Breathing Life Back Into An Old & Ugly Office Space

Breathing Life Back Into An Old & Ugly Office Space

Some insurance agencies boast modern buildings with sleek exteriors and fresh interiors.   On the other hand, there are still many agencies on the opposite end of the spectrum.  They operate in old buildings handling required maintenance but leave even simple updates at the bottom of the expense and the to-do list.  While some agency owners see the appearance building as a necessary investment for creating an inviting ambiance, it’s not a priority across the board.  And while the wrong environment can send the wrong message to both employees and clients, it can present a challenge when an owner doesn’t see the problem the employees are staring at every day.

Here are a few tips you can use if your office needs a makeover without breaking the bank:

Appeal to Management –

You may have been down this road before without positive results, but it is always worth another ask to see if you can make some headway on the matter.  Depending on how your agency is structured, you may be bending the ear of a manager or the owner.  Regardless, it will help if you have an ally to help you build your case for the much-needed improvements.

When you have the conversation, come prepared with specifics.  Have photos of the most glaring problem areas in the office, feedback from other employees about how the less than appealing work environment is appealing to them, and even a budget for tools, materials, and labor needed for the updates.  The more information you can provide, the better chance you have to make your case and get the green light for the updates.  Even if you only get a few things on the list approved, recognize that as a win and a step in the right direction.

Make it a Grass Roots Effort –  

If pleading your case with management doesn’t work, there is still room for making the makeover happen.  Making it a team effort can be a great way to build morale and get a few of the updates you are looking for at the same time.

A grassroots effort could take shape in a couple of different ways.  Perhaps management approves a limited budget, which allows you to buy materials but requires employees to donate their own time to do the work.   And if management will not fund any of the projects, it may require employees to pitch in their dollars for paint and brushes.  Either way, make it a fun, collaborative event where everyone works together for a common cause.  Order pizza, invite families, and celebrate a job well done and the fresh new look as a team!

If All Else Fails, Own It – 

There is a chance that all efforts will be unsuccessful.  An appeal to management may only generate a disappointing no.  Employees may not be willing to give their own time or money for something they feel the agency should be responsible for.  And while this can all feel disappointing, you still have the power to control your attitude about it.

Rather than focusing on all the downsides, find ways to use humor in the situation.  Host an “ugliest office” contest, bring in ugly lamps to brighten dim offices.  And, if all else fails, buy everyone red staplers.  Regardless, make the space yours, no matter how ugly, and recognize that you can still do an excellent job for clients and the agency even when the wallpaper is peeling behind your desk.

While an out of date office is not ideal, you can still have options to make minor improvements.  Using the above tips, you can sort out if those updates will be in the physical sense or simply how you choose to look at the space.

For more on this topic, check out the full episode of The Independent Agent here.