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Sometimes businesses can grow almost on their own. All it needs is one product or service that takes off and before you know it you’ve got a booming venture. Even if started as a casual side-hustle, if your product is popular, priced well and your customer service is good, word soon gets round.
When this happens, you need to do some streamlining so you can work efficiently, whether alone or when you hire people to help. With the right working space, you’ll get better collaboration, concentration, creativity, and production.
Your workspace is all important, so here are a few ideas that might help you nurture the business that’s growing.
Go Open Plan
This style of office can improve your workflow whether you’re alone or working with others. Communication is easier when there are no barriers and it can help everyone feel connected and part of the team, rather than being shut off in their own cubicle or closed room.
When you’re designing an open plan layout, try grouping desks together in twos or fours, facing each other so idea-swapping or conversation is easier. Maintain clear pathways between desks but avoid making the office feel like a classroom with desks in rows.
For the sole trader, a large, open plan area helps you see your complete workflow, helping you move smoothly from one process to the next.
Give people (or yourself) working options, such as incorporating standing desks, ergonomic furnishings, comfortable seating for breaks and maybe a quiet area for more focused work. Having choices stimulates creativity and idea generation, but it also promotes a sense of well-being and physical health. As before, this applies as much to yourself as it does to anyone working with you.
In the workspace itself, use vertical storage with shelving units for equipment, stationery, or tools. Modular cabinets can also work well since they’re customisable to the shape of your office and the space available.
If you have lots of stock or equipment you don’t use all the time, consider business self storage. You can keep all your expensive stock or gear securely locked away until you need it without having to make room in the office or work room.
Rest or Break Areas
Being able to move away from your desk when you take a break makes a huge difference in the working day. You don’t need much space for one or two comfy seats placed away from workstations or desks. If there’s room, you could also have a reading nook with magazines or books, even games consoles for a complete escape from work during longer breaks. Add a few cushions and art to make it a calming, break-away area. You’ll return to work feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.
Incorporate Biophilic Design
This is just really a fancy term for the concept of bringing nature and natural elements into indoor spaces. We follow biophilic design naturally to some extent with house plants, but by being more mindful about what you’re trying to create, you can take it a step further. As well as potted plants, think about living walls (using vertical planters), stone surfaces or sculptures, and maybe small water features. Let as much natural light into your working space as possible, being mindful to protect against screen glare or the possibility of fading delicate materials.
The benefits of spending time in nature are well documented, and while biophilic elements in your office design can’t really compete with a walk in the woods, it can help reduce stress levels and even boost creativity.
One thing we haven’t talked about when you’re growing a business is the premises you’ll operate out of. If you’re at the point where you need more than your home setup can provide, you’ll have done a bit of research into rented offices. And probably been a bit shocked at the prices and terms.
If you haven’t already, look again at flexible offices that don’t have long contracts and don’t have hidden extra costs like business rates or VAT. The additional attractions of this type of rented space are its scalability plus proximity to business storage should you need it.
Other things to think about are parking, delivery access, security, travel links and location. Flexible offices can usually trump other offerings in those aspects.
Only you can know exactly what you need to help your business grow, but one or two of these ideas might get you thinking along creative and positive lines. They’re equally applicable whether you’re trying to sort stuff out just for yourself, or you’re on the verge of larger, rented offices with a few employees to help.