Since mid-March thousands of feet have been pounding roads across the South of England as part of pre-London half marathons. Many runners use the the thirteen point one mile distance; in locations from Dartford to Reading, Colchester to Hastings, as a warm up for the London Marathon at the end of April. Others train for this distance in its own right. Whatever part these races play for the individuals taking part one thing is certain; that there is some kind of training schedule or plan in place. This got us thinking about the process of decorating or refurbishing a commercial or office space and how, to be successful, it should follow a well devised plan. A plan not unlike a training plan.
Think of a completion day as ‘race day’: the day when a space can begin to be utilised by an organisation following preparation and refurbishment activity. The performance of a commercial, office or educational space, once occupied, is in a large part dependent upon the work and time that has been invested in its look and functionality. One thing is certain; the workers that will inhabit the space will be affected daily by the decisions made and quality achieved in a commercial refurbishment.
In the same way as a training plan will slowly increase the distance that a runner should attempt week on week, a commercial refurbishment design can easily increase in scale and inflate in cost. Often occurring when structural solutions uncover more challenges with a space than they solve, this pitfall can be avoided with thorough preparation. By analysing a space at the very start of a refurbishment project and being clear about the activity that is to be undertaken, control on scale and cost can be realistically maintained.
It’s not just about the legs; a runner also needs a strong core. Similarly an office or commercial decorating project needs to focus on its infrastructure. There is little point embarking on a re-painting project if the power points will need to be moved within six months. Ensure that attention is paid to all aspects of a room or space so that your surface activity is not left redundant.
The process of a decorating or refurbishment project can appear to proceed at radically varied speeds; sometimes it’s a jog and sometimes a gallop. Time can pass without a great deal of visible change occurring. This can feel frustrating as a business owner or manager. However, preparation work rarely produces extreme visual change; invest in this time and when the finishing stages are finally reached, the real value of thorough preparation will be revealed.
The final couple of weeks before the London Marathon will see a drop in the length of time that runners will spend on their local streets. In order to ensure that their body is at peak fitness on race day, a runner will decrease their distances; known as the taper. Similarly for a commercial or office refurbishment, once all of the fundamental visual and structural detail is completed; partitions and walls in place, electrics installed, paint dried; the pace of change alters once again. From positioning foliage to configuring brand graphics, these small features may not be apparent at first glance. However for those who who spend thirty-seven and a half hours a week in the space, it is these details that inspire productivity.
When the forty thousand amateur runners cover their twenty six point two miles around London next month, they will have achieved a goal for which they have invested months, sometimes years, of their lives. Undertaking a commercial redecoration or refurbishment is not dissimilar: impressive accomplishments will be realised when quality preparation is undertaken.