OpenView’s Office Remodeling Lesson #1: Stay Organized
January 30, 2013
This is the first post in a three-part series about OpenView’s recent office remodel. This post explores Lesson #1: Stay Organized.
There are few things that appear as hectic as a complete office remodel.
For weeks or months, employees are working (or trying to work) in a construction zone. Multiple vendors are in and out of one space. Building codes need to be followed, budgets need to be adhered to, and design decisions need to be made. It can all seem very overwhelming, very quickly.
The person whose job it is to manage such a project needs to be the calm before (and during) the storm. This is not a project for the faint of heart … or the scatterbrained. The secret is staying organized to stay successful.
Always Have a Workplan
Erin McDonald kept OpenView’s storm to a light drizzle during 2012’s remodel by managing the moving parts involved with a comprehensive workplan. Of the workplan, Erin said don’t even consider a remodel project without one.
“A workplan came into play immediately. It’s the first thing you have to do, even if it’s jumbled and out of order and completely confusing. You need something.”
Not completely sure where to start with a remodel? Erin wasn’t either. After spending some time in Interior Design school, Erin had a foundation of design knowledge but quickly found that nothing could substitute real world experience. As it turns out, a remodel is best achieved by flexible planning and a lot of doing (isn’t that the case with most worthwhile things?). Erin stressed that your initial workplan can itself be a work in progress.
Developing Your Workplan
Start your workplan by tracking who you’re going to need to talk to, starting with the building owners. Property owners can give you information on any design limitations. For example, does the building require that you install special blinds or stay within a certain color palette? Get a thorough understanding of the confines you’ll be working with so you can plan accordingly.
Presumably you have a good idea of the scope and budget of the remodel before you start – the more extensive your remodel and stricter your budget, the more detail your workplan will require. With that in mind, start tracking everything in your workplan as it evolves. Note correspondences, dates, and outcomes. Keep copies of all paperwork.
Did the vendor send an invoice? Keep a copy. Did the lighting company give you the name of a good electrician? Record it. Did the furniture retailer give you a delivery date? Mark it down. This will come in handy as your contacts grow.
Some other organization details to keep in mind:
- If the remodel is taking place in a working space (as OpenView’s did), consider timing. Work with your building’s facilities manager to allow vendors access to complete work outside of business hours. Organize your vendors around you employee’s schedules and not the other way around. It will likely be a longer remodel process, but don’t sacrifice productivity if you can help it.
- Overcommunication is key when it comes to vendors. Ask for specifics, push for dates, and record everything. Generate and track weekly update emails to vendors so you know you are all on the same page.
- Consider ongoing maintenance while developing your workplan. Are the vendors doing the work the same vendors fixing things if they go wrong?
- If something goes wrong, record exactly how it was resolved. This will be useful in future vendor dealings and when conveying your progress to your managers.
Stay tuned for Lesson #2: Leverage the Resources You Already Have.