In addition to outfitting offices with the necessary equipment needed to function properly, small businesses are often faced with space constraints. Workspaces can often be cramped and poorly laid out, especially for start-ups lucky to find an affordable location, and that’s where it helps to utilize more creative office solutions.
One of the first things we recommend, of course, is to minimize the number of office machines you use in your offices and work areas. A number of devices can be easily consolidated by purchasing or leasing an all-in-one, or multifunction printer solution.
This allows you to have access to the functions of a printer, copier, scanner and FAX machine all available in one unit. This will save space and eliminate numerous device footprints throughout your workspace.
Finding Workable Office Solutions: Getting Creative
While It’s quite common for most start-ups to start out in small office spaces. However, the truth is that many smaller businesses tend to stay in somewhat inadequate spaces for many years after they’ve graduated from the “start-up” stage.
Although many small businesses resign themselves to simply coping with a small space, others find creative ways of maximizing the available space and function more efficiently.
Because office space rental is not cheap in most places, many businesses must remain where they are for the foreseeable future. The good news is that there are dozens of tactics you can employ to make the most of the space you do have.
One office park’s website offers these tips for maximizing small office spaces:
Make Common Areas Functional
When possible, it’s a good idea to make the common spaces in your office as functional and versatile as possible. Conference rooms and common spaces can be set up to be used as workspaces when people need some privacy or a more quiet environment for a time.
Get Rid of Things You Don’t Want or Use
Go through the space thoroughly, clearing out everything that you don’t use and no longer want. Donate what you can, recycle what can’t be donated, and toss the rest. This can help create extra space you didn’t know you had that can be used more productively!
You can save a lot of space – and a lot of filing headaches – if you make an effort to go paperless with digital processes and tools. Once you have a digital filing and storage system in place, you’ll be able to get rid of those bulky filing cabinets and create extra space.
Buy Small Scale Furniture
Large, bulky furniture can make a small office space feel even smaller, so opt for smaller-scale furniture with more open silhouettes. Investing in new furniture can often help you make the most of the space you are in, at least for a while longer. It can be a cheaper and more feasible alternative to finding a larger (likely more expensive) space and relocating your business.
Keeping your office space organized can make a huge difference when it comes to maximizing the space you have. This means shredding old documents, getting rid of excess materials and furnishings, and even requiring employees to keep their individual workspaces well organized. This can make a cramped office space feel more comfortable.
Bonus Tips for Creative Office Solutions
There are numbers of ways you can maximize your available space and here are a few more great ideas from a blog article by Extra Space Storage:
Be Flexible with Work Zones
Do you have a conference room that never gets used? What about a reception area but not many visitors? Make all of your spaces serve more than one purpose. Encourage employees to work in nontraditional areas so they see all of your space as their office, not just where they dock their computer. The concept of not having a set desk or hot desking is a growing trend that works well in small office spaces.
Grow Up, Not Out
While you may not be able to add square feet to your office, there are more effective ways to organize your current space. Before you start shopping for bigger offices, think about expanding vertically. Often, walls are not effectively utilized in workspaces. From vertical shelving and office wall organizers to using this space for decor, make your walls work harder so the rest of your office doesn’t have to.
Be Open to an Open Office
Depending on the field you’re in, your office will have to accommodate different needs. While separate offices and cubicles used to be the norm, many modern workplaces find that an open concept office works best for cramped spaces. Having fewer separate offices leaves room for shared desks and tables, which can be arranged in a variety of space-saving combinations and gives you more room. Utilizing desks and tables on wheels that can easily be rearranged also helps your office adapt to different daily demands and fosters a more collaborative work environment.
One more bonus thought here is considering flexible work schedules incorporating shared desks and workstations. If the nature of your business and your business model can easily accommodate this strategy, you can potentially house up to 3x more staff if swing and graveyard shifts can be implemented.
Technology can help your business make huge strides towards maximum utilization of small workspaces, but it can also require a little bit of strategic creativity, flexibility and a willingness to both think and act “outside the box” of traditional facilities logistics.