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This is not our traditional look inside a unique design studio. It is, however, the story of how the individuals at design industry tech firm FunctionFox worked with local commercial and residential designer Michelle Matte to redefine its office—transforming it into the creative workspace of their dreams.
What did the process look like? How does their workspace look now? And what did FunctionFox learn that might help those of you who own your own businesses? Read on to find out.
To Move or To Reimagine?
You may have heard of FunctionFox—the company is an industry leader in the field of online timesheets and project management for small creative firms. Prior to the space renovation, president Corina Ludwig knew that a change needed to be made. The company had outgrown its Victoria, BC–based office, and the team would have to relocate—or so they thought.
Instead of moving, they decided to work with Matte to reimagine the space. The challenge was big, as their goals were many. They needed a space that would reflect FunctionFox’s energy, inspire innovation, help energize employees and keep them happy, save costs where possible and allow for company growth.
Matte and Ludwig first made sure they were on the same page so far as the brand was concerned, and then they asked FunctionFox employees what they wanted and needed in their new workspace. The result? A “totally redefined space,” as Ludwig puts it.
The new space is functional and fits more staff—just what the company needs seeing as they plan to grow to 40 employees by April 2020. There’s fresh energy in the space now, with plants and a green wall, vibrant colors, more natural light and eco-friendly elements. Plus, more comfortable workspaces, areas for lounging and a new shower, which is encouraging employees to exercise more. And Ludwig says they’re seeing numerous benefits already, including greater team morale, increased collaboration and higher sales.
6 Tips for Business Renovations
Ludwig and the team at FunctionFox learned so much through this process that they’re excited to share some insights with the hope that it may help those of you who own your own business:
1. Confirm the budget BEFORE you share first concepts with staff.
The first design concepts were so fabulous that staff were given a sneak preview. However, since so much can change (and first elements such as lighting weren’t always selected as the best budget choices in this case), be sure you’re showing staff ideas that are firm and in the budget. Otherwise you risk their disappointment if the end result doesn’t match early drawings or images they’ve seen.
FunctionFox chose to move the whole team out of the office for two months to avoid interruption in work. Move on weekends so that you won’t have “down time” for service delivery at all or customers. Choose a handy nearby space (FunctionFox’s realtor helped them find one) so that employee travel routines aren’t totally turned upside down.
3. Be sure your designer understands the tech community culture (or the area you’re in).
Having a designer know that people need laptop chill areas, plug-ins and areas for standing desks (popular in the tech world) means they will understand your needs quickly from the start. For example, Michelle knew about the specific high-volume electrical needs at tech firms, and this helped things move quicker during execution in the design phase.
4. Understand that the job isn’t over until the Bylaw or building Inspector says it is!
A few areas involving door setback spacing weren’t okay by City standards. FunctionFox and the designer were able to solve some bylaw setback issues with creative solutions (which ended up being excellent design features in the end). Be willing to go with the flow and change the design as needed to work with bylaws, functionality and budgets.
5. Working with a design professional can save you time.
Working with a design professional who was also the project manager meant that we could still focus on running the business. For example, Michelle was able to take what FunctionFox wanted/needed and translate it into an amazing design then work with all the contractors and the City! For us, this was the most beneficial. Michelle was the key contact for everything and managed everything. “One stop shopping” for design and project management is HIGHLY recommended.
6. Have a staff “grand opening”—it was like unwrapping a present.
Renovations are a lot of work, and people’s workspaces and lives are impacted. Once it’s over, share the glory and mark the occasion with staff, as well as with valued investors, friends and clients.
You’ll Love This Download If:
-You love getting an inside peek at other designer’s spaces
-You want inspiration to revitalize your space
-You enjoy innovative interior design
In this download, you’ll look inside seven design firms’ workspaces. Check out the offices of Design Army. Discover how one firm tests potential employees with a secret entrance to their office. Find ideas to renovate your office with Trapped in Suburbia’s unique gallery, and get motivated to organize with a New-York based office’s use of space. You’ll be inspired to update your space with this download.