudent alternative.

Remember commercial office renovation ideas aren’t just about looks. Take another look at your plumbing, electricity, and other behind-the-scenes features to ensure that your employees are safe and comfortable.

Pay Attention To The Little Things

Once the big renovations and invisible fixes are comfortably underway, you can devote some time to fine-tuning the details. When it comes to commercial office renovation ideas, remember that little things make a big difference.

Some of the details to take a closer look at are the office’s colors. “Blue lighting accelerates the relaxation process after stress in comparison with conventional white lighting,” according to Inc. That benefit is not exclusive to blue light. Other studies show that spaces that incorporate the color blue, whether it is blue lighting, blue walls, or blue furnishing, have the same effect. Paint at least some of the walls blue to ensure that workers are stress-free. This will free up mental energy for employees to solve problems and think more creatively.

Are there any other soothing paint colors? Elle recommends very pale green or a blue-gray to calm workers’ nerves while encouraging focus and productivity. Talk to commercial painters for more ideas to use color and color schemes to boost employee engagement.

Consider other finishing touches that promote employee health. For example, favor open layouts and large, open spaces whenever possible. That will encourage employees to move around when they need to collaborate. Further, consider fitting office spaces with standing desks or treadmill desks to avoid one of the most dangerous hazards in the workplace: sitting for eight (or more) hours per day.

“Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns. They include obesity and a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels– that make up metabolic syndrome,” according to The Mayo Clinic. As if that is not enough, prolonged sitting may increase the likelihood of cancer and heart disease as well.

In addition to installing standing desks, employers can redesign the layout of workspaces and the office. If possible, put the bathrooms, kitchen, and/or breakroom away from employees’ desks. That way, employees will have to get up and move during the day. Do the same with conference rooms. All rooms should be spaced apart significantly to encourage movement.

Maintain Your New Space

Do not complete your commercial office renovation ideas only to render them moot in a few months, or perhaps even weeks. After completing renovations, be proactive about maintenance and upkeep. Use the following checklist to keep your renovated office looking like new:

  • Hire a professional commercial cleaning company. When it comes to maintenance, one of the best strategies at your disposal is prevention. Instead of continually repairing broken items, take great strides to properly care for them. One such effort would be professional cleaning. Cleaning keeps offices comfortable and keeps toilets and faucets free of debris that may ultimately cause them to break or fail.
  • Bring in professionals for regular, routine inspections. HVAC systems and electrical systems need regular inspecting. Bring in a professional a minimum of twice per year to make sure everything is in working order. Inspectors will be able to catch small problems and recommend small fixes that will ultimately reduce the need for larger, more expensive repairs.
  • Shred outdated documents. Excessive papers can take up a surprising amount of space. Shred any documents that you no longer need to decrease clutter in the office. Clutter distracts employees and makes them less productive.
  • Deep clean fabrics and carpets. Fabrics and carpets trap allergies, potentially making your employees sick. Reduce sick days by hiring a cleaning service to regularly vacuum carpets and deep clean them from time to time.

Follow through with commercial office renovation ideas until the very end — that means completing necessary maintenance for months and years to come to keep offices looking pleasantly fresh.

Make those commercial office renovation ideas a reality. Team up with contractors and make it happen. Use written contracts for all major renovations, and, if applicable, pay installments to contractors on-time. Just like your employees want better-looking offices to boost morale, on-time payments keep contractors motivated and dedicated to the projects at hand.

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