Office design advice for new business owners
If you glance at a few of the more recent start-up offices, you could be forgiven for thinking that modern office design is more about how many cool ping pong tables and flat-screen data displays you can cram in and less about business efficiency.
Office design for new businesses depends partly on the nature of the enterprise and the preferences of the personnel, but there are still some tried and tested factors operating. These include the importance of location, easy availability of refreshments and appropriate seating, lighting and other factors. Let’s look at some other considerations for today’s start-up office environment.
Ceilings and walls
Ceilings and walls may not be the first things that spring to mind in this context, but they can and do exert an enormous influence on productivity. The height of the ceiling, for example, is known to affect various problem-solving abilities, with higher ones promoting them. Moods can be greatly affected by patterns and colours on the walls, and stress can be reduced by having big windows with views looking out on nature, such as trees.
Your team, like any army, needs to be kept properly fed. Don’t waste money and time having to rush off to the nearest Starbucks for coffee, instead get a top-notch machine that will produce quality coffee in seconds.
Choosing appropriate functional office furniture can be a controversial issue, because whilst ergonomics is a legitimate concern, spending thousands on a desk and chair might raise some eyebrows. However, there is lots of excellent used furniture available from a range of on- and off-line sources that will fit the bill without eating into your precious start-up capital. Superb second-hand desks and conference tables are available that are eminently reusable when you’re strapped for cash and can’t afford any undue luxuries.
Ergonomic, comfortable office chairs may prove to be the exception here, as they’ll have a direct impact on your most valuable asset, which is your workforce. It’s worth spending a bit of extra cash to keep your people happy, productive and healthy, especially if they’re spending most of their time sitting in front of a computer screen.
As technology is the driving force behind most start-ups nowadays, this area cannot be skimped on. If you rely on old computers and inefficient connections, the seconds you spend waiting for a response will quickly add up and impact on your productivity. Using old tech gear to save a few quid, particularly if you’re a start-up is suicidal for a business.
Wherever possible, choose laptops over workstations so that your team can shift around the office at will. A big screen for the conference area can also come in handy.
Basically, as long as you and your team feel comfortable, there’s no wrong way to design a new start-up office. You may find that most of your personnel prefer, for example, to work remotely from a home office because they feel cosy and comfortable there, so then designing an office space that feels more like home will be the solution.