With the continued increase in real estate prices and companies looking for ways to save money, it’s no wonder that office sizes are shrinking. Find ways to maximize your use of office space to maintain productivity. Your office work environment has a direct impact on how you feel throughout the day, but you can maximize your office with the addition of modern furnishings.
Create Spaces for Chance Meetings
Some of the best ideas come from conversations on the way to the copy machine. Take advantage of those chance meetings by creating comfortable open lounge areas where employees can chat. Instead of metal tables and chairs near the coffee machine, create a coffee bar with a host of snacks that attract even the finickiest coffee connoisseur. Arrange a sectional sofa and plush accent chairs together with a small coffee table in the center to serve as a place to have lunch or go on break. Add a few ottomans that serve double time as extra seating, or opt for storage ottomans to hold books and magazines. Mount a chalkboard or a white board on a nearby wall for brainstorming sessions. In offices with a fun company culture, provide a wall-mounted flat screen with a gaming console for friendly competition among colleagues.
If you’re worried about space, convert a spare room into a company sitting room or transform the break room into a warm, inviting meeting space. Take inventory on areas of your business that aren’t being used, and think about how you can make those spaces operational. For home offices, consider how you can transform your spare room into a small business centre.
Consider an Active Workspace
Staying mobile while at work has health benefits, making you feel more alert throughout the day. One way to accomplish this is to remove traditional stationary workstations, and replace them with modern adjustable or stand-up desks. Adjustable desks allow you to sit when you get tired and stand when you need some activity.
It’s also possible to place stand-up stations in conference areas. Stand-up meetings keep groups engaged and may improve group productivity. Individuals who use stand-up work stations tend to feel more engaged and less territorial, which makes them more likely to encourage group participation and the sharing of ideas.
If you prefer a conference table in your meeting space, choose a large oval or rectangular table that places everyone facing one another in the centre of the room to encourage the sharing of ideas. If you have to stick with a traditional desk, consider adding a rocking footstool to keep the legs moving to prevent stiff muscles.
Open Floor Plan
Utilize a large room with an open office floor plan. An open office reduces the number of emails, phone calls, and messages between employees, because everyone is within reach. It’s also easier to approach others with ideas when you work in the same area daily, which fosters collaboration. Consider glass-top tables with metal frames pushed up together to accommodate two users, or consider two-person desks with rolling drawers that slide underneath and out of the way for increased storage.
Brighten the Area With Glass Walls
Another way to create an open floor plan is to opt for glass walls instead of closed-off cubicles. Glass walls promote transparency and make it easier for employees to one another, including management. They also brighten up the work area, which can also brighten a person’s mood.
Glass walls are thin and less bulky than traditional partitions, so they create bigger work areas and leave more space for employees to interact or arrange furniture.
Ergonomic seating options
Most employees have to sit for long hours, so upgrade standard task chairs to ergonomic chairs. Instead of leather or fabric, consider a more modern mesh. Mesh is breathable, keeping you cooler on warm days. It offers maximum support and is easy to clean. Mesh chairs come in an array of options, including lumbar supports, height adjustments, and adjustable arms.
Whether your company is a start-up with limited working capital or a small business looking for ways to cut costs, consider sharing rent with another small company or several and splitting the rent. As of 2015, Canada had 94 coworking spaces across the provinces. Most co-working spaces offer membership-based work areas where groups of diverse companies work together in a shared space. These areas often feature:
- Shared weekly cleaning duties
- Semi-private meeting rooms
- Plush furniture
- Gourmet in-house cafes
- Functional kitchens
- Private desks
- Private offices for single entrepreneurs
- Decorate meeting rooms
- A workout room
- Individual IT setups
Choosing Storage Options
All offices have storage needs. If you’ve opted for an open floor plan, you still need room to store company documents, research materials, and supplies. Consider tall bookcases and vertical files with small footprints but plenty of room. Floating shelves let you display art or keepsakes without taking up valuable floor space.
Modern furniture with clean lines and sleek designs help you get the most out of your office work environment. Consider a minimalist design that provides plenty of room to move around and reduces distractions. The goal is to keep employees connected by adding pieces that encourage conversations and mobility.