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breakroom design covid compliant design

Rethinking Breakroom Design: 5 Ideas for a Post-COVID World

 

breakroom design in COVID world

Breakrooms play an important role in overall office design. Breakrooms allow employees the space they need to relax, unwind, and gather themselves throughout the day. Since more and more professionals are spending long hours in the office, having a quality breakroom is increasingly vital for growing companies. Of course, breakrooms are also places associated with lots of close, person-to-person interactions. And because of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have had to quickly rethink their breakroom practices. (Unfortunately, COVID spread within offices has been linked to breakrooms.) Even as we enter a new (and hopefully final) phase of the pandemic, business leaders must make both short and long-term plans for their office spaces and specifically their breakroom design. Thankfully, we’re here to provide 5 quality breakroom design ideas for a post-COVID world:

Private Breakrooms

Obvious? Perhaps. Smart? We certainly think so! For the foreseeable future, many professionals will be hesitant to spend time in direct contact with other people in their work environment. This behavior may even last for years before we collectively experience a “return to normal” after COVID-19. Given that fact, it’s not a bad idea for business leaders to experiment with private break areas in their office. Alternatively, if you don’t have the extra space required to ensure everyone has an area to blow off steam, you could consider staggering employee breaks to ensure everyone has a chance to collect their thoughts alone at least once or twice during the day. 

Socially-Distanced Layout

Even under the best of circumstances, cramped and confined breakrooms are unlikely to help employees think and unwind. As such, making greater use of the space available to your business can be a fantastic way to create a safe, socially-distanced breakroom layout. Plus, spacing chairs and sofas at least six feet apart in your breakroom should allow team members to enjoy their breaks with minimal distraction from others. 

New Diversions

In the past, people may have congregated in breakrooms to converse with coworkers, check their personal email, or just kick back for a bit. Now though, individuals who used to visit the breakroom with others may find it difficult to take meaningful breaks throughout the day. To prevent employees from getting burned out at work, business leaders may consider adding certain amenities to their breakrooms to make them more palatable for the time being. For instance, installing a video game console in your breakroom could help some employees relieve stress and connect with friends online for a few minutes. Or adding a TV to your breakroom could let stressed employees chill out with one of their favorite shows. Personal interactions may be impossible to replace entirely, but adding new amenities to a breakroom can nevertheless enhance its appeal.

Virtual Lunches

For many, the breakroom also serves as a de facto cafeteria. Many employees enjoy the breakroom because it lets them snack with their coworkers and catch up with them at the same time. Considering that in-person lunches may still not be possible for office workers for some time yet –– and that many professionals have recently adopted a permanent or semi-permanent remote workspace at home –– holding virtual lunches or “snack breaks” can be a great way for business leaders to encourage camaraderie between employees. Scheduling out moments in the day for your staff to hop on a video call just to chat and shoot the breeze can actually help boost morale and, by extension, productivity

Long-Term Breakroom Design Plans

So far, we’ve touched on breakroom ideas that assume COVID-19 will play a part in the professional psyche for many months –– if not years –– into the future. Yet, it’s possible that by this time in 2022, office spaces may have returned to pre-pandemic normality. If that ends up happening, then business leaders may be well served to create large, inviting breakrooms for their employees to socialize and interact together. Odds are, people are going to crave person-to-person meetings in a post-pandemic world, so giving them more space to do just that is likely a good idea. While that may not be feasible for the next few months, breakrooms of the future could include even more communal features like dining tables, snack bars, coffee stations, and/or board games. In other words, what breakrooms look like in six months may not resemble office breakrooms in six years at all. So keep an open mind when you approach this issue. 

Contact Us

At Key Interiors, we’ve partnered with businesses of all industries and sizes to create office and breakroom design plans that resonate with employees. If you’re looking to revamp your workspace setup, then contact us here for more information. 

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Tenant Build Out

Tenant Build Out: How to do a Renovation When You Lease

tenant build out

For many business owners, leasing an office space is an ideal way to improve their organization. Leasing may allow business owners financial flexibility as well as the chance to secure a quality location for many years without actually purchasing property. However, when businesses need to enhance their office space, lease stipulations can cause renovation challenges. Indeed, planning a tenant build out that doesn’t violate the terms of your lease –– and by extension cause you financial or legal trouble –– can be quite tricky. Thankfully, we’re going to share a few key ways to ensure you’re able to renovate your office space within the terms of your lease. Check them out here:

Review Your Lease Agreement

It is absolutely essential for business leaders to carefully review lease agreements before they sign a legally binding contract with a landlord. Even if you have a good relationship with your landlord, written agreements can make it difficult for you to renovate your office space in the future. While each lease is different, most include a clause relating to alterations and improvements. And generally speaking, these clauses allow tenants the ability to make reasonable, non-structural changes to their rented space. (Note, most business leaders will still need to get approval from a landlord to make even minor changes to a rented space.) Unfortunately, some leases use very liberal language to define “structural” changes. As such, simply changing light fixtures without prior approval may be deemed in violation of a rental lease agreement. Before you begin any renovation plans, review the language in your lease agreement and define what you can and can’t change in your office space.

Structural vs Non-Structural Changes

In most instances, businesses looking to make non-structural changes to their office space shouldn’t have too much trouble working within the confines of their lease agreement. For instance, purchasing new furniture for your office space can be a simple and effective way to improve your work environment. Other temporary measures like non-structural and/or modular walls can help tenants reshape their office space without fundamentally altering the structure of the area.

Structural changes to areas may include load bearing walls, columns, the roof, and the building’s facade. These are often not allowed to be touched by a tenant, but in some instances, landlords may give an exception if they agree to restore the structural changes at the end of their lease. This means these sort of alterations are often, but not always, cost prohibitive for businesses.

Tenant Improvement Money (TI Money)

Another important thing to keep in mind when looking at your lease agreements, is to consider Tenant Improvement Money allowance. This is when the leasing party allows a specified amount of money per sq ft and per year for improvements to your space. Be careful to understand what this money will cover, because landlords often restrict what it can be used on. Most times they only cover things that will improve the overall value of the space, but each agreement is different. When working with Key Interiors, we work directly with you and your leasing company to bill the correct amount to each party in order to eliminate any confusion.

Working with Your Landlord

Perhaps the most straightforward way to ensure you’re able to improve your office space without violating the terms of your lease is to speak with your landlord in advance in regards to tenant build out. Good landlords shouldn’t have any problem approving minor changes you want to make within your rented space. What’s more, business leaders may be able to convince their landlord to allow more ambitious renovations under certain conditions. It may be mutually beneficial to a business owner and a landlord to restore a building’s facade, for example. You may also be able to rework your lease to allow for more significant alterations.

Contact the Pros

At Key Interiors, we have years of experience helping businesses navigate rental agreements to enact much-needed renovations, redesigns, and general tenant build out examples. Before you try to negotiate with a landlord on your own, make sure to contact our team first. We can help you determine your renovation needs, put you in contact with other helpful professionals in the industry, and create a plan that will work for all parties involved.

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covid compliant design

How to Keep Your Commercial Construction Project COVID Compliant

As we’ve noted numerous times before, improving the nature of an office space can have a big positive impact on employee morale and productivity. And given the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, many business leaders have made the decision to alter their workspace for the foreseeable future. If you’re considering a new commercial construction project to improve your office design, you may be wondering how to manage such an undertaking. After all, it’s crucial that any office redesign project you start remains COVID-compliant throughout. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure your team, business partners, and customers remain safe and healthy during a commercial construction project. Here are several key tips to keep in mind: 

Partner with the Right Construction Company

As one might imagine, hiring a capable and responsible construction company will go a long way toward ensuring your commercial construction project runs smoothly. Make sure that you partner with a company that adheres to COVID-19 safety best practices and standards. In addition, construction companies should designate separate entrances and exits just  for their employees and provide them with separate facilities for regular use. The less contact between different groups of people, the better. 

Follow COVID Protocols

Ideally, you should try to ensure that your team members don’t have to come into contact with professionals from other work environments. Identify certain choke points –– like hallways or elevators –– and instruct employees to maintain a safe social-distance around these areas. In addition, following basic COVID-19 hygiene protocols can help keep your team safe. Wearing masks, washing hands, and sanitizing work areas frequently can cut down on the risk of transmission. Ideally, construction crews should work in sealed, isolated areas away from your employees, but it’s best to be prepared for any possible exposure. Note that construction crews should follow these COVID best practices as well –– in addition to other measures such as alternating work-day shifts.

Build Your Plan Now

Do not try to start a commercial construction project and implement COVID protocols as you go. Instead, before you partner with a construction company or start your project, be sure to develop a plan that encapsulates all of the standards referenced above. What’s more, depending on the size or length of your project, you may elect to institute even more rigorous measures. In any case, getting this covid compliant design plan down early will allow you to communicate your expectations to your business partners and to your own staff. 

Key Fact: Keep in mind that construction projects actually work better now with reduced office staff on site. This also allows for professionals to work in their own personal spaces without experiencing any disruption or distraction associated with commercial construction projects. 

Contact Us

Key Interiors can help your company successfully improve your office design and ensure your next commercial construction project remains COVID compliant. We’ll help you create a COVID-compliance design plan, implement measures like separate facilities and isolated work areas, and enable your team to perform at their best during construction. Contact us here to learn more or to get started today.

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Office Design

Using Design, Build, Furnish Methodology for Your Office Fit Out

Improving an office environment is not a hypothetical exercise. Yet, unfortunately, many design consultants don’t help their clients address real-world issues. Business leaders looking to enhance their workspace have a number of different factors to consider, ranging from their budget, to their goals, to their available space, and even their time frame. Given that fact, it’s crucial that business leaders partner with organizations that can help them with all three phases of a full office fit out: namely, the design, build, and furnish aspects. Here, we’ll explain how businesses can translate office renovation plans into positive outcomes for their employees and customers.

Office Design

A great way to start the design process is to ask yourself these three questions: 

  • What are your current workplace needs? 
  • What are your projected workplace needs for the length of your lease? 
  • What do you want the atmosphere/culture of your space to feel like? 

Good office design should account for your goals, budget, and space. As such, beginning with an office space analysis is typically a wise idea. (This is particularly important if you have not already secured a space. Your business’s future design plans should influence this decision.) From there, business leaders can begin to focus on what functionalities they require from a new office. And, given the current situation, what COVID-19-based decisions they should make to create a safe office environment for all. 

Office Build

Once your company has decided on a working plan for renovation or redesign, the next step is to put it into action. This involves hiring contractors, managing key installation features like lighting and plumbing, and making adjustments based on changing timescales and budgets. Keep in mind that in most cases office construction may require permits or other legal documentation from local authorities that can take time and cause complication. In brief, there are a number of logistical challenges associated with this aspect of office renovation. However, as with everything, the devil is in the details, and seemingly small decisions made at this stage can have a big impact on the overall efficacy of an office fit out project. 

Office Furnish

Furniture, layout, and arrangement can influence the look and feel of a new office in substantial ways. During the final stage of an office fit out, businesses should focus on adding the finishing touches to their design plan. This includes making furniture purchases, reviewing detailed renderings, and setting construction dates. Choices made during this stage of the design process can affect the budget and schedule of your project. 

The Key Interiors Difference

Unlike other companies in our field, our team at Key Interiors works with businesses through all three phases of office renovation. We take time to consult with our clients to determine their design needs and assess their available resources and space. We collaborate with them to secure quality construction assistance and to manage logistical issues that arise throughout the process. We supply our partners with detailed plans and renderings –– along with a wide range of furnishing options for all budgets and styles. 

When you partner with Key Interiors, you’ll receive essential advice, support, and assistance through every stage of your office redesign or renovation. The right office fit out can dramatically improve employee morale, performance, and company culture. Contact us here to learn more about how we can help you make the office of your dreams a reality.