September 21

Working in Occupied Spaces

When we started drafting ideas for our own office fitout, it quickly dawned on us that we were going to have to re-think our project delivery plan because what we wanted to achieve in the timeframe we had to do it in, simply wasn’t achievable – unless we worked through the fitout.

And so it was decided. We would deliver the fitout in an occupied space which was by far the most complex challenge we faced and whilst we have delivered numerous projects in occupied spaces, it gave us a new found appreciation of the logistics involved in doing this.

Working in occupied spaces can be a logistical nightmare unless its managed carefully; and proficiently, by an experienced team. In addition to the usual planning procedures which go into a fitout, everything needs to be meticulously organised to make sure staff remain safe, OH&S is absolutely covered and all project risks are mitigated.

Explaining the process is one thing but until you have physically experienced the journey, its difficult for clients to fully comprehend the intricacies involved. If you’re considering working through your fitout, we wanted to share our top 3 tips for working in occupied spaces to make the process easier:

Develop a Staging Plan

Like any project, without a detailed plan the simplest tasks can turn into an onerous exercise. Make sure your Project Manager has a Plan A and Plan B (you always need a plan B for those unforseen situations!). For example if your fitout involves relocating workstations – allocate time for the team to save work, power down and notify clients with an out of office message. Ensure all deadlines are met and the relocation occurs at the end of the working week. Use the opportunity for staff to clear their desks, throw out unwanted material and protect any sensitive data such as computers and electronic equipment. Set up a temporary workspace before doing this so the staff has access to a functioning computer should they need to address urgent messages.

Motivate staff with the end goal

Lets face it – refurbishing your own office, particularly when you’re working in dust, noise and trying to block out the disruption – can be very frustrating! Which is why its important to motivate your team to stay focussed on the end goal. The disruption is a nuisance but when there is a clear and exciting vision which is clearly and consistently communicated to staff, it makes the ordeal worthwhile!

Involve staff during the process

For the majority of people, a large portion of our lives is spent at work. It is therefore important for a workspace to create a sense of belonging and instil pride in its team, and an excellent way of ensuring this happens is through ownership and involvement. Every project should have a leader and steering committee to make decisions but its critical for staff to have their say and more importantly, realise their opinions and feedback is acknowledged and implemented.

Lets not kid ourselves, working in a fitout can be difficult, stressful and sometimes demotivating. But by keeping your eyes on the prize, planning the project well and sharing the vision with you team; it makes for a unique experience and truly enjoyable journey!


If you would like to discuss your upcoming project with InSite Commercial Interiors please email us at or call us on (08) 9422 1900.

144 Railway Parade, West Leederville WA 6007

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