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Tips to Renovate Your Physical Office Space with Sue Daley

Today’s guest on Small Busienss Talk Podcst is Sue Daley.

Sue is the part owner and manager of Maiolo Constructions Pty Ltd and Managing Director of Hi Performance Electrical (WA) Pty Ltd.
She lives and works in the Peel Region of Western Australia. Maiolo Constructions specialising in residential and commercial renovations and extensions.
They have a flair for design and colour that translates into creating the right space for their clients. Let’s find out more on Small Business Talk Podcast Episode 31.

Click here if you prefer to listen at iTunes or Stitcher (for Android)

Show Notes

Tips to Renovate Your Physical Office Space

A lot of people forget about their physical space and they end up with junk everywhere, caught up on the dining room table or slammed in some corner. So let’s start with thinking about home offices, can you give some sort of tips about if we’re looking at dedicating a home office, what we should be doing?

Think About The Requirements Of Your Space

With the home office, you’ve got to realise that if you’re renting, there’s different requirements, I guess, when it comes to that compared to owning. You’re more restricted with the renting side of it, so always keep that in mind. With a home office, when we look at the renovations there, you look at:

  • what you’re doing in your home office,
  • the type of work you will conduct,
  • whether or not background noise will be an impact.

Do you want to just have a little office set up into an alcove area? Or do you need a separate room, like a dedicated room with a door, so you can actually shut the door and encase yourself in your office? So that would be the first thing you need to look at.

What To Consider When Renting

You can’t actually do anything in regard to adding anything. You can’t add extra GPOs, power points or lighting without the written approval from the owner and the agent. You are restricted there, remember to ask permission first.

It’s very rare for an owner to basically say no to someone adding a power point or a light because it enhances the home, but you do have to get that permission and it does depend on the relationship you have with the agent and the owners.

If you’re in a room and you were having your desk in a certain position, but the light’s in the middle of the room, but you’re going to get a shadow over your desk or over your computer. You can either add a lamp, which is obviously the easiest way when you’re renting, or you can actually ask to get some down lights in, because down lights obviously add to a room and they can definitely give a lot more light.

Think About Positioning

Wherever you place your desk, you’re going to be thinking about your power supply. You do not want cables running across the room. You don’t want multitude of power boards. Often as we see it, it’s not a safe thing to have done. Most homes when they are built, you will find that there’s one power point in each room. I recommend that you add a couple to most rooms as it is, whether it’s a home office or not, I don’t think we can ever have too many power points. You need to have a power supply or a power point close to where your desk is.

Be Smart With Your Power Points

Surge protectors are a good idea even if you’ve got multiple power points all the way through our office and space. Specifically, because with your computers, and the actual devices coming off your computers, they’re not a high load, so you can use one of those, but make sure it’s a quality one. By high quality, one that’s got a very good warranty on it. Don’t go cheap on power boards and surge protectors because that’s where you will have problems. As an example, a Belkin one is a very good one. They’ve got that protection and that warranty. When it comes to in your office, make sure you get one that actually has the space between the outlets, because most of your devices in your office will have the transformer plug, which are quite big.

Modifying Your Space As A Homeowner

If it’s your own home-office, putting some LED down lights in, because they give better coverage of light and an even light without creating shadows, rather than that central light and rather than lamps. Having a good quality LED down light, even if you space it out. The other thing, and this is going into a little bit of a Feng Shui side, so a little bit of a layout design. We always recommend Feng Shui principles, to not have your back to the door. When you are laying your office out, always lay it out in what they call it the power position.

When you’re sitting down, you’re facing the door, or you’re at least got your side to the door. That way you never want to actually have your back to the door especially if it’s your home-office, because it’s all about money and energy as well.

Desk Positioning

Position of your desk, your storage and your internet connection that when you’re in a dedicated room, they’re the three things that you will find you require the most out of a home office. The appropriate storage, whether it’s open bookshelves that you have along the wall, so you can have all your filing in it. Just make sure that they are level and they are secure, and they don’t fall forward. If it’s your own home, you can fix them to the wall, so that they don’t fall forward with weight. There have been accidents with bookcases falling forward, so it’s a very big thing if you’re going to have a tall high bookcase or anything storage that’s quite high, secure it to the wall so it doesn’t fall forward. Especially if you’ve got young kids in the house.

Setting Up A Commercial Office

The first thing you need to look at in any commercial office, again it’s what kind of work you do. If we talk about someone that is literally sitting in an office taking phone calls, the first thing I would look at is your acoustics in the actual office. Most offices they are a stud frame wall, so they are a Gyprock wall and they have insulation between them, but not necessarily an insulation that protects from a lot of noise. So if you find that when you’re standing in there looking at it, you can hear the other office next door, then you might want to look at getting some acoustic panels specifically in rooms where you need to actually keep things private or communications private or you don’t need to hear the neighbour talking to their client.

Following on from acoustics is then going to be in your design and set up. If you’ve got this nice big open commercial office and you get to lease this office and you can set it out however you want. I know the current module is open plan, and it’s nice to have all this open space.

The design is the biggest thing. You’ve got to again work out what it is that you are using your office space for. If an open plan is what you’re after, is there a way that you can set up a desk, use partitions to help each office worker from not being impacted by too much noise from fellow worker? And again, the lighting and supply, making sure that each desk or each workstation or each module of workstations all have the appropriate lighting and power.

When you do a design up, managers should in all honesty should have their own office with the door closed, because they’re going to have meetings where they need that privacy. You don’t have to have a full solid wall, you can do glass petitions, and they can be full height or half height. You can have half solid wall and half glass above, and that way you still have that privacy, that communication privacy as well, that noise protection, but at least you can still see what’s going on in the actual general office.

It’s a personal preference whether it’s a solid wall or not. If you’ve got a couple of offices side by side, you can have a solid wall in between them, and then they can have glass to the front looking out at all the rest of the staff, and that way it’s a nice open feeling without feeling like the managers are cut off from you.

Tips For Renovating

You can do one room at a time in any home. Whenever we meet with a client, we always ask them what their plans are for their house, because if there’s something that they have that they want to do eventually, that can be done during a renovation. As an example, say someone wants their home office done, and the bathroom is where they’re going to use, where their clients are going to go, that’s on their list to get done eventually. Get the quote on both, get the two separate quotes, so get a quote to get the bathroom done and get a quote to get the office done because if you’re going to have clients coming in, you want to present the best face.

Think About The Atmosphere You Want To Create

The only other thing you’re talking about is paint, and paint will always transform a room. In your home, and in most commercial places, keeping a neutral colour on the walls is your best option. You don’t want it too stark bright, but at the same time a neutral off-white or soft colour with a little bit of warmth in it will also help. Then you add your colour, or you add your logos colours. You could add business colours to the room with prints or with furnishings.

If you have got a home office and you can fit a couch in there, a small couch, then add your furnishings to that to bring your colour in. Try not to use too much heavy colour if you find it’s a temporary office in your home, because if you use a very dark colour on your walls, and then you want to bring it back to a neutral colour to say, sell the property, it will take a minimum of two base coats to cover that dark colour to bring it back to a light colour. Before throwing a really nice, dark colour on there, have a think long-term, whether you want to repaint in the future, because you can add prints, you can add the curtains, you can add the carpet, that can bring all the colour in that you need.

The same thing there for your commercial space, you’ll find that there’s restrictions because it is a commercial space. There will be criteria that you have to work to there as well, so you need to make sure with a commercial office space, that you get to know the strata manager or the building manager well. And make sure you know what their criteria are. You will find most office spaces do have a neutral off-white type of colour throughout, and if they do paint a wall, it’s predominantly one feature wall that they can utilise.

Tips to Renovate Your Physical Office Space

You need to consider these things in all offices:
  • Power
  • Lighting
  • Flooring
  • Furniture Positioning
  • Acoustics
  • Paint / Colours
Listen to Small Business Talk Podcast Episode 31 – Tips to Renovate Your Physical Office Space​ for all Sue’s tips


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