Img: Woodalls Design 
For any business to be successful an appropriate and functional workspace is a must, and this is arguably even more applicable to startups and small businesses. While you may not think of office design as a concern at this point given the small scale of the business and limited financial resources, we’re here to highlight why even on a tight budget, the layout, aesthetics and general design of your working environment is always worthy of thorough consideration, and offer advice on what you can do to make the most of your available resources.

So let’s start with the why. While as previously stated the design of the working environment is an important consideration for any businesses, startups tend to consist of small teams operating outside of traditional hierarchies in favour of a more collaborative approach, and as such it is important to create an environment that encourages socialisation and the sharing of ideas. Additionally, an aesthetically pleasing office will not only motivate the workforce within on a daily basis, but also improve the perception of clients and visitors alike as pertaining to your company, creating the instant impression of a successful business that is sure to only improve confidence in your newly-emerging brand.

Of course we know that budget is a priority for small businesses in particular, but there are positive steps you can take without breaking the bank, which we have outlined below.

1. Ensure the Ample Provision of Light, Air, and Space

Any frequent reader of this site will know that we have long encouraged businesses to make sure employees are given access to sufficient levels of natural light, fresh air, and space in which to move, given how crucial the aforementioned factors are to general health, wellbeing, and in turn productivity. This is of course true for startups as well, and generally the simplest way to achieve all of the above is to utilise an open-plan or semi-open-plan layout with plenty of windows.

Do be careful however when assigning space, as placing desks too far apart may have a negative effect on collaboration and thereby performance as a whole.

2. Think about Furniture

Quality is key; while it may be tempting to cheap out on your office furniture, viewing it as a necessary expense though of little importance, this would definitely be a mistake. For one cheap furniture will not save you money in the long run as it will need to be repaired or replaced far more often. Additionally a budget option will not provide the same support as a more-expensive counterpart and could negatively affect staff wellbeing as a result. This leads to an increase in absenteeism and a reduction in both productivity and quality of work.

Instead, opt for ergonomically-designed seating constructed with user wellbeing in mind. As an additional note choosing furniture made from sustainable resources may benefit your company in terms of perception, while providing the obvious benefit of a reduced carbon footprint.

3. Create Social & Collaborative Breakout Areas

As previously stated collaboration is often crucial to the success of many startups and SMEs, and one of the easiest ways to promote such beneficial behaviour is with the provision of breakout zones within the office environment. Such areas not only allow workers to relax and unwind, de-stressing them and thereby making them more productive when they return to work, they will also encourage socialisation which will help to form important working relationships. This open forum of discussion will also lead to the cultivation of ideas beneficial to the business as colleagues freely exchange ideas and discuss better methods of operating.

4. Incorporate Your Branding

By incorporating your brand into your office design, you will not only improve upon the sense of solidarity and inclusion that is so vital to the success of a fledgling company, but also create the impression to visitors and clients of a reputable company who are firmly established in their field, thereby improving upon trustworthiness.

It’s not all about plastering the walls with your company logo however, and a similar effect can be achieved via much more subtle means such as the incorporation of brand colours throughout the office environment.

5. Keep the Office Clean & Tidy

While this may not directly relate to design per se, a haphazard and disorganised office creates the impression of a haphazard and disorganised company. This is even more crucial to consider in small business as while large corporations may have the benefit or having working areas situated out-of-view behind closed doors, in many startup offices everything is in full view for all visitors to the premises.

Ensuring the provision of adequate storage space will be essential in making sure your office environment in tidy and presentable. On top of that, encourage your workforce to keep their desks clean and all rubbish cleared.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor as he continues to expand his horizons.
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