When it comes to organizing your office small, design and layout is critically important. After all, a work environment can influence employee productivity, morale and retention rates. In fact, a recent study done by Gensler, a prominent corporate architecture firm, reported that over 50% of surveyed employees said that they would work an extra hour every day if they had a better work environment. That’s 5 extra hours of productivity per employee… simply because their work environment is pleasant.
The benefit of a pleasant, well-organized office space is clear. Unfortunately, most small businesses cannot afford an expensive architecture firm to come in and professionally design the office layout. As with most things, the small business owner must find creative solutions on their own.
So… what makes a work environment… well, work?
There are several key factors that you should address.
Comfort. Above all, you should strive to create a comfortable work environment for your employees. Things like ergonomic work chairs, natural lighting and a pleasant color scheme go a long way to establish a productive environment. Interior design elements such as architecture and furniture style can affect the office’s over-all mood and influence company culture. Do you view your brand as sophisticated and modern? Create an environment that exudes those qualities using classic furniture pieces and rich colors. Is your company young and innovative? Modern pieces and up-tempo colors will set the right tone and encourage employees to emulate that identity. Not sure where to start? HGTV offers a nice home office design gallery that can help inspire the right office aesthetic for your company brand and culture. Still stuck? Ask your employees for their ideas and input.
Efficiency. The office should be organized to fulfill specific objectives efficiently. Define the top 3 to 5 objectives of each department and organize their space around making those objectives easier to achieve. This means grouping collaborative teams together, placing equipment and supplies where they are most often needed and creating a logical flow through the office space that allows for quick communication. Each area of the office should have a meeting space and printing station with a stocked supply closet featuring everything from paper clips to toner cartridges.
Budget. As with everything in small business, budget matters. At the beginning of any office design project, you should create a rational budget and stick to it. If you cannot make all the changes you would like today, plan your office changes in waves that are aligned with cash flow. The International Facilities Management Association recommends budgeting between $3,870 and $6,447 per person to outfit a completely empty office space. For very small businesses this estimate may be a bit high. Consider cutting costs by buying/renting used furniture and doing easier tasks yourself, such as painting walls.