The decision to scale your business, hire employees and open an office is a big one. The investment is large, but successful businesses need this kind of investment to grow to the next stage. An office is a great way to provide your business with a professional image, increase the trust and credibility your customers have in you, make your business more accessible to clients and stakeholders, increase your capital, work more collaboratively with a growing team, and expand into new markets.
Opening an office comes with many tasks and challenges, from finding the right location, installing facilities, making it safe and secure, and ensuring your employees will be comfortable. To help you make the transition as smooth as possible, here are some top tips to help you get started.
The location of the office is vital. If you are expecting employees, customers and stakeholders to come into the office, then you must ensure the location is good. This includes somewhere that is accessible, close to public transport routes and main roads, and offers car parking. Make sure you are aware of your needs when looking for the right office, and determine your budget so that you don’t waste any time. If you work with a realtor, they will be able to assist you before you sign a lease. Make sure you plan for growth in your search for the perfect office location, as you don’t want to have to move again in a year or two. Lastly, make sure that the area you are looking at has good network providers. You don’t want to move in and realize that the internet is slow and you cannot work efficiently!
You will need to ensure that the office has good facilities or at least space (and building permission) for them to be installed after you sign the contracts. If you plan to make it a home for your employees and host important corporate meetings, then simple facilities such as a kitchen and toilets are important. It is also important to ensure that there is space for a break out/lunch area. Being able to provide your employees with a place to separate themselves from their work and take a break, can significantly improve productivity and happiness in the workplace and is therefore worth investing in.
It is a good practice to make your office as comfortable as possible for your employees. This will ensure they are happy, they work more efficiently and stay loyal to your business. Each employee will be spending a lot of time in the office, so providing small things, such as a comfortable environment, can go a long way. Starting with the furniture, ensure that you offer a desk and chair that is comfortable, practical and durable enough to withstand everyday wear-and-tear. Make sure each employee has enough personal space to feel comfortable, and perhaps allow them to customize their workspace to their preferences.
You can also consider the layout and the decor in the office. Colors have been shown to impact emotions, which means they can impact the way your employees work, and feel every day. Try to choose colors, or accessories that make employees feel comfortable, and perhaps motivate and inspire them. For example, yellow has been shown to help with creativity and blue and green to help with productivity and focus.
While the comfort of employees and individuals entering the office is key, their safety is just as important. You should ensure the layout of your office is organized in a way that keeps the space clear of tripping or falling hazards and accidents. You should regularly inspect the space to keep on top of any changes and analyze any areas that become a problem. Secure any large and heavy equipment in place, and keep wires tied down.
Depending on the industry you work in, you may need to take extra precautions. For example, if you run a healthcare facility or work with hazardous substances, you need to take steps that will eliminate risks to employees and patients. For example, by keeping a biohazard spill kit on hand.
You may also consider the security of your office and employees, especially if you hold sensitive information, and people are working on their own. Install security cameras, special locks, and even key fob access to the building.
It will depend on the industry that you work in, but there are still basic steps that every office environment should take, and stay on top of when working in an office. Remember that you are responsible for the health, safety, comfort and wellbeing of your employees, and any customers that enter the building.