Relocating your business to new premises can be a disruptive, time consuming and costly affair so before you uproot your organisation, see if you can reinvent your existing office space with these simple but effective tips.
It may not be possible for your business to go totally paperless, but you can dramatically reduce the amount of storage space dedicated to housing archives, contracts, records or paper supplies by going digital.
Cloud-based IT systems and mobile devices can help you free up office space by removing server rooms and reduce the cost of consumables. Better yet, it can increase efficiency by making it possible for employees to compile or access files online from anywhere, ensure data is secure from damage, theft or loss with encryption and make your operations more environmentally friendly.
Go open plan
Walls and partitions in traditional offices may provide secluded spaces for employees, but they take up space, block natural light and make interiors feel smaller than they actually are.
Open plan working in modern offices is known to contribute to productive and collaborative work practices and a more amenable atmosphere so, if you can, remove partitions. By opening up the space you will be able to reconfigure the layout of your office and maximise every available inch of it.
For the quiet workspaces that help employees to concentrate on specific tasks, you can still create an open plan environment by replacing old walls and room dividers with glass panels and partitions. This will also help natural light flow around the office, reducing the need for artificial light.
Formal meeting rooms which are underutilised and wasting precious office space should be removed and replaced with a range of meeting spaces which are multi-purpose – great for informal quick meetings, quiet working or a break from your desk.
Key to these areas are innovative office furniture and fittings which can be quickly and easily reconfigured to create truly multipurpose areas. To maximise wellbeing, why not install standing tables to help ensure meetings are energetic and quick.
Giving dedicated desks for people who only work part of the week in the office not only wastes floor space, but it also creates office ghettos with little atmosphere as, on some days, the few remaining members of staff rattle around a near empty floor.
By providing staff with lockers to store their paperwork and possessions, you can replace permanent desks with hot desks, freeing up space to create new multi-purpose areas which, in turn, can be used by those people who use to have permanent desks as well as transient workers.
It may seem counter-intuitive to add coat racks, lockers, under-desk pedestals, shelves or cupboards to a small workspace but a tidy, organised office feels more spacious, helps staff to locate items they need quickly and efficiently and creates a good impression on your visitors.
Storage is one office component you can afford to be bold and creative with and a good interior designer will be able to help you identify unique storage solutions for your premises.
Cluttered desktops, cupboards and walkways contribute to any office environment feeling small but this is easily remedied by installing recycling bins and incentivising personnel to keep their own work areas clean and tidy.
Don’t tie up valuable office space with dedicated meeting rooms that go for long periods unused, free up that space by taking meetings or work tasks offsite. Companies such as Office Space in Town have a range of striking meeting rooms including ones inspired by Lewis Carroll near Waterloo.
Giving employees the freedom and flexibility to work from home or in one of the many meeting rooms or hot-desk facilities now widely available across the UK gives them a break from the office, which can save space and overhead costs and actually stimulate their creativity.
By Ian Mackenzie, Project Director, Peldon Rose