Space is a precious commodity in business. You might think of resources like money, people and IT as being the most important factors in successfully running an enterprise. But every type of operation needs a base, somewhere to work from.
Especially as a company grows, the finite nature of office real estate can become all too obvious. Before you know it, an office can feel too small to meet your needs. You need extra staff to meet demand but have nowhere to put them – suddenly you have to weigh up a potentially costly and time consuming move into new premises and perhaps put expansion plans on hold until that can be managed.
Like any other type of business resource, the fact that space can become a limiting factor on growth makes it important to make best use of what you do have. If you are starting to feel as if your office is too small for your ambitions but are not sure about taking the leap to something bigger (and more expensive), here are four tips for using your present space more efficiently.
Create multipurpose areas
Do you have meeting rooms that are only used a few hours every week? Or workstations and private offices that are empty half the time because people work elsewhere? A great place to start with using space more efficiently is to rethink the practice of allocating specific areas for specific uses. Encouraging underused space to be used for multiple purposes will help keep capacity issues at bay.
Clutter can easily become an issue in offices. Trying to pack too much into too small an area contributes to muddled thinking in more ways than one. It can make effective organisation of space difficult, and it is also not helpful for concentration or creating the right kind of environment for productive working. Consider whether anything that is not directly being used for work is worth the space it is taking up. You might also want to get down to details such as whether desk sizes are overly generous.
Organise around workflow
It might seem like a little thing, but if the majority of your staff have to cross the office to use the printer, it is worth considering whether there is a better place to put it. Efficient use of space also means supporting efficient working, and those seconds added by an unnecessarily long walk to fetch a print job all add up.
Allocate standing-only spaces
Having everyone in an office sitting down to work takes up space. Doing away with chairs opens up a surprisingly large amount of room. There is plenty of research to suggest that standing up to work can improve productivity because it keeps the mind active, too. But if you don’t want to be as radical as making all workstations standing-only, you could at least consider saving space by removing chairs from some meeting rooms and huddle spaces.