There are so many things to take care of when you’re launching a startup or a new business — office furniture tends to be an afterthought. It’s too bad, because the physical setup of an office can affect collaboration, employee morale, and productivity.
I’m part of the team at Swivelfly, where we help businesses set up their office spaces without investing tons of capital up front. Using a “Furniture as a Service” model, we help startups keep their offices up to date — and make the most of their seed funding.
When it comes to choosing furniture for startups and setting up workspaces, we’ve seen plenty of office furniture lessons get learned the hard way. Fortunately, you can make sure that you don’t make any of them!
Here are 7 mistakes you’ll want to avoid when you’re setting up your new space:
1. Forgetting about future growth
You may have only five employees right now, but your office may be able to fit 50. Don’t start off with oversized spaces for each of the first five employees.
The last thing you want is to have to buy new, more compact furniture over time as you expand your workforce. Plan for the maximum-size desk space you would allot each person if you had a full house and go from there.
2. Positioning screens so the sun hits them
Ensure that computer screens are not directly facing a window.
It’s easy to forget this one, but as the light shines through a window it can cause a glare on your employee’s computers creating a less-than-productive work environment.
3. Requiring everyone to stay seated
Sitting is the new smoking. More studies are showing that extended periods of sitting are causing fatigue and heart problems. Sit-stand desks, keyboard trays and high-performance seating are a must to minimize workers’ long term health and productivity.
Other ideas include getting your employees pedometers or having walking meetings to get them moving around more frequently.
4. Letting today’s technology dictate decisions
Think about the things that have been reduced or eliminated in just the past several years: calculators, papers files, cameras, desk phones, paper calendars…the list goes on.
Technology is ever-changing. So your workspace needs to be flexible for the future as well. Invest in long-term adaptability and ease of reconfiguration of your space.
5. Thinking that headphones cancel all noise
Consider office acoustics. Employees often overlook that others may be “heads down” with focused work, and use loud voices on video or mobile phone calls.
Enable employees to access to phone booths or “huddle spaces” for their conversations, so that anyone who needs to concentrate still can. Or invest in sound-masking tools to improving acoustic issues.
6. Choosing one-size-fits-all setups
Tailor to multiple work styles. A penguin cannot live in a lion’s habitat. Nor can Marketing live in an Accounting habitat at work.
Adjust your kit of parts to allow for freedom of choice for workers.
7. Overlooking what makes your culture unique
Take your company’s culture into account. For instance, if your company has more of a creative culture, your employees will wither in a compliance-oriented, conservative environment.
Your space sends a message about your team and company culture — and if you make the right decisions, it can be a valuable tool for hiring and keeping top talent.
All GIFs via Giphy.