YourBusinessWithJamesCaan2016 - 203

OFFICE SPACE

P

lenty of small business owners can
forget about the importance of a
properly kitted-out office space. For
most of you, the office is one of the
places where you spend most of your
time, winning new business, negotiating
and building your brand. So it is vital to
establish a set-up that helps productivity
thrive, as well as being a space that works
efficiently and where you and your
potential workers feel happy. Whether it
is an entirely new space or you're
fine-tuning an existing area, planning is
essential. We look at the best ways to
build a solid foundation for your office.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT

When planning it, don't just think about
your opinion, think about how your
employees and your clients will view the
space, too. What does your office say
about you and your company? Is it
inviting while also being tidy and
efficient? Try to create a welcoming and
warm space. Start with the entrance,
ensuring you have suitable branding and
that the area is clean and accessible.
Don't leave your clients standing by the
door, either! If possible offer a reception
area, but even just providing a seat, a
magazine and water will help.

WORDS: JADE HARDING | PHOTOGRAPHY: SHUTTERSTOCK

COLOURWAYS

The colour of your working environment
should mirror the job you do to a certain
extent. A neutral colour suits more
conservative occupations such as
banking or law, while vibrant tones are
more suited to creative groups like
photographers and designers. If you
want to look at this in more detail, check
out the 'colour affects system', a theory
that looks at how shades and tones can
alter your mood. Yellow is said to be
inspiring, while green is calming. Think
about what your staff need. Always
incorporate your logo in the decor too -
brand identity is important.

MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICES
WITH FURNITURE

You don't need a conference table if you
haven't got a meeting room to put it in.
It is very easy to buy unnecessarily when
you're setting up. Purchase the basics
and you can always get more later if

needed. A good chair, however, is
essential. It helps maintain productivity
and reduces the risk of injury or pain.
Buy adjustable options that are big
enough for all your employees. A
standard height desk is another basic
item. When shopping try to stay cost
effective. Buy pieces one at a time rather
than in sets and don't get hung up on
trying to match everything - this will
usually increase costs and most people
won't even notice.

STAY ORGANISED

Keep to a functional layout. Store
frequently used equipment and files in
easy to reach places. Create good storage
areas so everything has a home. This will
reduce clutter and seat employees who
work together near one another to avoid

Think about colour
- it can influence
the way people
think and feel and
help productivity
without upping cost
shouting and constant wandering. Make
sure you tidy your things away and try to
stick to a sorting system that works for
the whole team.

DON'T OVERLOOK
ERGONOMIC ISSUES

Back pain, eye strain and carpal tunnel
syndrome can drain productivity so
ergonomic design shouldn't be seen as a
cost but an investment. Research the
proper placements for monitors,
keyboards and other pieces of furniture.
Try not to cut costs on things that
matter, such as good quality chairs (see
over) and, if needed, purchase extra
items such as keyboard trays and

track-ball mice that will make the best
working set-up for your team.

DON'T MIX WORK
WITH PERSONAL

Although it is nice to have a small
amount of personal items around you,
your space can easily become infested
with distractions. Try to stick to one
photo and a plant. Steer clear of TVs and
game consoles - more targeted to home
offices - and maintain a clear boundary
between chill zones and areas of work.

KEEP IT GREEN

Creating a happy office can be done with
the smallest of details. First off invest in
good lighting. For paperwork and
computers go for a mid illumination.
Although hard to gauge you should
ensure it isn't bright enough to cause
glare while not too dim that you have to
strain to see. Have as much natural light
as possible. Plants are important too.
Studies show that foliage can boost
productivity by 15% as well as absorbing
the pollutants that come out of
computers and reducing dust. Mood
boards and creative boosters (even if it is
just a doodle pad) will help to inspire
employees, too.

KEEP ON TOP OF YOUR TECH

A major source of frustration in the
workplace are technical problems. Equip
yourself with the systems you need to
efficiently produce your best work. This
isn't the place to save on money. Don't
hold on to gadgets that you no longer
need, update your virus software and
pay for experts to do regular
maintenance checks if you are not
technically minded.

STAY SAFE

You have a legal requirement to protect
the health and safety of your team. Be
sure to check the health and safety
regulations when equipping your office
and keep your eye on even the most
minor things that could cause problems.
Ensure wires don't become trip hazards,
keep walkways clear and create space
where you can to avoid accidents. And
make sure there are decent kitchen
facilities, everyone will want a cuppa!

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