Having anyone make changes to your business can be a tall order, but if you want the fit-out to take as little time as possible yet still achieve the best outcome, there are a few things you can do to facilitate a smooth process.
Speaking on the My Business podcast, Eric Brown, managing director of QVS Commercial Interiors, and Richard deVries, director of DCI Partnership, recommend business owners do the following to ensure a good working relationship with contractors:
1. Establish an executive committee
As the adage goes, too many cooks spoil the broth; having many different inputs can create a monster of a design.
“Very often we have so many opinions ... coming through that it becomes unworkable,” explains Richard.
“Typically, we like to work with what we would call an executive committee. It's usually senior management, with representatives of the key departments, and we listen and take down their prime concerns.
“It's not so much about what people want, it's about what they need and what's going to support their ability to function well as a business.”
2. Natural light is a necessity
If your employees are going to work efficiently, you need to make sure that their senses are not being deprived, especially sight. Trying to substitute natural light for other sources, according to Eric, is a disaster.
“The biggest mistake, hands-down, is when people shut that light off and don't let the light through ... Without the natural light coming through, it's horrible,” he says.
“Plastic wood is a lot cheaper than glass, right? So, a lot of people think they can save costs by replacing their glass walls with plastic wood walls, which does save a third of the cost, roughly. But by cutting down the natural light, it's actually an awful place to work.
“It affects our morale, it affects how we feel.”
3. Trust your commercial fit-out team
If someone came in and criticised something you had poured your heart and soul into, naturally you would be defensive. While designers and builders may not know your business as personally as you do, they know what they are doing.
“Any time you make changes to a conceptual plan, it adds costs, it adds time and it makes it a lot more difficult,” Eric says.
“We've had some clients feel that … we put walls up, and two days later the client will come in and say she doesn't like where that wall's going. Pull it down, put it up again … to the left of that.”