Setting Up a New Office? A Guide for Start-up Businesses

Opening the doors to your new office space sounds like a very exciting prospect, especially if you’re setting it up from scratch. However, when you face the blank canvas of an empty space and the task of filling it, the list of equipment and supplies can quickly become overwhelming. There’s absolutely no reason why stocking an office won’t be a fun project, but it needs careful consideration, planning, and a budget to ensure your business has everything in place. A well-supplied and designed office will enable your team to work efficiently and will show clients, customers, and partners; you are a professional organization they can trust.

This guide includes a list of furniture, equipment, and office supplies that you need to consider, but they are not necessarily essential for every business. In addition, it’s important to remember when you’re budgeting that not everything needs to be bought new. Try used furniture and equipment which is still in good condition and try to arrange discounts with suppliers of the items you’ll need in bulk.

Imagine Your Typical Day

When you have the measurements of your new space, it’s often best to start to imagine a typical day at the office for both you and your staff. What, in an ideal world, will the space enable your team to do during the day?

This planning obviously includes considering where they will sit down to perform the tasks and processes required in their roles, but you also need to think about their downtime. Is there a kitchen area where employees can store and prepare drinks and lunch? Where will they store their bags, coats, and other belongings during the day? Is there an indoor and/or outdoor space which can be used for breaks? Where are the toilet facilities? Depending on the nature of your business, you may also need somewhere to receive clients, have meetings, store inventory, and process or receive shipments.

Make a sketch of the office space and mark where you envisage these activities taking place. If there isn’t an obvious space for something, you may need to do some reorganization. If you own the space, you may need to make some structural and layout changes by consulting with an architect.

Choose Practical, Comfortable & Stylish Furniture

When the space is laid out as you need it, the next stage is to consider the furniture you need to find. Office furniture should be well-designed for comfort and to ensure employees can use it regularly without causing injury to themselves. Chairs should be adjustable for height and provide sufficient support to prevent discomfort or back injuries. Many businesses are now investing in sitting/standing desks, which can be raised or lowered depending on the user’s height and preferences. These desks enable employees to stand while they work, which has been shown to have health benefits and prevent employees from being in the same position all day.

Of course, you’ll probably want to find furniture and an office layout which gives the correct impression and looks attractive. Most companies choose an open plan layout rather than cubicles to promote communication and collaboration. Fewer partitions and barriers also enable more natural light to permeate the office. However, if your employees need to make phone calls regularly, cubicles may be the better option in terms of maintaining privacy. It’s also harder to be distracted from a task when you have a degree of separation from the activities going on around you.

Your office is likely to require desks and chairs for each employee, tables and chairs for the break room, filing and storage cabinets, bookshelves, shelving, tables for printers, photocopiers and/or fax machines. If you receive partners, consultants, clients, or customers at your premises, you may also want to add a reception desk and waiting room chairs or sofas. You may also need kitchen appliances and facilities such as a kettle, coffee maker, drinking water dispenser, fridge, sink, and microwave.

Technology and Communication Systems

Each employee will probably need a PC or laptop to work from. The more sophisticated your technology and communication systems, the more efficiently your business will be able to operate, but that doesn’t mean you need to break the bank by installing unnecessary technology. While in the past it would have been necessary to have a physical phone on each employee’s desk, it’s now possible to use mobile phones and virtual extensions.

Paperless offices can plan store business files and data virtually on the cloud, so no physical documents or confidential information needs to be in a filing cabinet. You may also find that you only need a small basic printer and photocopier to cope with your output. If you need to present to shareholders, clients, or colleagues, you may want to consider installing a projector or a TV screen in the meeting area.

Don’t forget about the accessories such as spare computer mice, monitors, keyboards, mousepad, USBs and adapters, monitor-mounting arms, document holders, and screen wipes.

Stationery and Supplies

From day one, your office is going to need to traditional supply of stationery and supplies, even if you are a paperless office. This includes the items which will enable your printers and photocopiers to run such as toner and ink cartridges, several types of paper, notepads, pens, pencils, paper clips, sticky notes, sticky labels, hole-punches, staplers and staples, envelopes, files and folders, pins, erasers, tape, etc. You’re likely to need a regular supplier of these items and price is going to be crucial to keep costs to a minimum. Take a look at Cartridge People for competitive prices on essential office supplies.

See Also: Toilet seats are even MORE hygienic than a tea bag in office: Research

First Aid Kit

Accidents can happen anywhere, and this is why it’s essential to have an emergency first aid kit in the office. Depending on the nature of your business’ activities and regulations in your local area, you may be required to have more complex equipment on the premises such as a resuscitation or defibrillation kit. Everyone in the company should know the location of the first aid supplies and, as a minimum, this should include: bandages, gauze pads, medical adhesive tape, tweezers, gloves, scissors, blanket, antiseptic wipes.

Last But Not Least… Interior Design

Once all the essentials are in place, you can focus on the aesthetics and overall design of the office. Your office space doesn’t need to blank or neutral as it should represent your brand’s personality. Use your logo colors and a theme which suits your industry and company vision. You can express this through artwork, wall colors, carpets or flooring, lighting, clocks, rugs, sculptures, and plants. The key is consistency, so you may want to consult a professional interior designer for advice.

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