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How To Speed Up Your Office Budget Planning In 2017

If you're planning on relocating or refurbishing your workspace anytime in the next couple of years, you'll understand the need to have a full and proper budget in place from the outset. This will help to organise the project as much as possible, whilst also helping to keep costs as low as they can be.

You can speed up your office budget planning in order to make sure you don't spend a penny more than you have to when improving your office by answering these quick and easy questions and following these simple tips.

1. Assign A Team Of Two To Be Solely Responsible

Pick two reasonably senior employees to be responsible for this exercise and set a tight deadline to have the whole thing completed. Four weeks from today is reasonable. Set a rule that they are the only two employees who can work on this task.

Having two of your team being jointly and wholly responsible will speed up the process as it cannot be diluted through too many contact points causing delays. The fact that two respected employees are working together means they can still delegate between each other, to avoid impacting their regular responsibilities, but the project is still contained to your trusted team of two.

Choosing the right two people is important for this to work - you should be able to trust them to stick to the deadline and work with pride in something that has their name on it.

2. Answer; What Level Of Improvement Do You Need?

Your first goal should be to assess what level of improvement your office needs. A starting point is to isolate what it is about your current office which has signalled that it's time to improve.

Is it a case that you have outgrown your current location in terms of not having enough seats for your full workforce of employees? Or are you increasingly hampered by the facilities and layout of your current workspace and just sense that you need a change? Maybe your brand is falling behind the competition due to an out-of-date and unattractive head office.

The tasks that can be undertaken to  improve your office can have massively different scope and scale. This, of course, affects the size of budget you require. You could just need a simple space planning exercise with a layout re-work. This needs only a few additional pieces of storage or furniture.

On the other hand, you might need a full layout change (including service points, access routes, new internal walls, and so on) and new furniture which facilitates a completely new way of working.

We have written extensively, throughout 2016, about what workers in a modern office expect from their workspace, what it needs to offer to staff and how managing morale through office design is important for creating a productive and successful office.

How your team goes about working this out is up to you; they could canvas staff, conduct their own assessments or hire a consultant. Whichever method they choose, just be sure to complete this stage before going any further and be aware that there is no definite answer at this stage.

For the moment, you are simply getting a rough idea of what your office needs in order to become a better place to work. You should only be ruling out the extreme ends of the scale. That is knowing for definite whether you do/don't need a full relocation and fit-out or do/don't need a couple of new furniture items.

This will allow you to  conduct a proper cost planning exercise.

3. Conduct A Cost Planning Exercise

Once you know what you definitely don't need ("We know we can't stay here any longer. We need an office of X sq ft." would mean you need some tentative prices for a new office fit out), you can engage with a couple of companies to provide cost planning level of depth tenders. You should ask for 2-3 different levels of prices and state that this is purely a cost planning exercise. Be clear on this in order to ensure a quick turnaround.

"Cost planning" is a term for rough pricing to enable customers to get a rough idea of what different types of projects might cost. They don't need extensive amounts of work from the individuals involved in doing the pricing. The price is based on industry knowledge, standard price book rates, geographical location of the project, duration of the project and accessibility to your office (an office refurb completed in a month with full site access would have a wildly different price point than a two week project only accessed outside of office hours).

But, be aware, these are not quotations and cannot be precisely relied upon when it comes to the full tender process - you will need to ask for full quotes. Also, it's best practice to let those who take part in the cost planning process to have first chance at the proper tender stage, but don't expect them to just submit the lowest figures on their cost plan price. Labour rates and wholesale supplier charges both change over time. Products become scarce and cheaper alternatives might not be able to be sourced.

However, cost planning stage prices are vital at this early stage of renovating your office space because they let you finalise your budget.

4. Use This Information To Finalise Your Budget

Once you have 2-3 different levels of prices submitted by 2-3 different companies, you can settle on a quick budget figure. The final step to finalising this is to find the cost plan price which fits within your internal forecasts and available spend for this office improvement.

Whichever price fits your desired spend level and fixes whatever problem your current office is facing can then be used for your budget.

Want To Know More About What Your Office Needs In 2017?

If you are unsure what you could do to your office in order to make sure it offers staff the ultimate place to work productively and to their full potential, check out this guide. It's full of inspiring products, theory and ideas to get your office improvement up and running.

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