Most of us spend far more hours than we would actually like in our offices staring at computer screens and trying to finish that big project before the deadline. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in an office space that doesn’t inspire creative thought and productivity. No one can work to their best standards while confined to a dull grey box with no windows, no light and no personality.
It’s super important to set up your work environment to suit your business needs and to promote positive work attitudes from your colleagues. A few simple decorations, furniture choices and work habits can make a huge difference to the productivity of the team and make coming to work something you actually look forward to.
This is particularly beneficial to startups that are currently working out of an office the size of a shoebox. There’s no need to feel claustrophobic and like you’re working in a fish tank. Even the smallest of spaces can be fantastic areas to work in if you just follow a few very simple steps.
Here are some of our fave ideas, solutions and tips on how you can make your office space somewhere you actually want to come to every day! Get your employees skipping out their door in the morning!
1. Add some colour
It is amazing what a difference a splash of paint can do to a room. Just be careful with your colour choice – no one really wants to sit in a spearmint green room all day. Think back to the 90s and just go for a simple feature wall – teal blue seems to be popular at the moment.
2. Choose the right furniture to suit the room
Select your desks, chairs and cupboards to suit the size and style of the room. Bulky boardroom chairs won’t fit in a cupboard-sized office so perhaps go for a smaller option. Measure the room before you go to IKEA so you know how many Billy bookshelves you can actually fit in the space without having to lose a team member.
3. Store items off-site
If your business owns lots of additional equipment that you don’t use every day but need to have access to, then consider hiring an external storage space. Some storage companies will even collect the items for you – LOVESPACE will collect, store and deliver your belongings so you don’t have to worry about transport.
4. Keep things tidy
A tidy office is a happy office. Make sure you have plenty of storage options and have regular cleanouts to keep your office space free of clutter. There’s a reason why your mother always told you to clean your room – now listen to her wise words and keep your office neat and tidy.
5. Paperless office
With global warming becoming an ever-increasing problem, it is necessary for everyone to focus on living and working more sustainably. One simple step that any business can take is to avoid printing and stick to electronic documents. Not only will this mean we’re using less paper and saving the trees, but your office also won’t fill up with piles of paper files that you never look at anyway.
6. Bring out the decorations
A change is as good as a holiday and decorating your office for Christmas/Easter/Talk Like a Pirate Day will not only add some sparkle to the room but also be a great team bonding experience. Every office needs a bit of tinsel, right?
7. Create a designated hang out zone
Being able to escape your computer for half an hour to take a break and stop thinking about how to fix that PHP code is critical for maintaining sanity. Creating a space where everyone in the office can relax, chat and hang out is a great way to boost morale in the office and (perhaps surprisingly) increase productivity.
8. Remember to eat
While it may not be practical (or affordable) for all offices to head out for lunch together every day, brains cannot function properly without regular fuel. Encourage everyone in the office to take some time out for lunch and stock the kitchen with plenty of healthy snacks. Having a fruit basket delivered to your office once a week is a great initiative that will keep your colleagues fed and getting their recommended two-a-day.
9. Get out of the office
No one enjoys being stuck in an office all day, particularly on those rare summer days when the sun decides to come out. If you need a break and are lacking creative inspiration, head outside for some fresh air with a quick walk in the park or take your laptop to a nearby café. A change of scenery can spark brand new ideas and increase productivity.
10. Add a touch of green
Studies have shown that having plants in your workspace can reduce stress and sickness and increase productivity. Plus they just look so pretty! Add some green foliage to your workspace – just remember to water them.
11. Keep things light
No one really wants to work in a dark bat cave and having adequate lighting is important to a happy workplace. Large windows with natural sunlight are always best but if you can’t afford a fancy warehouse loft office then buy some nice lamps to place on desks. Buy some spare bulbs while you’re at it. White wall paint also helps to keep things bright and cheerful.
12. Sweets jar
We’ve heard the rumours that sugar is bad for you but we choose to ignore these malicious stories at around 3pm when our brains switch off and all we want to do is check Facebook and maybe go to sleep. That’s where a mini Mars Bar or a handful of peanut M&Ms come in handy. And having them in reach of your desk is just time efficient!
13. Afterwork fun times
Socialising with your workmates is part of being a happy and hardworking team. Dedicating time to going out for a drink to get to know your colleagues outside of work may help you work together better as a team.
It doesn’t always have to involve too many beers at your local pub – go check out a movie, try that new restaurant down the road or play a social sport.
14. Sponsor a charity
Having a positive goal that everyone in the office is working towards is a great way to bond as a team. Choose a charity that you all feel passionate about and work out how you can raise money or volunteer your time and skills. Not only is this a great team-building opportunity, but it is also a positive way that you can all grow as individuals.
15. Flexible working hours
The normal 9 to 5 working hours are very old fashioned and don’t necessarily correlate with when individuals work to their greatest capacity. Working in a small office environment often offers the exciting opportunity of having flexibility in the hours that everyone works. Unless you have important meetings or pressing deadlines, allowing your coworkers to work the hours that best suit them will make them more productive.
Surrounding yourself with images, sayings and miniature figurines of your favourite cartoon characters can help inspire creativity in your work and make your office environment a more pleasant place to spend most of your life in. Allow your colleagues to decorate their desks and workspaces so that they can be constantly surrounded by things that make them smile.
17. Have an ideas board
Providing a space to capture the exciting professional and social ideas that develop in daily chat amongst your team is a great idea to keep your office vibe fun and forward-thinking. Whether it’s a plan for future business development or just “Try new pub down the road”, no idea is a bad idea.
18. Encourage the use of headphones
Not everyone enjoys listening to hardcore heavy metal or Mariah Carey’s greatest hits, so if you or your colleagues want to listen to music while working, wear headphones so no one else has to put up with your preference in tunes.
19. Have a shared calendar
Knowing what your colleagues are working on, when they’re away on holiday and who is responsible for emptying the bins that week will make for a much smoother office environment. Set up a shared calendar (either online or you could try and old school paper version) and keep it up to date with important deadlines, birthdays and ‘team bonding sessions’.
20. Celebrate milestones
As a small team it is important to recognise the achievements you make as an office – whether it is winning and completing a big job, having an office anniversary or just being generally awesome at what you do. Celebrating your achievements will create a positive office vibe and keep you all looking forward to the next challenges that await.