Moving your business and its employees into an old building can initially excite. After all, such buildings are resplendent in charming period features, such as disused fireplaces and timber windows, providing a lot of character. However, over time, more and more issues could stack up…
Perhaps the build guzzles expensive electricity, echoes everywhere or simply doesn’t accommodate the very twenty-first-century working practices of your staff. Fortunately, though, you can suitably update and modernise that building through the following means.
Upgrade to LED lighting
Over the years, new technologies have emerged, along the way unlocking new ways to optimise energy use for improved efficiency. Capitalising on this trend doesn’t necessarily mean a heavily expensive overhaul of your building, either – it could just require getting LED lighting fitted.
Doing so incurs little upfront cost but brings near-instant returns. One study cited by The Guardian reveals that LED upgrades can reduce lighting’s energy use by 50% without compromising either light levels or the building occupants’ satisfaction.
Go open-plan – if you practically can
If you would like to foster the collaborative benefits often claimed to come with an open-plan office design, keep in mind that switching to such a layout in an ageing property can prove difficult.
While barn or industrial conversions are well-suited to the approach, you might struggle with a Victorian semi or terrace unless its interior design is simple. Besides, in a listed property, any changes – even internal ones – can’t go ahead without listed building consent, warns Real Homes.
Keep acoustics in mind with the design
If you can overcome the technical hurdles of implementing an open-plan design, another hurdle could be thrown in front of you: inconvenient noise. Materials like wood, brick and glass could be culprits if the building didn’t originally serve as a workplace.
However, there are clever ways of absorbing sound – such as stacking felt, as Signal v. Noise illustrates, and installing carpet tiles on floors where people often speak openly.
Be careful with original features
If you inherited original features with your property, those endearing little flourishes should be preserved at practically all costs. Otherwise, you could too easily curb that property’s character – and, with it, its value. Therefore, work around those features, don’t discard them.
The most crucial original features to preserve are fireplaces, windows, plaster mouldings and internal joinery. Still, if you can easily detach and reattach features without damaging them, there’s the option of using them elsewhere in your space while still being able to reverse those changes.
Consider opting for a single-storey extension
When your business has needs that this old building just can’t accommodate no matter how much you try to tinker with it, one viable option is adding a single-storey extension – which, right from the start, could be designed to suit your workforce’s corporate habits.
However, whether you want to overhaul an existing space or build a whole new one, exciting possibilities abound; you can find out more at Maris, one of the UK’s leading office design firms.