Starting a business involves learning how to successfully deal with many issues, including sales, financing, legal matters, marketing, and human resources. And while 20% of new businesses fail in the first year, there have been numerous examples of successful startups that developed into multi-billion-dollar businesses. Just think of Airbnb, Facebook and Uber, who started as small, yet revolutionary projects and ended up becoming some of the most prolific companies of the digital age.
Now that you have your business plan in place and you are getting ready to take the business world by storm, it’s time to start thinking about where you will be setting camp – your startup office.
When we think about offices that provide employees with everything, they could possibly need in order to be productive, Google is the first example that comes to mind. They have offices all over the world, and they have succeeded in making each and every one of them a dynamic, human-centered workspace, where employees feel empowered and challenged to draw out the best in themselves.
Office design matters tremendously for the morale, health, creativity and productivity of everyone in the team, with 46% of professionals pointing out their workspace heavily impacts their productivity. And, as a startup, you need your team to work at full capacity, so that you can start things on the right foot.
Here is what you need to take into consideration when designing an office space that nurtures creativity, productivity and positivity.
Design with flexibility in mind
Your startup is going to change a lot in the first few years, so if you don’t want to be changing offices every few months, you need to make sure the office design is flexible enough to accommodate growth. You may have started your journey with a small team now, but once your business starts growing, so will the number of employees.
Some consider an open-space office allows for more flexibility and versatility, and while that is true, open-space offices also tend to be loud and hectic, which can take a toll on employee productivity. You can, however, get the best of both worlds by designing a mobile workspace, which can be easily adapted to your needs. Mobile walls can be moved around to accommodate more space for individual offices or a larger common area and can be removed with ease in case you decide to opt for an open-space office.
A successful entrepreneur thinks big and plans for the future, so don’t limit the potential of your workspace.
Incorporate common spaces
Employees need individual desks to work unbothered and undistracted, but they also need a place to relax or brainstorm with colleagues. Promoting collaboration between your team members strengthens the bond between them and allows for collective ideas that can turn into fruitful projects.
Make common spaces feel as inclusive and welcoming as possible and make sure they have anything your employees may need for their meetings. This includes plenty of sitting space, a working table, boards or flipcharts for project planning, a coffee machine for early-morning meetings and all the necessary hardware, including computers, printers and projectors.
If you have enough space, aim to design more than one common room, to avoid teams having to wait in line for a chance to hold a meeting. This will improve efficiency and keep your employees happily on schedule. Include outdoor areas as well, for when the team needs a breath of fresh air, but ideas won’t stop coming.
Keep a human-centered approach
Before being your employees, those that work in your office are humans, and they have both social and physical needs. Keep this in mind when planning the design of your office.
Lighting is one of the most important aspects of a workspace, as it affects the productivity, mental health and safety of your employees. Use as much natural light as you can but do install plenty of artificial light sources to compensate. Work with warm and cold light for various office areas based on the mood you are trying to inflict.
Comfort is yet another aspect that influences the wellbeing of your employees. They have to sit at their office for long hours, which in time leads to bad posture, backpain or neck pain. Make their health a priority and consider something innovative, such as a standing desk chair. This LeanRite review explains exactly how this chair helps tackle many of the issues those who sit at their desk all day encounter.
Use your office as a reflection of your brand
The way your office looks should be a clear reflection of everything your brand stands for. From the colors used to the layout, materials and décor on the walls, your company’s culture and identity should be at the core of what you create. This helps your employees understand your values and get in that mindset.
You will also be meeting clients and investors in your office, so you need them to understand your brand the moment they enter through that door. Place your logo somewhere visible, use company colors where possible and design in a style that aligns with your brand image. You can’t, for example, claim you are an eco-business if your office is full of plastics and you don’t even recycle.
Build around departments and work styles
Some employees work better in a quiet corner, while others prefer open spaces, where they can pass on ideas with colleagues. Understand your team well and pay attention to their needs and work styles. Design your office space in a way that accommodates the quiet ones just as well as the more energetic members of your team. This shows your company promotes inclusivity and has the best interests of its employees at heart.
The headquarters of your business has a great deal of importance in the success of your brand and can influence clients, employees, as well as customers. The right office space is designed to streamline productivity and provide your team with all they need in order to work at their full potential.