Fitted out space is often offered as a cost-saving feature on the lease, but before you sign on the dotted line for an office with an existing fit out there’s a few things you should consider. Taking on an existing office fit out can be quick and easy, but it is recommended to have a professional look at the fit out as it maybe several tenants old and heading towards retirement. Choosing a new fit-out, though an up-front capital expense, means you’re getting a new office fit out to meet the ideal needs of your workforce. In this article, we explore the pros and pitfalls of an existing office fit out and what to consider when taking on a fitted out space.

Not fit for your purpose

Strictly speaking, an existing office fit out may be functional, but it may not be quite right for your business needs. With flexible work environments, break out spaces and collaboration the top trends for 2020, a dated and tired fit-out may lack the inclusive and flexible workspaces crucial to employee morale and development.

Of particualar note, even making small changes to an existing fit out can be costly when you take into consideration the need for Complying Development Certificates (CDC) for changes like additional air conditioning units or services modifications.

Consider your workforce

The traditional office as we know it is gone, and in the post-Covid workplace, the focus is on getting our people back to the bricks and mortar building. With morale a little shaky, a tired and uninspiring space could be sending the wrong message to your people. If they have to trade in the comfort and flexibility of their home environment for the ill-adapted, gloomy office, you can’t expect them to be over the moon about it. 

An existing fit out should be able to account for the needs of your flexible workforce like bump spaces and updated technology for remote working, as well as any Covid-safe precautions that are mandated to make you people feel safe.

Design reflects culture

Ask any recruiter and they’ll tell you that a collaborative and inclusive workspace is one of the key things candidates look for in a workplace.  When your people are spending most of their waking hours at work, they are going to want a space that makes them feel good. Key comforts which may seem like a ‘nice to have’ can actually form an essential part of your recruitment and retention strategy. Does an existing office fit out have what you need to keep and attract top talent?  Does it accurately reflect your brand and workplace culture?

A global study by CBRE found that 69% of millennials would trade other work benefits for a better workspace. The study also shows a correlation between the physical workspace and employee satisfaction and engagement with the business. With millennials now accounting for 50% of the global workforce, that’s a compelling reason to make sure your work environment measures up.

Don’t forget about the ‘Make good’ clause

Almost all commercial lease contracts come with a ‘Make Good’ clause; that is, when you quit the tenancy you mayhave to leave it as you found it. When it comes to taking on an existing fit out, that means stripping back all the improvements you've actioned to make your office fit for purpose. By the time these changes have been done (and then undone), depending on the agreement you have with your landlord, you could’ve spent the equivalent of a fresh, custom fit out.

Make sure you negotiate a manageable make good clause and understand what is required of you before you sign a lease on an existing fit out - or a new one for that matter.

Weigh up your options

Before you take the plunge, it’s worth engaging professionals, like the Vestra office design and fit out team, to help you understand the best way to move forward with your workspace. We’re a full-service office fit out company with expert planners, designers, project managers and builders with years of expertise designing high-end creative workspaces

We take the time to get to know you and go on walkthroughs of your site and plan the right workspace for your team, which includes:

  • Bespoke joinery options
  • Audio-visual and technology solutions
  • Electrical, data and lighting needs
  • Office furniture selection

We also offer you a smooth process, and a solid portfolio.