Your tenant improvement allowance isn't all about building out the latest, greatest office space. Business magazine articles and blog posts seem to be filled with descriptions of the trendiest tenant improvements.
While it's nice to have features like an ensuite café, a conference room with a big tent in the middle of it or elaborate built-out workstations, there are also some basic tenant improvements that will pay real benefits as your company's seeks change and ways to save money.
Multiple HVAC Zones
If you have the ability to determine the design of your HVAC system, making it as flexible as possible will pay benefits over time. Having multiple zones lets employees set their workplace temperatures for their own comfort. It also lets you deal with varying temperature levels because of proximity to a hot server room or a cold outdoor-facing wall.
In the long run, multiple zones can also save energy since you don't have to constantly adjust temperatures as seasons change. Multiple zones also provide enough granularity in control to serve changing needs as you reconfigure your space over time.
Save a little bit of your tenant improvement allowance to make your storage and server rooms more usable can have a significant impact on productivity. Having storage rooms that are not only large enough to meet changing needs but also well-designed and organized can make your staff more effective as they're able to find the resources that they need to do their jobs. Building a few different storage rooms instead of one large one can let you segregate what you have into separate room. It also means that, on the off chance you overbuilt storage space, you can turn a storage room into an interior office with a little extra work. The same concept applies to server rooms.
Building the room to be a little bit larger gives you room to expand if you need to add another server rack or two to add security to your company's network. It also makes your network engineering team's job easier since they can get to the cabling and equipment without restrictions.
For many offices, the best use of a tenant improvement allowance is to not use it at all. Instead of building out an elaborate space, leaving large areas of open space lets you constantly re-imagine the area as your needs change. Today's farm of cubicles for customer service representatives could easily become tomorrow's team training facility or work area for your graphic design department. By leaving large open spaces, you can save your tenant improvement allowance to go into public areas so that you dazzle your customers. You will also have extra funds available to build conference rooms for team meetings, private phone calls and hoteling employees.
Leftover TI funds can also be used to build informal employee meeting areas - like the aforementioned cafe - so that your workers have places to communicate and collaborate without having to leave the office. The days of private offices with mahogany bookcases are gone in most industries. Using tenant improvement allowance dollars to create flexible and collaborative workspaces creates more productive employees in the near term. It also creates spaces that you can retain for the long term.
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