June 22, 2012: Building out office space
1. Don't just think about how you'll arrange desks, tables, etc. now. Also think of how the space may be reconfigured in the future for other people and/or other uses.
2. Install lots of wall and floor sockets. It's so frustrating, for example, to set up a computer station where you'd like it to be only to find there is no place to plug in all the equipment.
3. If you use wi-fi, make sure the signal reaches every part of the office.
4. Same goes for cell phones.
5. Install wiring for as many light fixtures as you think you may need, not for as few as you think you can survive with today.
6. Paint the walls and ceilings, and carpet or tile the floors BEFORE anybody has to use the office.
7. Decide NOW whether to install permanent cabinets. Adding them later will be more costly, may require major reorganization of the space, and will make it more difficult to work in the office during construction.
8. Make sure there is enough space to comfortably accommodate all the furniture. Can you walk around a desk without having to shuffle sideways through the space? Can you open a cabinet without blocking desk drawers? Can you reach the postage meter without first having to move boxes out of the way? Will office doors open completely?
9. If you include a reception area, provide a place for people to sit. Make sure they won't have to stand up or turn their legs sideways to let somebody pass.
10. Don't block heating or air conditioning ducts with furniture.
These things may sound pretty basic, but it's amazing how many organizations struggle to adapt to offices that were designed for their predecessors. And many stuff small offices with too much furniture and equipment because they say they need it all and they can't afford more space.
Plan and budget a build-out appropriately and don't make sacrifices that will impede your ability to perform effectively.