A small business expanding from an entrepreneurship into a slightly larger setting often requires an expansion in office space – the home office or a single room in local building stops being sufficient. However, with square footage at a premium, affording as big a space as would be preferred isn’t always an option. Being able to come up with an effective office layout that allows workers to be productive and still yields a comfortable workspace can be a challenge.
Centralize Common Needs
Having the printer in one corner might seem like the obvious choice, but it may not be the most practical. Likewise, with small work-spaces and carefully meted out elbow room, desktop space is at premium. Consider having a command station in the center of the room – printer, extra paper, pens, staplers, etc – and line the perimeter of the room with cubicles. This allows any employee to quickly reach the needed items without having to work their way around the room, and leaves desktops clear – in the digital age, canisters of paper clips, rubber bands, pens and notepads aren’t as an immediate need. Eliminate them from personal work-spaces, and place them in a central location where they can be simply retrieved when required.
Invest in a Break Room
While it may seem tempting to opt out of the extra floor space required for a break room, having a place to escape the cubicle and eat lunch in relative peace can significantly increase employee satisfaction. Studies show that workstations where food is permitted can hold up to 400 times as much bacteria as a public toilet, and 56% of workers who eat at their desks claim they believe they have gained weight as a result. Ban food from working areas (unless required for medical reasons, like for diabetics) and give employees both time to eat lunch and a place to eat it.
Consider Flex Scheduling
An employee whose main job is data entry or paper work may not necessarily have to be at work during normal business hours. Part time employees cued work opposite days or half shifts. Sharing work stations is another way to maximize space and can be done smoothly if firm rules are set – requiring the space be cleaned after use and providing each employee their own items such as headphones and even a mouse and keyboard can go a long way to maintaining office peace.
These office space management tips can help any new business effectively use a restricted amount of space without overcrowding employees.