As a teenager, I remember looking at where all the “grown ups” work and I was horrified. Their offices were terrible places with sterile work stations, fluorescent lighting, lots of clutter, dull furnishings and an overwhelming feel of depression.
Now, thankfully, offices are changing to look less like an “office” and more like a comfortable, diverse living environment. Today’s ideal offices are decluttered, light filled, and full of greenery. Setting up an office should be anchored on providing a place employees would want to be in, a place to feel relaxed yet productive and a place that promotes health and wellbeing.
As an entrepreneur setting up an office, you have to think about location, size, accessibility and of course, cost. Although you may have a tight budget, there are a number of elements you should consider to ensure a happy, productive and profitable workplace.
Menu of spaces
Try to create a workspace that has a range of individual spaces. For instance, a well-equipped kitchen and dining space, a team space, ergonomic private spaces and at least one sound proof meeting room. Employees need to have different places to work to help foster creative thinking and to differentiate individual work, social time, collaborative work and meetings.
Have you heard of the sick-building syndrome? It’s where a building’s infrastructure and materials can make people physically ill. This is mostly caused by poor ventilation, bad air conditioners or faulty heating. Try to ensure your office is well ventilated, has multiple windows and that there is no water damage to the carpets that could cause respiratory illness.
I strongly suggest having plants in your office. There are a number of species that are suitable for indoor environments including Rubber Trees, Peace Lilies and Ficus. As well as looking great, they help clean the air around you. My preference is an herb garden or even something a bit more substantial if you have an outdoor space. We’re about to grow tomatoes and basil on the balcony of our office so we can make our own salad at our next team BBQ.
An office with an abundance of natural light will not only save you in electricity, but will create a healthy environment and can foster the growth of your office plants. Light also stimulates creativity and creates a positive environment as well as providing a connection to the outdoors – something that is highly valued in Australia.
Buy the best quality you can afford when it comes to office furniture and spend money on the things you notice most. Good quality ergonomic desk chairs are a must. Most chairs come with warranties and a service agreement and by buying a good chair you are investing in your future.
Keep it tidy
Keep your office as tidy as possible especially when it comes to technology, cables, storage and paper. Clutter is stressful as well as unhealthy – cockroaches and other insects love office mess.
setting up an office is a huge undertaking, and it can be easy to forget the finer details in choosing the right office. However, to get the most out of your business venture, an office that looks great aesthetically and promotes health and wellbeing is essential.
Angela Ferguson, Managing Director, Futurespace