If you’re starting a business and you’re ready to move into your first office, or if you’re hosting coworkers in a home-based office, you’ll need to spend some time optimizing your office structure if you want to be effective. You’ll need to make changes that accommodate your workers, maximize productivity, create the ideal atmosphere for your brand, and potentially, make a better first impression on your clients and customers.
So without breaking the bank, what are some key strategies that can make your first office more successful?
Key Elements to Consider
It’s helpful to think of your office’s value to employees and clients as existing in three major dimensions:
- Layout. The overall layout of your office has a significant impact on how people work—and what people think when they walk in. How your furniture is arranged, and how people can walk from one part to another, are important decisions.
- Safety. You also need to make sure your workspace is safe and conducive to your employees’ health. Not only does it boost productivity, but it may also mitigate your chances of being held liable for a workplace injury.
- Branding. Finally, you need to add aesthetic choices that reflect the image and character of your brand. This will make an impression on guests as they visit your office for the first time, and help align your workforce under a singular vision and set of core values.
Tips for Improving Your Office
These are some of the most important tips you’ll use to create an effective first office:
- Make first aid kits available. Even if your office doesn’t involve much physical labor, it’s still a good idea to have a first aid kit available to your employees. You can get an inexpensive one for just a few dollars, so there’s really no excuse not to have one in the office somewhere. The breakroom and kitchen are popular locations, but it doesn’t matter so long as everyone knows where it is.
- Have a clear emergency plan. You also need to have a set of emergency plans in place for your office. For example, what should your employees do if there’s a fire? What if there’s a tornado warning? The United States government has several templates you can use to put a plan together for your home or office.
- Choose an open floorplan. Next, try to make your office as open as possible. Open office floorplans mean your employees have more chances to see and interact with each other. They also make your office look bigger and more welcoming to your clients. Try to keep everything spaced out, with few closed off doors or walls creating unnecessary barriers.
- Invest in good furniture. Though it might cost you a bit more money upfront, it’s a wise idea to invest in ergonomic furniture that your employees are comfortable using. Not only will they be able to work more comfortably, they’ll be at lower risk for various health complications, like chronic back pain or carpal tunnel.
- Display plants. If you’re looking for low-cost ways to make the office more productive and more inviting, it’s hard to beat plants. Research shows that including even a handful of green plants in the office can boost everyone’s mood and productivity, making your office seem livelier and more connected with nature.
- Display art. Additionally, you can try to display more art in the office. Art tends to stoke creative thinking, giving your employees more chances to creatively brainstorm, and adding character to your work environment. Abstract art works especially well here.
- Match your design to your brand personality. Finally, make intelligent design choices that match the imagery and character of your brand. For example, if you want an energetic, playful office, you should paint in bright colors and choose unique pieces of furniture. If you want something more classically professional, choose attractive high-end wood desks and make sure everything looks sleek and modern.
As you spend more time in your office, get to know your employees better, and become more acquainted with the realities of the brand you’ve created, you’ll uncover more ways to optimize your layout, safety, and branding. Pay close attention to how people respond to various features within the office, and don’t be afraid to experiment. The more options you try, the more data you’ll have to use when making your next office-related decision.