You secured funding. Or maybe you are hitting your stride and seeing an increase in revenue. Either way, you are ready to leave your apartment, old office, or coworking space, and move into new space that fits your growing team. Your team is likely excited about the move and so it’s important that you match their excitement in the design of the space.
You’re paying a lot each month – don’t mistakenly put minimal effort into truly making the space your own. The idea is to maximize your investment in the physical space by creating a layout and design that will excite employees and optimize your team’s success. Here are some tips we’ve gathered through helping other startups pimp out their new space.
Draw a quick blueprint – You aren’t a professional decorator or office designer, but if you can’t afford to hire your own, try your best to physically sketch out how you envision the new office layout. This includes room-specific measurements so that you can make informed furniture purchasing decisions. This will also help you to list out all the items you need to fill the space (an exact number of desks, chairs, conference tables, lighting/lamps, artwork, etc.) and how much space you have leftover for more creative ideas.
Map your budget – Every company has a unique budget that they need to account for when making purchases for the office. It is critical to research and plan price ranges for furniture and office design ahead of time. Create a spreadsheet with maximum and minimum spend you are willing to make on each purchase, and tally & adjust the budget accordingly as you start to spend. That way, you can understand where you can splurge, and where & when you need to look for low-cost options.
Invest in the basics – As a startup, compromises are a daily expectation to move your business forward, and at some point your company’s budget will require cutbacks, especially when it comes to aspects of your office design. However, there are certain office items you won’t want to cheap out on such as chairs and desks. Depending on your type of business, your team will spend countless hours sitting in them daily, weekly, monthly, and hopefully yearly. Uncomfortable and cheap furniture that falls apart is a waste of money. Do research on quality furniture that will matter to your team. Need help finding quality furniture on a specific budget?
Get your team involved – Nothing is more invigorating for a small team than being involved and having a say in certain aspects of the business. From a culture perspective, polling or surveying the team on design aspects can go a long way. For instance, would team members prefer stand up desks? A ping pong or foosball table? Letting your staff weigh in on design decisions creates a rewarding team environment and ensures that you are purchasing the right options for your team.
Personalize the space – Aside from incorporating your branding into paint colors, etc., you can go a step further to tell your company story in your office space. All business founders and teams have unique back stories – histories that have gotten them to where they are today. Most are positive learning experiences and become legendary tales told by early team members. Bringing those memories into a new office can be as easy as a framed photo of your first office, or as complex as a historic mural of your company timeline. Further, your team is unlike any other team – enable them to show their personality, character & creativity throughout the office to reveal what makes your team different (think whiteboards, chalkboards, etc.). Need hookups to solutions that will personalize your space?
Don’t overlook quiet space – Many startups opt for open office layouts when purchasing space. It encourages collaboration, sharing, and accountability amongst a small team. However, some individuals require some form of quiet when coding, writing or just generally cranking on their work. Minimizing noise and distractions at times enables focus and speed, and decreases mistakes. Whether it’s a sanctioned part of the open office space just surrounded by bookshelves and plants, or a conference room turned quiet retreat, it’s important to offer this as a place for people to get away while working.
Keep it clean & organized – Create a culture from the beginning that demands that your team respect the space and belongings of the office. Not only does a tidy & clean office profoundly improve the look of the space, it also creates a healthy environment – mentally and physically – for employees.
Work hard, then play – Startups are often overly focused on the soft perks – beer, snacks, play rooms, etc. Make sure your space is equipped to produce quality work first and foremost. Are there conference rooms to conduct business meetings and new employee interviews? Quiet spaces where the sales team can make sales calls? Solid wi-fi connections and printing capabilities? Don’t overlook the basics – get everything you need in place before you start thinking about the fun stuff. Need work hard & play hard essetials? We can hook you up.
Leverage your real estate agent – Your real estate agent can do more than sell you office space. These professionals have the lay of the land when it comes to which spaces are open, and which spaces will be open soon. Use your real estate agent’s knowledge and connections to see office spaces and designs that will inspire your own. Also, ask your real estate agent if he or she knows of any startups upgrading or moving, and subsequently getting rid of furniture. Quality hand-me-downs are hard to come by and a great way to save money. Another good way to go about this is to hire a furniture broker to find you the best deals. Need a real estate agent?
Make it a place employees want to be – When creating your office space, always consider how your employees will live in this space day in and day out. You want them to be comfortable, inspired, rewarded, motivated, and successful, so create environments that aim to foster these feelings. Do research, ask questions of other startups and founders, and get quotes on office additions and layouts that will make your company stand out. This will all help with employee retention and recruitment.
Startups are revolutionizing what we know of corporate America – evolving the concept of a “9-5 worker” to a valued team member contributing to the success of the business through solid results and get-it-done camaraderie. The typical office environment has changed drastically as a result, and it’s up to you and other leaders of a business to make these important decisions impacting the culture.
If you are interested in the resources and special offers we have available to startups looking for new office space, contact us today. The VENTUREAPP network will hook it up for you.