If you are an owner of a business, one of the biggest decisions you will make will relate to how quickly you want your company to grow and when it is the right time to move to a larger office space. When you are trying to figure out the best working environment for you and your staff, you want to avoid paying out for an office space that may not be sufficiently utilised or needed at this particular time or an area that is cramped and not conducive to collaborative working. So, the question is, how do you use a smaller office space when you are planning to expand?
Open the space up
A good way to increase your office space is to consider opening it up, and instead of having smaller, enclosed spaces, make it an open environment. This also improves communication between your team members and makes it easier for them to get to know one another and bounce ideas off each other. If your team is used to a more private area, an open layout will make it easier for workers to ask questions and develop as a team.
Double up the space
Smaller pieces of furniture like new desks can significantly increase one office space for two of your employees. Most offices will accommodate more than one employee and, for a smaller space, sharing an office is an ideal practice and allows the use of all the space available. Putting two desks together or placing a second against the wall will make a difference and could change the decision to have to extend or move more to another venue.
Do you have some outdoor space? Perhaps you could invest in commercial storage sheds? We are not necessarily suggesting that you move your staff outside to them, but if you are using valuable space to store equipment or stock, you could move that out and your team into those indoor spaces.
Use all the areas
If you have areas in your office that are not used as much as they could be, such as common communal areas, try to use them for more than one purpose. If your workers feel that they are only able to work at their assigned desk, propose that they work in other areas of the office as a change of scenery. You want your employees to feel comfortable, and using different work environment spaces will make them feel like this is their office. It has become a cultural shift not to have a desk assigned to particular people, and this has been proven to work well in smaller office spaces. It is often known as ‘hot desking‘. Why not try out this concept and see if it changes the dynamics of your team for the better?
Remember, less is more
Having less furniture is a way to have a simplistic, tidy office space that saves you money and makes your office look bigger than it is. When determining which office décor represents your business or your ideal look at the workplace, it is vital to avoid making the space look cluttered. Simplicity is the key to a small business, and having a few eye-catching pieces as decor can help to facilitate your brand and what your company is all about.
What kind of thing takes up most of your office space? Is it useful and necessary? If it is, is there somewhere else you could put it? If it isn’t, can you get rid of it? If there are too many belongings taking up space in your office, then it is time to de-clutter. Clutter in an office will reduce efficiency by creating obstructions and increasing the chances of losing essential items and documents among the chaotic mess.
Through technological advances in computing, seamless integration and highly secure cloud computing, the office environment can be as paperless as possible. You will no longer need to maintain a physical office archive of rows of thick, bulky files when you can have all of the resources and paper files accessible in a digital format.
Introduce flexible working hours or shift work
Is it necessary for all of your staff to be on site and working at the same time? You may be able to introduce a flexible working schedule, where workers come in and do shifts. This reduces the number of people in the building at the same time, requiring less space.
Consider remote working
If flexible or shift work is not an option, or you can take it one step further, remote working is a very viable alternative. These days, thanks to technology, it has never been so easy to work remotely. Employees can log into networks and access documents from home, or the location of their choice from their devices and work as and where they please. While it may involve a significant layout of money to start with – the technology infrastructure and the cost of providing devices to your team – in the long term, it can save you money. It also means that you may be able to attract a broader skill set, as people who may not be able to keep to traditional working hours or commute to an office every day can still be employed.
Increasing your workforce does not mean that you have to move immediately to more extensive and more expensive premises. With a bit of creativity and thinking, you can stay where you are a little bit longer – and save a bucket load of money!