Your office is where you will spend the majority of your working life. In fact, you are probably spending five out of seven days in the office, rather than at home. Beyond the staff, there are numerous customers, clients and other business people who are visiting your office.
Your workplace is a reflection of your startup, therefore you need to create the right impression. If you take some time, it is easy enough to create a welcoming and professional office. To do this, you should consider a few key areas, such as interior design, catering, layout and lighting.
1. Professional Workspace Vs Informal Communal Areas
Your office is primarily a workspace. Having enough desks and rooms with private offices, even in a small business, is a must. If your office looks crowded or disorganised, it won’t impress your visitors.
If you want to host meetings in-house, you will need a dedicated space catered to the kind of meeting it will be. A conference room with light refreshments, like tea, coffee and water, is appropriate and shows your professional side.
For customers, a separate room with more of a lounge setup will create a relaxed atmosphere, fostering open communication between you and your client.
An informal, lounge room for clients can double as a communal area for your team. Its important for everyone on staff to be able to get away from their designated work space. A communal room with casual seating and more homely decor will minimise stress and increase team bonding which fosters a more productive work ethic.
By dividing your work and meeting spaces, you will also minimise noise contamination. As quiet as each individual can be, once a few people are talking, on the phone or to other colleagues, the noise pollution can make it difficult for everyone.
2. Make a statement with a stylish rug
The interior design of your office might not be at the top of your list, but it should be. Creating a vibrant and inviting office is as important for your professional appearance as it is your daily comfort.
Contemporary rug designers Bazaar Velvet advise that “statement rugs are a fantastic way of bringing vitality to your workplace by breaking up the monotony of white walls with bold colours and soft textures.”
Related: Should You Choose a Closed or Open Office Layout?
Rugs can form the centrepoint of communal areas and meeting spaces, creating an inviting space. They should also be a reflection of your business, either in your business colours or with an artistic print that says something about your in-house style.
3. Balance lighting and natural light
Offices with lots of windows will have an advantage during the longer summer months, where plenty of daylight can enter the room and allow staff and visitors alike to enjoy the day. For the winter months, and those who don’t have as much access to natural light, the lighting options within the office are of great importance.
Having the brightest lights doesn’t mean the best visual perception. In fact the best practices for office lighting design frequently emphasise that, especially when computer screens are involved, having brighter lights only improves efficiency for complicated tasks. Low lighting is fine for simpler tasks, with brightness having less of an impact of your ability to work well.
Use mixed lighting sources in your office, namely:
- main lights – conventional main room lighting for daytime usage.
- desk lamps – good for extra light while working late, without having to waste energy on main lights.
- freestanding lamps – these are usually larger and can range from curved lamps that illuminate multiple desks to bright daylight bulbs that can be distributed to give light throughout a large room.
4. Relax clients with catering options
Catering is a smaller but not less important way to create an inviting office. At the very least, being able to offer a visiting customer or industry colleague a refreshment will break the ice and make them feel welcomed into your workplace.
Many small businesses and startups locate themselves in serviced office complexes. Having a communal cafeteria makes catering simple but shouldn’t stop you from having your own hot drink facilities.
A small business can feel a lot like a family, so why don’t enhance that with a homely area. If you want to be more self sufficient in your office then consider an office with a kitchenette. Having a sink, microwave, kettle and dining table can create another informal, communal space for staff to come together during lunch breaks.