Tenant improvements can mean different things to different companies. For some companies, when it comes to tenant improvements, they’re just looking for a fresh coat of paint and new carpet in their leased space. Others are looking for a full makeover. The size of the budget a tenant is able to negotiate with their commercial landlord will usually determine how large of a renovation they will get to take on, but no matter how big your tenant improvement budget is, it’s important to insert your company’s “personality” into the space.
When my Long Beach architecture firm is hired for tenant improvement projects, we spend a good deal of time getting to know the company and what makes them unique. We take the time to understand their specific needs and how they want to portray themselves to the public, as well as to their employees. Here are some other things to consider when designing your commercial space:
Creating an Environment That Inspires
No matter what type of work your company does, you want to do your best to create a space where your employees are inspired to do their best work. No one wants to work in a poorly designed, bland office space. Look for ways to make your space interesting and innovative, in addition to promoting efficiency.
As you work with your architect on your Long Beach tenant improvement design, you want to think about how your employees will be most productive. If they largely work in teams, provide them adequate space and tools to do so. If each employee has their own projects, give them the dedicated space they need to focus and work efficiently. Don’t forget to include areas in which employees can spend their break times, and also be sure to include adequate storage so areas don’t get cluttered.
If customers or clients come to your place of work, you will want to consider what your space says to them as well. Say you run a medical practice. You want your space to feel clean, but not necessarily look stark. The space should inspire confidence in your patients, and also make them feel comfortable. Architects and interior designers have special training in the use of space, materials, and colors that can help you create an environment that evokes the types of emotions you want your clients to feel when they enter your place of business.
Including Employee Amenities to Help with Retention and Recruiting
As you work with your architect on your tenant improvement project, think about what you want to tell your employees about how you value them through the amenities you provide in their working space. I recently worked with a company to completely remodel their commercial building. One of their priorities was to provide their employees with amenities that would help make their workdays a little easier. The design we came up with included both cubicle and office spaces, as well as several spaces where employees could work collaboratively. The collaborative spaces had things like kitchenettes with refrigerators, which the company planned to keep stocked with drinks and snacks for their employees to enjoy. The company also had me include a private room for nursing mothers. We designed a shaded outdoor area, as well as a comfortable indoor area, for employees to enjoy on their breaks. It’s considerations like these that tell employees that they are valued and that the company sees them as people and not just numbers.
In addition, think about the “pain points” in your current office space. If you’re not sure what those pain points are, ask your employees, and I’m sure they would be happy to tell you what could be improved upon. Maybe they wish the common areas were larger or better equipped. Or perhaps several of your employees ride their bikes to work and they wish there was a safe and convenient place to park their rides during the work day. You may never know what types of things your employees would appreciate unless you ask, and some of their suggestions could be fairly easy and cost effective to include in the tenant improvement plan.
You can also choose to include amenities that will help attract the types of employees you want. Think about who your ideal employee is, and then try to imagine what type of space they would want to work in.
Final Thoughts on Tenant Improvements
Commercial landlords tend to be more amenable to a larger tenant improvement budget if the improvements you plan to make would also benefit future tenants. In other words, it might be difficult to secure a budget for improvements that are very specific to your type of work (although not impossible), but you could likely get the funding for upgrades that would add value to the property. If you have grand plans for your tenant improvement project, you may need to make some concessions in the lease agreement. For example, you could agree to a longer lease term or up your monthly budget to help offset the initial outlay cost.