WORKPLACE / FEB. 15, 2015
version 3, draft 3

How to Handle a Renovation During Normal Business Hours

Your company may experience a time when a renovation is needed and yet you need to remain open for business. There are several factors involved in handling a renovation during normal business hours. This article will discuss those factors regarding the most optimal way to handle the situation and continue to succeed in running your business effectively.

Effectively Handling a Renovation

Renovations are important to keep your business or storefront up-to-date and to offer a quality shopping experience to your customers. Many times, business owners are able to close the storefront or complete renovations during non-business hours. However, if you are in a situation where you need to stay open for customers to come to your store or office, you must find a way to complete the renovations during normal business hours. Steps toward effectively handling a renovation are listed below.

1. Evaluate the Situation

The first step in the process is to evaluate whether or not it is vital that you remain open during the renovations. Secondly, you need to ascertain all of the costs involved in the project. Remember that if you complete a renovation while you are still operating your business, there will be some limits to your provision of services to customers. For example, you will need to close off a portion of your storefront to customer access. That may mean reorganizing product placement and how your store is actually set up.

There will likely be additional costs to keeping your business open during the renovations. However, staying open and receiving continual revenue should balance out the extra expenses. It is important to be honest in your assessment. You do not want to remain open during the renovation if you are not able to completely service your customers. It would be better to then completely close while you are renovating. Work with your business partners and building contractor to complete a cost analysis of the benefits and disadvantages of staying open or closed during the renovation. Once you have the facts, you can make an informed decision and implement an effective renovation plan.

One point to consider is that some businesses, like restaurants, cannot stay open during a renovation due to compliance with various safety and health codes. Your contractors will be able to assist you with regard to code requirements.

2. Design and Implement an Action Plan

Once you have made the decision to proceed with the renovation during business hours, you need to design and implement an action plan. For example, you must ascertain the most optimal times for the renovation and construction hours. You must be practical in your planning and realize that if you have limits—such as no weekend renovation work—that will seriously increase your project timeframe. You may want to establish the major parts of the renovation to be completed before 9 am and then again after 5 pm. However, this will slow down the completion of the project.

The main goal to completing a renovation during regular business hours is to ensure that your employees’ work and customers’ shopping experiences are hindered to the least degree possible. This is where it will come in handy to figure out the best way to complete the renovation in various zones; rather than all areas at once. Again, when you have special requirements like this, it can increase the budget for the contractor.

3. Advise Employees and Customers

Especially due to safety hazards, it is extremely important that management makes every effort to advise the employees and customers about each stage of the renovation in regard to how it will affect their jobs and shopping experiences. Post the appropriate signage for customers to be informed of the project stages and to observe safety precautions while shopping. Hold a company-wide meeting for the employees to inform them about the renovation project and what is required of them during the workday. Additionally, provide this information in writing to the employees. Most likely, there will be some changes to your services to customers, so be certain that you post signage regarding those modifications, as well. You want the renovation to proceed as smoothly as possible, and making the employee and customer experience smooth is part of that process.

4. Abide by all Safety Codes

In addition to trying to keep your employees working well and your customers having an excellent shopping experience, you also need to abide by all safety codes. Check with your contractor regarding the specific codes that need to be followed and make certain that your project manager and the contractor are working together to ensure the safety of all parties involved in the renovation.

All construction sites need to have clearly marked barriers to delineate where non-construction personnel are not supposed to walk through. Remember that construction zones are potential health hazards with regard to poor air quality, and other trip and fall risks. Always make certain that you have made every effort to abide by those safety codes. When you are delineating the various construction zones, make sure that you have “safe zones” in between all construction areas and work or shopping areas. For example, create that barrier so that noise will be more muffled and poor air quality won’t be such an immediate risk factor.

During your planning, be aware of all possible contingencies and be prepared to act in the case of a problem arising. Again, ensure that your project manager is discussing the contingency plan in detail with the contractor.

5. Communicate with Employees and Customers

Remember that your employees and customers are your two most important assets for the continual success of your business. If either party are injured, disturbed or annoyed during the renovation process, you run the risk of causing greater problems for your business—such as loss of business or lawsuits. Inform your employees that you want to complete the renovation with the least amount of disturbance to them as possible. Ensure that your customers know your intentions, as well. Be available to listen to any employees or customers who have grievances regarding the renovation process. Your project manager should be the key contact to initially handle these complaints. Don’t keep your employees and customers in the dark. Remember to keep the communication lines open and discuss the progress of the renovation with them.

Effectively handling a renovation project during business hours can be a daunting task. However, if it is absolutely necessary to complete such a construction project, follow the basic steps as outlined in this article to make the process run more smoothly.

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