Tips for Furnishing the New Office
If you have been tasked with decorating or furnishing the new office, it can be a great opportunity. Whether it is your new office, or you are an employee that has been given the job of furnishing and decorating the new office there are a few tips that can help you to get great results in record time.
Getting the new office ready to become a productive place takes a little planning and a few short cuts. There are ways you can get it all done and do it under budget. Follow these tips and tricks for creating an awesome workspace.
What Are You Responsible For In The New Office?
Is this office in a building that you own or that your company owns? Are you leasing the space? If you own it or if you lease it makes a big difference in how elaborate you can get when decorating the new office.
For example, if the new office is in a purchased building and you are not happy with the flooring, new flooring can be just a phone call away. On the other hand, if you are leasing the building, and you hate the flooring, that may be something you just have to deal with. You can ask the landlord or property manager if they will work with you on new flooring. You can offer to pay for part of the cost. It never hurts to ask.
Before you make the offer to cover part of the flooring costs, call a flooring sales place and ask about estimates. You do not want to wind up investing thousands of dollars in a leased space.
Ultimately the point is, if you are leasing the space, there will be limits to the changes that you can make. If you own the new office outright you will have a lot more leeway in the changes that you make. Even with long-term leases, you do not want to invest too much money into a property that you do not own.
For the sake of this article we are going to focus on rented spaces and the things you can do to make the new office feel like a custom office space without making major changes to space.
Before you get started on the fun stuff like choosing furniture and décor, you have to make sure that the infrastructure is in place. For example, is the office outfitted with a fire sprinkler system? If it is not then one of your first purchases may have to be contracting with a fire extinguisher supplier.
Depending on where the new office is located there may be local rules and regulations that apply to any office setting that has a certain number of employees when it comes to fire protection. Some buildings are well-outfitted with fire suppression systems and fire suppression software, but many older buildings are not.
Check with the fire marshal to learn more about your responsibilities when it comes to fire safety as an employer. Another infrastructure that you will need to have in place is internet access. You may want to check with your IT people or outsource the needs for secure capacity connectivity. If you are leasing the new office it may not have the setup that you need to work.
In most cases any special equipment, connectivity devices, phones, and other technical equipment is your responsibility, not the landlord’s. You also should look into what type of security services are used in the building. You do not want to leave the new office unprotected. You may have to invest in a security system.
Focus On These Two Things
There are two things that you want to keep in mind when you are deciding what décor and furnishing to choose. You want to focus on function and what message you want to send about your business.
Here are some things that will affect function:
- Having enough workspaces.
- Having elements in place that can provide some privacy.
Being in charge of the new office means really giving some thought to how everyone will fit in the space, how they will interact with each other, and how comfortable they will be. All of those things affect productivity. They also can be a challenge to figure out.
Some industries require very separate workspaces for privacy reasons. For example, a law firm needs to provide workspace for their lawyers that allow them to keep confidential information confidential.
Does it mean that every person in the office has to have their own office? No, but it does mean that part of the new office will need to be used for meetings or to provide a private area for people to work when they need it.
There is a solution for creating separate workstations, cubicles. Now before you wrinkle your nose up at the idea of separating the space and dicing it up with cubicles, take a look at what is available. These are not the cubicles of the 80s. Today’s cubicles are highly functional and they look sleek and modern.
These modular modern office dividers can be the ideal solution for creating multiple work stations, providing a bit of privacy, and making the most out of the office space. The best part is that many of these systems are easily reconfigurable. As our company grows the office space can be reconfigured to meet your needs.
Function Meets Comfort
Not to harp on the idea of cubicles, but many options come with desks built right in. You get the space that you need, plus you get a desk for everyone in the same package. You can take the savings and apply it to the comfort features you need for the new office.
Let’s say you have a team of 12 that works for you at your investment management firm. That means at minimum you will need 13 desk chairs and a few side chairs for guests. If you want to get more productivity out of your crew, invest in ergonomic chairs. They will be able to sit more comfortably for longer. That translates into being at their desk for more hours, working with those clients.
You also want to invest in some comfortable seating for the waiting area if you have one. You want your guests to “feel” your success when they sink into those comfortable chairs. Your reception area and your waiting area should convey what your business image is.
Choosing a Style
What industry your business is in will determine what type of styling you should go for. Of course, a nice sleek modern look is good for any industry but if you want to convey a certain message then focus on bringing in elements that will help to brand your business.
For instance, a solar contractor may want to keep the reception area “earthy” by adding plants, and earth-toned textiles. A law firm may want to go with leather seating, bookshelves, and a more formal furniture style.
If your corporate culture is more relaxed, bring in colorful elements that say “we are fun.” Here are some tips for picking the right style for the new office:
- Let the office style speak for you. When a visitor walks in they should feel connected to what you do just by the style of your office. Choose the style that you feel comfortable with. Your office should feel naturally like your second home because it is a reflection of your business. In other words, if red velvet drapes make you feel a little weird don’t hang them. Your awkwardness about your office will send the wrong message about your business.
- Less is more. When you are choosing the right style for the new office, you do not have to make all your decisions at once. You can start with one or two pieces of décor that you feel good about and add more from there. Sometimes it is better just to have the basics than it is to overcrowd the space with things you do not truly feel connected to.
- Go basic not cheap. The new office may take a little while to complete as you are working there simply because you do not want to fill it with cheap junk to stay on budget. It is better to get the basic necessities that you need to live with it for a little while if you have to instead of buying cheap stuff.
When you are choosing your office style remember that the office style will convey that message that you want to convey about your business. If your business is one that often has to meet with clients face to face then your office style becomes that more important. Take your time and give it some thought.
Follow These Tips
When you are decorating the new office keep in mind that a lot of people (hopefully) are going to walk through the doors that have different ideas than your office staff does. Do not hang anything on the walls that are not positive or that can offend. You will lose business that way.
Here are some tips to follow when decorating the new office:
- Unless your corporate culture is “fun” and your industry appreciates the fun, keep colors neutral with small pops of color. A fun work environment can translate into a misconception by new clients that you are not serious enough to get the job done.
- Enlist the help of other people whose opinions you respect. If you get stuck on decorating or furnishing, reach out to people that you respect to help you make the decisions. Don’t reach out to too many people because too many opinions can just complicate things. Ask one or two people their opinion it can help you get unstuck.
- Keep track of your budget diligently. It can be really easy to get sucked up in the excitement of buying things for the new office and find that you are way over budget. Track all of your spending and make wise choices to stay in budget.
If you really feel like you are starting to drown you can hire a customized project management team to assist and take over some of the work. If this is the first time you are setting up a new office it can get overwhelming. If you start to feel overwhelmed with the decision making take a step back. Sometimes walking away from the new office for a little while and taking a break can help you to clear your head.
How Do You Stay On Budget?
One of the most asked questions about furnishing and decorating a new office is: How do you stay on budget? There seems to be a lot of things that need to be purchased for the new office and there seems to be a lot of expenses associated with a new office, how do you not go overboard? This can be hard but you have to set a budget then stick to your guns.
Start with the necessities and work up to the things that you want for the new office. When you get to a point that you just cannot afford to buy anything else, don’t. The world will not end if you move into the new office and you do not have all the things you want. You can work in the space, generate some revenue, then the budget for more of the things that you want for the office.
You are better off staying on budget and building the perfect office space as you go instead of jumping the gun and putting your business into a ton of debt. Slow and steady growth including creating the perfect office is the best way to ensure your business’s future.
There are always lease options available that may help you to stay within your budget and get all the furnishings that you need for a low monthly price. Sometimes you have to get creative in how you work the budget for the new office.
Review all your options carefully before you make any buying decisions. You want to enjoy the process of getting the new office ready to start work. You do not want to overburden yourself with financial worries.