Tenant improvements, or TI, are a popular topic of conversation among architects right now. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and even now that we’re seemingly past the worst of it, business owners have been re-evaluating their commercial spaces. Those who have continued to let employees work from home are finding that they need much less workspace. Those who are now allowing hybrid schedules are considering how to best have employees share spaces. All of this means that some employers are downsizing, while others are consolidating multiple office spaces into one. At the very least, they are re-thinking how to make their employees as productive as possible in new working conditions.
Just like every business is different, every business space should be different. While one type of business would be most productive with an open-concept workspace, another type would work better with individual cubicles or enclosed offices.
Before approaching an architect for a tenant improvement project, employers should take a hard look at how their type of work is most effectively completed. Do people in your office need space to work independently, or is there a lot of collaboration involved in the type of work they do? If it’s the former, you will want to consider giving every employee his or her own space to work in solitude, but if it’s the latter, you’ll want a more open floorplan—or at least one that includes shared spaces that can be used to bring people together when needed, such as conference rooms or more casual “huddle rooms.”
Also look at workflow. What people or departments should be near each other, and what type of setup and equipment do they need to complete their jobs effectively? And does that equipment need to be in any type of special environment?
Proper storage should also be a consideration in all tenant improvement projects. An office that’s cluttered or unorganized can negatively impact productivity, since it can be hard for employees to find the supplies or paperwork they need to do their jobs. A cluttered environment can also lower morale. In addition, if clients visit your office, you’ll want to make sure your space appears neat and professional—without paperwork, boxes, or other items strewn about.
If you anticipate significant company growth in the near future, let your architect know so he or she takes that into consideration as well. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself going through the tenant improvement process again to accommodate more employees when they are hired.
The aesthetics of your workspace should not be an afterthought in the tenant improvement design. Yes, you need a space that’s highly functional, but you also want your employees to feel comfortable, and even be inspired, by the space in which they are working. A good architect will likely ask you what type of environment you wish to create, and your answer will impact their design.
Consulting with key employees prior to meeting with an architect would be wise, but be sure your employees understand that not every item on their wish list will be accommodated.
Finally, every tenant improvement project needs to be ADA and code compliant. You can’t get around these requirements, nor should you try to. You want to make your office accessible and safe for employees and clients with all types of abilities. There may also be energy efficiency requirements in certain areas that need to be accounted for. These requirements affect the design, the overall cost of your project, as well as the timeline, but a good tenant improvement architect will know how to expertly navigate them so you still get the end result you were hoping for.short url: