It’s very easy when you’re starting out in business to imagine it’ll just be the three of you working from hammocks in your tiny, perfect Soho loft. If you need more office space you can just stick a mezzanine in or hold meetings in the local hipster cafe, right?
However, growth inevitably brings with it additional headcount and all manner of ‘stuff’ that cannot be got rid of, and so office space should feature heavily in any business plan. The word flexibility is never far from earshot when it comes to talking about business and premises and office space should be no exception.
Office Design, Growth & Flexibility
When you’re designing your office with growth in mind, it’s important to look at ways in which space can be reconfigured to accommodate differing team sizes.
OK, so you may be outsourcing your IT for the foreseeable future but what if that changes? Where are you going to house your eager app developers?
Perhaps you only work on small projects at the moment and never need to have more than five people in a room at any given time. When the opportunity for a huge contract lands are you going to say no because you haven’t got enough chairs to seat everybody?
At the same time, if it is just a few of you knocking ideas around every morning, you don’t want to be paying for a whole lot of extra office space you may or may not need in the future. This is why it’s important to have a good space plan, one which looks at the potential savings of creating more space earlier on.
Your workplace strategy should reflect your needs now and in the future. Who knows? If you design good workable space early on that you don’t need immediately, you can always rent it out to a like-minded smaller company.
It’s crucial to incorporate adaptable, flexible spaces into your present office design. These spaces can be used for ad-hoc meetings or general relaxation areas for existing staff but can also be re purposed as more formal workspace when necessary or for events and presentations.
Think carefully about your office furniture too. Once you have invested all your money in your latest technology or spent a fortune on the best talent, it might be tempting to skimp on the furniture budget.
But if you go for adaptable shapes (such as desks and seating that fit together in different ways) then you can ensure that however your space grows, your furniture can grow with it. Simply put, don’t buy a huge boardroom table that can only be used for one purpose and only fits in one space. A better option would be modular touchdown benches that can double as project spaces or lunch tables as well as being used to divide spaces.
Technology & Growth
When you’re planning for growth, it’s also important to ensure your IT will support the kind of work you’re likely to be doing in the future. It’s not always possible but detaching your infrastructure will mean your workforce can be more flexible and if the space changes, the IT set-up can change too. Though it’s an up-front cost, investing in mobile devices for staff will mean they – and you – can be more easily moved when the time comes.