Office fit-outs often a smart business move

BUSINESSES of all persuasions often take the opportunity to recreate or smarten-up their image when relocating pre-mises.

Freehills is one business to make great use of its recent move to QV1, creating a statement with its office fit-out. And more familiar names are expected to follow.

While there is nothing new about creating an up-to-date look for a business, the Perth market is becoming more aware of the benefits an office fit-out can bring. Benefits can include increased staff productivity, greater attraction and retention of staff and heightened interest in the firm’s new look, which can both raise profile and garner more clients.

One of the more recent moves in Perth CBD has been the shift of financial services firm JB Were into the BankWest tower after operating from the AMP building for 25 years.

Interior designer Woodhead International was assigned to create a fresh look for the firm, as well as develop a working office that was more space effective.

Project leader Andrea Webster said new office fit-outs often required firms to step out of what they believed was their comfort zone.

“You only spend money like that every 10 to 15 years,” she said.

The new JB Were fit-out, while still in keeping with the firm’s client base, was quite a departure from the firm’s previous look, Ms Webster said.

“Their previous look was very timber orientated with a lot of cherry wood panelling,” she said.

“They did want to move with the times.”

Ms Webster said that, as there was a significant number of younger employees at the firm, one challenge was to create a look that would help attract and retain young talent to the firm but not alienate its client base, which was generally from an older demographic.

She said the right technology was also important in the attraction and retention of quality staff.

“I think in terms of technology it makes a real difference, with environment it is more subliminal,” Ms Webster said.

The Perth market was catching up on what has been occurring in eastern cities for some time, she said, with Perth companies beginning to see the impact and statement that could be made with a new fit-out.

“Instead of seeing it just as money going out of the coffers, more are seeing it as a business opportunity.”

JB Were State manager Brad Gale said he thought JB Were was held in high regard within the professional service industry and the new fit-out reflected that. He said the firm was not trying to achieve any ‘wow’ factor or be leaders in office fit-out design.

“We wanted a professional and sophisticated environment for our clients and a good and effective place for our staff to be,” Mr Gale said.

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