Are You Making the most out of Your Office Space?

Office space is an unavoidable expense.

In the UK, the average monthly cost of office space per person is between £200 and £1,400 depending on your taste and desired amenities.

Therefore, if you plan to rent office space for five employees at the cost of £200, you will spend a minimum of £1,000 a month.

If you are a start-up, this cost can significantly affect your break-even.

According to Knight Frank, demand for office space in Central London, for instance, has remained surprisingly robust. And Scotland isn’t far behind.

New office development site on the corner of St McAlpine Street and Broomielaw in Glasgow

This is, among many other reasons, is largely driven by a growing economy and workforce.

In 2017, the UK ranked 8th as one of the healthiest entrepreneurial ecosystems.

This rank involved 137 other countries. According to the UK Flexible workplace review, occupier inquiries for a flexible workplace in the country has been on the rise since 2016.

This demand in office space means that you may end up paying more than £4,000 per employee annually.

So how do you make the most out of the office space you have now without incurring added expenses?

It’s all in the Planning

In the past, planning for office space was easy. You would simply divide the office space into cubicles and assign each employee to their own spot.

However, the growing realisation concerning the dangers of a silo mentality and the value of agile working make planning for your office space a bit more complex. Agile working is a relatively new term that refers to a means of empowering employees.

Agile working is bundling together people, processes, technology, and connectivity as well as place and time to achieve efficiency in working out a particular task.

The purpose of agile working is to create a more efficient and effective organisation based on a motivated team working towards a unified goal.

However, to achieve the benefits of agile working, organisations need to plan their office space effectively.

There are several factors that need to be considered when planning the office space. These factors include cost, number of employees, organisation culture, and choice of workplace. For instance, to save on space, you can choose to have some employees working at home.

Working from home

There are still some businesses owners who find the work-from-home option as an ineffective solution. However, recent studies have proven that working from home can be an effective approach towards achieving agile working. The work-from-home option can help you control your overhead costs.

Planning for your office space requires you to consider your future plans for growth. You need to ask yourself this question:

‘Where will I (or my business) be in the next five months or one year?’

When determining your future growth, you should consider factors such as the type of staff you will be adding (are they executives, managers, or sales reps?).

You should also consider your work culture that may change in time, as well as your company growth.

You need to consider the team interaction and workflow in the office when determining the utility of the office space. A company working with a hierarchical structure requires separate rooms for management and other administrative staff.

Conversely, a company working to foster collaboration, movement and knowledge sharing should have an office space that is more open and where all the employees are working in the same space.

The other factor that you need to consider is your unique needs. There are firms that need a separate area for lounge or conferencing. You may also need a separate corner for lunch, or a collaboration space for your employees. This need(s) vary from company to company, but it’s essential to keep them in mind when planning and renting your office space.

Take a look at your office space right now. Locate the corners that you do not use.

Try to determine why that area is unused. Is it due to poor furniture arrangement or an overall poorly designed office? Lastly, try to get rid of the clutter that is taking up much of the office space -- for instance, old furniture, files and paperwork.

Use the Office Space Wisely

The first step towards utilising your office space to the fullest is harnessing the benefits of technology. Technology plays an integral role in helping you develop an agile working environment. This is because technology facilitates transparency, flexibility, and efficiency.

Technologies like CRM systems allow the organisation to connect all its operations through online platforms. There are numerous apps that can bundle together a diverse range of operations. These apps allow the organisation to conduct most of its operations online, from customer management to marketing and sales.

Furthermore, the cloud computing is an excellent way to de-clutter your office. Cloud-based storage allows you to get rid of large file cabinets that take up space. Cloud storage is a safer alternative as it offers a secure way to store information.

The second step towards making the most out of your office space entails downsizing on your office furniture.

First, you will need to consider how much work the employees need to do at the office.

Next, replace the bulky furniture in the office with smaller furniture that will create the illusion of space. You can consider design alternatives that save up on space -- for instance, mounting wall desks.

If you have more space than you actually need, you can consider renting it out to another company. This option allows you put your extra space to work and actually earn a pretty penny from it.

You may have to combine workplace functions if you want to utilise office space efficiently. Find a way of making dual-purpose areas in the workplace. For instance, instead of having a separate room for conferences and another room for meetings, you can have one room for both. Your employees can use an app to reserve the room in advance. This way, you will use it more frequently instead of having a room that is empty most of the time.

Modernise your workplace by getting rid of cubicles and heavy furniture in favour of shared spaces with chairs and tables. Shared spaces allow for collaboration and information sharing.

You need to schedule employees wisely to utilise on the office space. It is not mandatory that the entire team be in the office all at once. You can schedule some employees to come in the morning, while others come in the afternoon.

Alternatively, you can allow some employees to telecommute or implement tools that make it easier to work remotely.

Lastly, the best way to utilise office space is to make good use of vertical space. This entails utilising even the wall space. You can do this by lining the walls with shelves to place office supplies. You can also use wall hooks to hang personal items or overhead storage solutions that can be put on ceilings.