How to redesign in tough economic times

How to redesign in tough economic times

In these tough economic times, redesigning your office space may be the last thing on your business’s agenda. Redesigning your office space doesn’t have to have a hard knock on your wallet if you have the right design plan.

With less expendable cash in these strenuous economic times, businesses are looking to spend their money wisely – especially when it comes to redesigning and renovating their office space. Companies are looking to invest in quality, durable materials and equipment that will last, over quick-fix fads and trends. 

An office redesign must be practical, make sense, and have longevity in both quality and style. Although businesses realise the importance of spending money to create an optimal working environment, some might feel that in order to have the correct equipment, facilities, technology, comfort, and style, they don’t have the budget to achieve this. Fortunately there are ways to redesign an office without breaking the bank.

Redesigning for retention

Human wellbeing is being considered more than ever in the workplace and tough economic times drive a need to keep morale high. Flokk, a leading manufacturer of high-quality workplace furniture in Europe, highlighted a new study that emphasised the important link between workplace design and employee retention and showed how having good environmental work conditions enabled a productive workforce.

If an employee is undecided about whether to stay at a company or move to a new position, the physical office environment is just as much a consideration as remuneration, job satisfaction, camaraderie, career growth, purpose, and so on. Even if economically, times are tough, companies need to continue to budget for redesigns and renovations if they want to continue to keep their talented employees.

Reuse. Reduce. Recycle.

More businesses have become aware that they need to do their part in combating climate change and being more environmentally friendly. Creating eco-friendly office spaces is not only good for the environment but also for your company’s bottom line.

As interior designers, we need to be more tuned in to the variety of materials which can be reused and recycled in an office space. Unfortunately when it comes to electronics in an office space, very little can be reused for another purpose if they do not function correctly. Manick Bhan of Rukkus gave a great idea on how to reuse old technology by using “old machines to power the dashboards and dummy terminals your team uses to monitor its key metrics. You can also give old computers to your team’s QA department and let them use them for browser testing.”

When it comes to recycled material that can be used in an office redesign, we have a very limited supply in South Africa as our recycling technology isn’t as advanced as the rest of the world. This means that recycled materials are imported, making them pricey and limited, not to mention the cost of shipment. 

Fortunately there are other ways to reduce design costs without having to rely on international suppliers, for example you could rent your furniture rather than buying it outright. Or reuse existing seating such as chairs, couches, or ottomans by recovering them to suit the new look of your office space. 

Good quality office chairs can have a long lifespan if used in normal conditions, and can be reused by giving them a mechanical service and reupholstery. Reviving and reusing desks, tables, chairs, and all soft seating, wherever possible, is another great way to give your office a new look while staying within your budget.


Space planning is the discipline of planning your interior space for optimal use. Learn all the terminology you need to know to ensure you plan your office space for optimal use. Download the Commercial Interior Design Dictionary now.

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What we can do for you

We often reuse meeting room tables by sanding them down, re-spraying or re-painting them and possibly adding some inserts of different materials to create a new, fresh piece of furniture. Artwork can easily be reframed and rehung. Lighting can be repositioned to create a different atmosphere, plug points can be repositioned and in-lay ceiling tiles can be repositioned. 

On every project, we always look for ways to cut costs and repurpose or reuse elements already there as there’s no sense in spending money unnecessarily. Locally produced recycled materials are still seen as ‘artisanal craft’ and not as mainstream solutions and this is a mindset that needs to change to continue redesigning in these tough economic times.

We’d love to see more in the way of affordable fabrics and flooring produced from recycled plastics being available locally. Any item of furniture can be reused provided it’s in a good condition. Only built-in or fixed items cannot be reused. There are many options to give your office space a new look without too much extra cost.

As office interior experts, we want to ensure your office space continues to make your employees happy and productive. Contact us today to find out how we can revamp your office space.

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Jill Munger

Author Jill Munger

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