Is it time to move out of the basement, garage, or spare room?

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If your startup is on the right track, looking into new office space might be your next step. Setting up an office space is a meaningful thing. It symbolizes that you are ready to take your business to the next level.

So what’s the office situation among other startups right now?

According to TheSquareFoot survey, 46% of startups already have their own office space; 29% are renting desks in another company’s office and 14% are operating from home or public spaces (your nearest Starbucks that is).

Among those without an office yet, 68% of companies say that the cost and location are determinant for choosing their headquarters, which certainly comes as no surprise.

Yet securing a great piece of real estate is just half of the deal. Turing those bare walls into a cosy, productive team space is the next obvious step. The data-driven tips below will help you do just that.

Create The Space You Need

Each startup team has unique needs when it comes to workspaces. Some teams work well in big, open, collaborative spaces. Others need very well defined work areas and privacy. Think about your organisation’s current work style.

Do you tend to huddle up together around a table, or retreat to your own spaces when it comes time to get things done? This should influence the space that you pick, and how you lay out work areas.

Also, the glorified open office concept is no longer favored by most companies and employees. In fact, it was proven that open office plans actually decrease the team’s productivity and increase the number of sick days your average employee takes.  

Hence, consider the alternatives such as Activity-Based Working (ABW) environments that offer a happy combo of the open office spaces with more private task-oriented spaces. According to Harvard Business Review, the most productive work environments feature a range of spaces – an ecosystem – that enables employees to choose when and how they get their job done.

Plan For Growth

You’ve already grown enough that moving into your own office is on the table. Don’t pick a space you are going to outgrow too quickly. After all, it costs between $5,000 to $10,000 to move a 30-person office.

Also read: Did Starbucks miss the co-working boat?

In addition to this, consider possible growth when designing the infrastructure for you  new location. For example, office furniture is pricey. In addition to that, resale value is pretty low. You might be better off leasing certain items, and then including an option in your contract to upgrade.

When it comes to your technology infrastructure, growth potential also matters. Ideally, you should strike a balance between the size and power. Here’s a quick example – instead of buying a wireless router, opt for a wireless modem router instead. The same is true when selecting servers, and other tech resources.  Get more than you need initially need to have enough room for expansion without further investment.

Remember to Consider The Environment

It’s important to be eco-friendly whenever we can.

This is also true for creating your new office space. According to a study conducted by The National Institute of Environmental Health Studies, the cognitive performance of employees working in “green” offices were 61% higher compared to peers working in the traditional environments.

Specifically, the largest improvements were observed in the following areas:

  • Up to 131% higher crisis response.
  • Up to 288% strategic decision making.
  • Overall information usage improved by 172%-299%.

The numbers speak for themselves. If you want to make your team more efficient, it’s worth improving the indoor environment quality. Invest in a proper ventilation system, energy efficiency and use more natural materials on the premises.

You might also consider shopping around for companies that make eco-friendly office furniture. These companies often use recycled materials, or they source materials in a way that lessens the environmental impact.

Finally, remember that your own resource use has an impact. You could pick up a cooler and keep bottled water on hand, for example. However, you could also install a filter on the office sink and throw away much less plastic.

Consider Branding

Even if you will never bring customers into your space, you must consider branding when you set up your new office. Studies have previously proved that a strong employer brand results in a better work attitude from employees and increases their loyalty.

Some of the branding best practices here are the following:

  • Pick colors that reflect your brand and use them around the premises.
  • Think about decor items that can identify and reinforce your brand e.g. a chess board if your company does a lot of strategic planning.
  • Experiment with Feng Shui – the Chinese philosophy of organising space to leverage the natural energy around your space.

There’s no doubting that creating a workspace that is uniquely designed for the needs of your team is exciting. However, there is also a lot of effort and planning that goes into these endeavors. By considering cost, comfort, environment, growth, and branding  you should be able to create a great space.



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