How To Design The Perfect Office For A Startup
The way your office is set up has a huge impact on your business.
Lighting that is too dim lowers productivity, and a building that’s too loud will distract your employees and keep them from finishing their work.
Setting up a perfect office that enables employees to do their best doesn’t have to be hard.
In fact, it only comes down to a few small things.
1. Picking the Right Space
Your office should be in a convenient location, especially if it is customer oriented. A good location in the middle of town will encourage customers to drop by when they have questions or concerns. But if you set up outside of town, your customers may not bother going all that way.
It should also be easy for your employees to get to every morning. After all, they’ll have to work there every day, and driving an hour to the office isn’t very appealing.
Being near bars and restaurants are also nice things to have around. Your employees can get food for lunches, and grabbing a beer at the end of the day is a great way to encourage socializing within of the workplace.
What Type of Building Should I Get?
That depends on the personalized needs of your company, but you’ll probably want to look for a building that has at least one large, open space.
If you can’t find a building that feels right for you, consider gutting or renovating an older building. This may not be a realistic idea if you don’t have the money to spend on renovations, but it’s a good choice for businesses that want a rustic feel.
2. Keep the Office Open
Open offices have been a big trend recently, which is why you’ll want to find a building that can support this kind of office.
But an open office has more benefits than just looking nice. By taking away cubicles and other walls that separated employees from each other, an open office encourages collaboration.
Everyone is already working together in one big room, so it becomes easy for a simple conversation to evolve into a new business ideas or impromptu projects.
But Keep Privacy in Mind
While an open office is convenient and beneficial, you should also set aside a few smaller offices or rooms. This gives people who need it an opportunity to escape to a private room to work or make personal phone calls during breaks.
Working in an open office can be loud, so this also provides places people can go when they need a quiet space.
3. Make the Office Feel like Home
More and more people want to work from home, so making the office feel cozy and homey will help get them excited about coming in to work.
Designate a corner or two for a “couch spot”. This can be a relaxing place for breaks or a comfortable place for the occasional meeting.
Have a pot of coffee brewing at all times. Employees can grab a cup whenever they want, and the smell will be comforting and familiar.
Background music can keep the office energy up, so give employees turns playing their favourite songs. (This may not be ideal for every workplace.)
Let in as much natural light as possible. This will make the space seem brighter and fresher than the blinding, artificial light from fluorescent bulbs.
Let Employees Personalize the Space
Sometimes it’s posters of favorite bands or chess tables that inspire the most creativity.
When people don’t feel like they’re at work, they can unwind and relax. This may lead to new ideas you wouldn’t have found otherwise.
4. Get Flexible Furniture
Your business will constantly be growing and expanding, so your office needs to be able to grow with it. So you should only buy furniture that is easy to move around and reconfigure.
If you buy a bunch of large, clunky desks, you may not leave yourself enough room for flexibility.
You should also consider giving all your employees desks that allow them to sit or stand while they work. Not only is standing healthier than sitting, standing can actually improve productivity.
But people can’t stand all day, so the desk can fold down and allow employees to sit as well. This provides a healthier workplace without having to carry items from one desk to another.
5. Put Outlets Everywhere
A cafeteria isn’t just for eating, and a break room isn’t just for relaxing. These are places where employees who don’t work together (maybe they are in different departments or on different sides of the building) get a chance to interact.
People with different backgrounds tend to have different perspectives, but sometimes its these perspectives working together that come up with the best business ideas.
Which means there should be outlets everywhere.
Two employees who just came up with a good idea can easily plug in their phone or computer and start working right away if there are outlets available. There should be plugs by the couches, on the tables in the cafeteria, and anywhere else you can think of.
6. Throw Out Hierarchies
Don’t send new employees to the worst part of the business or give management too many prizelike perks, at least not while you’re starting up.
When hierarchies are set in place, they tend to keep hardening.
You can’t afford this type of segregation while your business is starting. A new employee might have the next big idea, but if they don’t feel they can say it (or if they don’t get the chance because they are way in the back of the building), you’ll never hear it.
Design your offices so that all workers of different levels can collaborate together. Build an environment where younger, newer employees feel just as valued as higher level management.
Making the Perfect Office
Your business’ perfect office will look very different than a competitor’s perfect office. When it comes to a startup business, design a friendly, comfortable office fit for your needs. When your employees feel at home, they’ll be more likely to relax and get more work done.