One of the things that makes the business world so intriguing is the sense of uncertainty it can bring. Uncertainty can breed excitement, so the growth of your company should always be on your mind; after all, you didn’t start your business to fail. Growth is coming, and those who are unprepared for it often find themselves scrambling to accommodate new employees, more gear, tech, etc.
This potential for rapid business growth should be a focal point of designing your new office space, it’s important to constantly re-imagine how the space is going to work for you into the future. Can it be reconfigured? Can it be expanded? Is there room for an extra employee or two? Can it accommodate the technology and gear you’ll need as your company grows?
In this post, we’ll discuss some of the best ways to design an office that can grow with your business.
Having an office that can bend to your will each and every day is essential to maintaining a sense of flexibility that will make adjusting and revamping your space that much easier. Consider thinking in terms of departments that may or may not need differing levels of privacy, or the ability to collaborate freely.
As your company grows, the office needs to be able to welcome new modes of working and sharing space without having to take a day or two away from the grind to build better workstations – think about the words ‘adjustable’ and ‘portable’ to help arm your office with specific types of modular spaces that can change.
When considering layouts, always arm your office with a plan B – this may mean adopting an open concept work space with portable partitions that offer partial privacy that can be moved, added to, or removed at a moment’s notice. This can be particularly handy if you need to host a large group meeting, or entertain clients in-house. Try to have 2-3 different layouts in mind from the time you move into your new office so you have a game plan for when business starts to expand. This type of spatial planning is key to accommodating desks, meeting rooms, break spaces, and collaborative spaces.
Quality, not Quantity
Some people imagine that simply purchasing a larger office is the answer to their problems – more space means more chance to change and rearrange down the line. While this is half true, there’s no sense in purchasing an office space that you can’t use yet – you’ll just get wasting money on your lease, or rent. The better choice is to think smart, with quality of space, not quantity on your mind. Office flexibility means adopting multi-use spaces that are adaptable to your needs as they surface.
Another way to help you integrate office layout and furniture is to consider a neighbourhood approach to office design. Office neighbourhoods are an increasingly popular choice among startups and businesses that create smaller spaces where groups of employees can work collaboratively, while maintaining a sense of privacy, and community within a workspace. These spaces are multi-use, and are designed to support collaboration and productivity. They also allow for a mix of open space and small project rooms.
Furniture is really important for businesses. The pieces you choose ultimately add to and help shape the identity of your business, and can have a huge impact on productivity and employee satisfaction. Consider what your mom may say when looking at purchasing your office furniture: pick pieces that are going to last, not the flashiest ones you can find. Buy smart, and your furniture will last you a long time.
Also consider ergonomics when designing your office space and purchasing furniture. Ergonomics is the science behind fitting a workstation to a worker allowing for maximum comfort, productivity, and efficiency. More and more these days, we hear about the negative aspects of neglecting to include office ergonomics – wherein neck pain, back pain, tendon problems, musculoskeletal issues, carpel tunnel, and headaches are common side effects of modern office work. When you invest in office furniture, be sure to purchase good quality pieces that keep your employees and the efficiency of your office at the forefront.
An intriguing article published by Fortune notes that what our larger economy lacks, is big ideas. Most companies are strictly focused on producing marginally better products with incremental upgrades rather than game-changers – and that’s a problem. The article states that while technological progress is largely stagnant, what we need to come back to as an economy geared towards growth – and as a species for that matter – is working together to achieve a goal.
When technology comes into play, yes the newest gear is going to help your office to feel valued and up-to-date, helping your staff to enjoy some feelings of tech-savvy pride, but it’s largely been unchanged in the last 15-20 years. As the Wall Street Journal’s Greg Ip says “”Houses, appliances and cars look much like they did a generation ago. Airplanes fly no faster than in the 1960s. None of the 20 most-prescribed drugs in the U.S. came to market in the past decade.”
To us, this is in part due to a stagnant workplace. So instead of sinking the bulk of your businesses innovation and expansion budget into the newest smartphone and computer technology, investing in how your team is able to share ideas, and ultimately implement change is money much better spent. And the best way to do that? Upgrading your office space to allow for big changes and big ideas. Not the latest iPhone. Stay connected, yes – but focus more on the connection that your team can build within your collective space.