How to plan the optimal office space for your SME

| January 17, 2019

Once your business grows from being an individual to an SME, it has joined an honorable group of enterprises that comprise more than 90% of businesses in the Western World (including Australia). Once your business grows too big for a singular office with few work desks, the time has finally come to “update” your work surroundings.

Once you’ve chosen the properly sized piece of real estate as your base of operations, the office design becomes a top priority, and here’s how to plan the optimal office space for your SME.

The right mindset

Choosing the space that will fulfill all the needs of your SME is the key part of the expansion of your business. In fact, this decision is a cornerstone with far-reaching consequences. It is also a signal to all of the employees – you are not only upgrading due to financial success, the obligatory bigger space also communicates that the team might be expanding very soon.

How comfortable, open and functional the space ends up being will also have a big impact on the communication between employees, as well as the communication between employees and executives. It’s a gargantuan feat that requires you to be both introspective and to keep a keen eye on practical matters. You need to satisfy your employees, the company’s mission and yourself.

First consider an open plan

An open plan can add a sense of grandiosity to any growing business. It eliminates claustrophobia, it has an airy appeal and the employees will be able to move around freely. The employees would not be seated according to rank or seniority and they will not be discriminated based on their place on the corporate pyramid. This can be especially positive surroundings for newcomers.

Closing your employees off into cubicles or separating them with walls can be a bad idea unless the separation is absolutely necessary for the work itself. Plainly speaking, closing up spaces may interfere with communication and productivity. Let the space flow naturally, arrange it so that everything is in hand’s reach and yet easy to store. This is where adaptable shelving solutions come in handy – they will keep the space decluttered, yet every necessary item will be easy to find and in full display for the employees.

A sense of separation

However, there are many reasons why an open floor plan might not cut it. If the type of work your company executes is compartmentalized, if it is required to create a pipeline with segmented work and appropriate roles, separated offices might be a more prudent approach. For example, some type of work might go on smoothly in a hectic environment where everyone communicates with each other, but if some dimension of the job requires contemplative effort, the executive should ensure the right conditions.

No matter what is decided, you should definitely plan to keep the executives, CEOs and other leading members of the staff separated in their own offices. The reason for this is psychological in nature – most profiles that climb the corporate ladder tend to have an excessive control trait, and micromanaging of the employees, if you join them in the open-floor environment, might be unavoidable and counterproductive.

A relaxation corner

No matter what type of SME you are running, chances are your employees work hard and play hard. After all, a company on the rise is filled with vigorous people that are ready to sacrifice private time in order to keep the business growing. Because of this you can, at the very least, reserve the fragment of the floor plan in your office for an R&R corner. While the rest of the interior should be stylistically consistent, you can truly go wild here and create a vibrant environment where employees can decompress and let the blood flow through their legs. Chairs should be replaced with bean bags, and office desk paraphernalia should be replaced with board games.

What does the word “optimal” actually stand for in regard to office spaces? Above all else, “optimal” denotes the most efficient, logically arranged and pleasant business interior that will aid your employees in achieving maximum work efficiency. Therefore, its layout and appeal is not just about design, which is something every executive with a company on the rise should keep in mind.