It may be time to spruce up the old office

Lynne Wells
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If you put your home on the market, the real estate agent will advise you to...

If you put your home on the market, the real estate agent will advise you to - at the very least - take care of minor repairs, clean up and spruce up the old homestead to make it more attractive to prospective buyers.

If you're in the market for a new home, you're likely not going to feel the least bit interested in a place that hasn't had new flooring installed since 1965. Even if it's clean enough to eat off of, the flooring is likely worn, tired and out-of-date, and you wonder what else about the property is rundown.

Those same principles and emotional responses apply to office interiors. If a prospective customer walks into your office and sees patterns and colors from 25 years ago, a mish-mash of furniture styles (purchased over the years as you grew the business), fraying fabrics, faded pictures and paint that no longer has a definite color, chances are that customer is not going to be excited about doing business with you.

Interior designer Dawn Madore Munden of Update Interiors, who has created modern interior spaces for a number of Burnside companies, says the wow factor should not be underestimated.

"Updating your office premises doesn't just impress customers, new and old, it can also be a tremendous boost for employees," she says.

Case in point: Munden recently worked on First On Site Restoration's new location at 39 Gurholt Ave. The renovation company has just moved into new premises from its old Lake Major Road location. The new address is actually an older building and Munden says the company wanted extensive work on the interior to streamline the space and make it visually appealing and welcoming.

"The new interior has got First On Site's staff excited and eager for the change," she says. "They're bringing new energy to the workplace. They want to be in the new space and they want to be involved in making it their own. Customers are going to be impressed with the bright, modern space and impressed with the staff, which received a huge boost in morale."

Munden says a tidy, fresh, well-kept space shows a company takes pride in itself, its staff and its services and products.

"That unspoken message instills confidence in customers," she says. "A messy, worn out, tired office interior sends a very different kind of unspoken message."

Over the years of her career, Munden has seen some truly terrible spaces in both the commercial and residential markets.

"But there's no space that can't be transformed," she says. "Today's businesses should take advantage of the competitive edge an office interior update can give them."

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