One of the most exciting things you can do as an entrepreneur is entering an empty space – say a dilapidated old factory or a run-down office – and choose everything that goes in it, from the location of the plug sockets to the perfect sofa cushions. Having the freedom to make this kind of decision is liberating because it means that you aren’t just choosing a look your clients will appreciate but a way of working that your employees will love.
But before you jump into your PPE workwear and start drilling holes into the wall, here are a few things to think about as you perfect your design.
How Do You Want to Work?
Different companies have different working styles and finding the perfect rhythm is key to productivity. It probably won’t surprise you to know that your work environment is intrinsically linked to the way you work but since you have the chance to design that environment, it is worth thinking carefully about the results you want to achieve.
There are all kinds of creative office layouts that might work but often, combining a couple of ideas is the best approach to take. Just as different companies work differently, you should also consider how each employee works best and work with them to create the perfect layout. So, in a balanced office, you might have some private spaces, some long tables, a couple of comfy sofas and a breakout space.
How Will Your Branding Tie-In?
Once you have an idea of the right design, you need to consider how your branding will tie in. The colour palette you have chosen will obviously need to be incorporated somewhere, but you should also consider the character of your business.
So, a modern tech company might choose to have lots of bright spaces with light furniture and a very trendy feel; a fashion company might choose to have displays of models wearing the latest clothing; an architect might choose to have lots of raw materials on display with large chalkboards for group design work.
What is Your Total Budget?
If you had an unlimited budget, you could do all kinds of amazing things without any concern. Unfortunately, the best of us have to muddle on through and try to find the balance between what we need, what we can afford and what sort of frills we might be able to add on top!
The bulk of your budget should go on the most important things: technology (including computers), desks and comfortable chairs, and lighting. Don’t be afraid to buy secondhand furniture from charity stores like BHF, either, as many more startups are choosing not to buy new for environmental as well as financial reasons.
As you work on your office design, it’s very likely that you will change your mind a few times. This is perfectly normal and should be encouraged! Talking to different people, including your employees, will give you a bit of inspiration and should guide your decision making.
So, what will your office look like?