New office space

Sep 30, 2015

12072617_10153307225956859_1530375576295024395_nSome insights for those planning to relocate or revamp their digs, because we just went through the process.

We just moved into a new office space a couple weeks ago. It’s a big step up from our old space – one that was cobbled together in a 1960s medical office building with an add-on hair salon – a virtual rabbit-warren of halls and level changes with doors on automatic closers and horrible HVAC and lighting. We now have 7,000-square-feet of nice open space with large walls of glass, minimal halls, nice bathrooms and kitchen, large conference room, and super efficient lighting and HVAC. Plus, we’re on a major road with great signage – including a special clock with our logo on it made from our old friends at Electric Time Company in Medfield, Massachusetts. The effect on everyone’s mood was immediate: We all feel better and more energized by our new space and are moving to the beat of our central stereo system, hooked up to Pandora One. It helps productivity, morale, and our image. If you are thinking about upgrading your office space, let me give you some advice – remember, we just went through the process, ourselves:
  1. Don’t ask everyone for their opinions on everything. I’m talking about who goes where, what colors to use on the walls, and whether your bathrooms need full-length mirrors. The more you do this, the less happy everyone will be. You can’t please everyone. If you ask and don’t follow their wishes, they can justify being upset with you.
  2. Give people plenty of natural light. Natural light keeps you awake. People who are awake get more done than those who are sleeping (or sleepy).
  3. Have plenty of bathrooms. And be sure a couple are in more private locations for those delicate moments when certain noises or smells that one might like to keep from everyone else are possibilities.
  4. Make it fun! Why does everyone make their office so serious? Have some humorous art. Install some toys. Do something that no one expects. Make the space look like a fun place to work, and you’ll attract employees and clients.
  5. Wire it up! Plan for the future and the changing uses and locations of things. Investing in the cabling you’ll need for communications and computing is essential when you have the walls and ceilings blown out.
  6. Consider acoustics. Carpeting is a heckuva lot better sound-wise than polished concrete when it comes to floors. Consider acoustics in all the materials you pick.
  7. Make it easy to find. Good exterior lighting, the biggest sign you can get, and more should all be part of the new office. You want everyone who drives by to know where you are. It’s marketing, people!
  8. Keep the style eclectic. Going overboard on one or another trendy interior design fad (and they aren’t all modern – “craftsman,” for example, has been really overdone) will only make your space look dated in the years to come. Mixing up styles in your furniture and art will keep the place looking fresh and less dated in the long run.
So what is your advice here? Email it to me, so all of our readers can learn from your experience, too! MARK ZWEIG is founder and CEO of Zweig Group. Contact him at

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.