If you own or manage an office space, you’ve probably spent much of the past year wondering what to do with it. With none of us knowing if we’ll return to conventional working life, thousands of offices across the UK are sitting empty, waiting expectantly for a mass return.
Thanks to technology, shifting attitudes towards remote working, and company restructures, it’s become clear that some office space will have to go for good.
For all the (much needed) support for health and safety measures, there hasn’t been that much guidance on the more practical elements of new-style office management. Where do you begin with clearing a space? Where will the furniture go? How can you reconfigure for maximum safety?
Here are a few ways you can manage an office space in our current times: efficiently, ethically, and effectively.
1. Plan Ahead (as much as possible)
If you’re holding onto an office space, create a schedule for its usage. This might be in the form of A and B teams, who use the space for alternate weeks. It might be used for meetings only. You might choose to expand or reduce the number of rooms in action.
2. Establish Access Requirements
London is famous for its high rise buildings and winding streets. Charming for tourists, not so great for planning deliveries.
Large collection lorries will need to be stationed outside, so check for any height restrictions or permissions required from the council. You’ll need to notify collection partners of your floor and situation. Heavy lifting will no doubt be required, and there will be some logistics required in navigating buildings, stairs, and elevators.
Make sure access information is readily available to everyone who needs it. If you don’t have it already, consider installing contactless entry (keycards, automatic doors, etc).
We also need to consider COVID safety. You’ll likely want to mitigate employee contact with external workers as much as possible (delivery men, clearance services, cleaners). It’s a good idea to appoint a specific ‘access granter’ rather than allowing numerous employees to interact with people at the door. This person should be given necessary PPE, and trained in safe procedure and correct distancing.
3. Create bespoke COVID guidelines for your space
Establishing a code of conduct isn’t just a box-ticking exercise. It helps your employees to feel safer. Because every building is different, there will be specific ways you’re able to lower risks. This could include things like limiting elevator passengers, managing use of communal areas like toilets and break rooms, and creating one-way systems in workspaces and hallways.
4. Develop a system for earmarking furniture
When it comes to managing office furniture itself, you’ll want to come up with a system. Use stickers or post-its to mark what’s staying, what’s going, and what’s uncertain or requiring storage.
Ask the questions, how far ahead can you plan? What will your staff levels look like over the next 365 days? It doesn’t make financial sense to get rid of excess furniture, only to have to re-purchase it in 6 months.
That said, costs of storage can mount up, and it’s a sunk cost if you end up getting rid of the furniture for good.
5. Consider getting support with office clearance
If it all still feels like a bit of a headache, an office clearance partner can help. But traditional clearance services have a pretty poor track record.
Huge amounts of cleared furniture end up being sent to landfill. It’s bad news for your corporate carbon footprint, and even worse news for the environment.
If you choose to hire help, go for an ethical clearance partner like Waste To Wonder. Rather than being chucked on a landfill site, your unused furniture will be repurposed and donated to the people who really need it. Even better, you’ll save big on recycling penalties (which will only increase over the coming years). Everybody wins!
So, what to look for in an office clearance partner…
As with vetting employees, suppliers, and cleaners, there are a few things you should look out for in an office clearance provider. Namely:
- COVID-safe compliance.
- WEEE and ISO:14001 compliance. In plain English, this means we’re qualified to work with electronic equipment, making sure it’s disposed of safely and responsibly. Our ISO:14001 compliance helps you to improve your environmental track record.
- Experience. As is the case with many processes, things in London work a little differently! Everything’s bigger, busier, and needs a little specialist know-how. Waste to Wonder have partnered with large-scale blue chip corporations in Canary Wharf, clearing items from offices in the Strand and the Bank.
- An ethical operation. Lastly, it’s non-essential but we argue should be non-negotiable, you should look for ethical clearance providers. At Waste to Wonder, we believe reuse for redundant equipment should be the de facto choice for businesses to save money on disposal costs, and to be a socially ethical business that contributes to the wider community.
Allow us to elaborate. In our experience, the furniture we clear from offices is perfectly reusable and deserves to be treated better than scraped for recycling or worse, sent to landfill.
With so many communities and charitable causes in desperate need of this equipment, we decided to connect the two and launch a redistribution programme.
We typically achieve 80% reuse rate on our clearance projects and in some cases, have even achieved a 100% redistribution. With this approach, you fundamentally achieve better results:
- Great for your pocket – as it saves financial costs on disposals
- Great for the environment – as reuse is the most sustainable option and offsets carbon
- Great for disadvantaged communities – as they gain access to better education.
- Great for you – as you witness the positive impact your donation has made.
So if you have a clearance in London, from 50 workstations to 10,000, and you’d like to discuss or learn more about ethical, professional, money-saving clearance, visit our website here, or contact Michael Amos on 0844 809 4928.