Not every small business or start-up has the capital to rent a sprawling commercial space. For many of us that are just starting, we need to get used to a smaller space at first and work our way up to a more spacious rental. But just because your small business or start-up cannot afford a larger space, it doesn’t mean you have to forego a functional and beautifully designed office or workspace.
So before you call your mortgage firm to find the best space for your start-up or small business, make sure you have a visualization of how you want your first office to look, even if it is on the smaller side. Here are some tips and ideas for designing a small but functional and aesthetically pleasing office space.
One of the first things you need to do is go the paperless route for your business. Physical documents and files accumulate over time, and eventually, you would have to find places to store them. That’s not something you can afford if your office space is lacking in square footage.
Convert whatever paper files you have now into digital files, ad store them on a hard drive. Consider going for a cloud solution if you see that documents and files will be a big part of your business moving forward. While there will undoubtedly be papers that will need to be kept as a hard copy—like your licenses to operate and the like—you would still need to find ways to go digital everywhere else. Going paperless will only be good for you and your team—it will help keep your space clean, and it’s a gift to our environment too.
Before buying furniture or drawing up a layout, go to the drawing board first. How do you and your team intend to use the space? Would the workers need privacy, hence a need for cubicles? Is your company big on collaboration? Because if yes, then you might want to opt for shared desks instead of individual ones. Are you going to hold a lot of meetings? A conference space might be in order. How about your storage needs?
These are questions you need to ask yourself as the owner and your team members—since you are the ones who will have to live with and in the space. Don’t be too quick to make big plans. Determine first how you intend to use the space so that you can focus on your needs and forego the wants. Your wants—like a massage chair, perhaps—can wait for when your business is on the upswing, and you can finally afford these small luxuries. Planning well before you lay everything out and invest in some furniture is key to helping you maximize your space and eliminate unnecessary spending.
Maximize natural light
If you were blessed enough to find a space with a big window or multiple windows, maximize the small space by using natural light. Proper lighting is one of the biggest ways you can create an illusion of a bigger space. Avoid using too much fluorescent lighting or too many lamps, especially since the latter can take up too much space, too. Ditch the drapes so that nothing will block the natural light, especially if the sunlight doesn’t cause discomfort to you and your team. If it does, invest in some drapes that are lighter in material and color but still promise to filter UV light.
Find flexible furniture pieces
If you only have one room for your office, invest in pieces that can be used in various ways. You can opt for foldable desks that you and your team can use and move as you please, or you can opt for standing desks with taller chairs so that you and your employees have the option to stand whenever you find yourself straining due to sitting all day.
Removable chairs can also give you and your team the option to arrange the chairs as needed—they can be perfect for when you have to do some work on your laptop all day, but also for when you have to sit in a circle while having some meetings.
There are many creative ideas and solutions that can help ensure that every square foot of your commercial space is maximized. Just determine your needs, ditch the paper, let the light in, and invest in portable furniture—and you are all set in your start-up office space journey.